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  #16  
Old 06-06-2017, 08:00 AM
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Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
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  #17  
Old 06-06-2017, 08:15 AM
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Old tires with very few miles - Still OK to drive?

Have any of you ever pulled a pair of underwear out of the bottom of your underwear drawer, one that has no holes and hasn't even been worn too much, one that's no older that the ones in your daily routine? And then when you pull that elastic, it just stretches out and doesn't snap back at all?

That's what using an unused 20 year old spare is like. It WILL delaminate on you when you try to use it because it hasn't been flexed at all. One that's been used will be less likely to fail.

I am a participant in dragging some 20-30 parts cars to a warehouse via a dolly. We ALWAYS bring spare wheels because we never expect the tires to make it. I've rolled the dice MANY times, and even dragged piles of crap home that I let the tires blow out one at a time. I think in dragging probably 20 some cars, none have had tires less than 10 years old. Only four tires in total have blown out, and none have failed in less than a half hour of highway speeds. Of course we tried not to use the oldest tires we could find, and when the car was nice, we would at least swap in some "tested" tires. Tested means we've put hours of use on them without them blowing out on us in the last year or so, Sort of like the underwear. Nothing worse than a spare that's never been flexed at all.


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Past mb: '73 450sl, '81 280slc stick, '71 250, '72 250c, '70 250c, '79 280sl, '73 450sl, parted: '75 240d stick, '69 280s, '73 450slc, '72 450sl,
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  #18  
Old 06-06-2017, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 97 SL320 View Post
Quality of information trumps quantity.

Tire life is dictated by condition , condition , condition. I've got nearly 20 year old tires in soft uncracked condition that I'm OK driving round town on and I've taken off 8 year old tires I would not drive any distance on.

If the car is stored out of direct sunlight and not driven for hundreds of miles across the desert, tire life greatly increases. I would not drive the 20 year old tires at 80 MPH for miles on end but they would be completely fine for sub 50 mph around town use.

I've had a couple of tires break belts and none of they were over 10 years old from what I recall. There was ample warning that a belt was shifting and they never lost air. Even with "new" tires, one must be attentive that a new vibration is increasing in intensity and needs attention.
And if anyone is wondering if that new vibration they are hearing and feeling is a slipped belt then all they need to do is take the car to a tire shop. Someone there will be able to tell just by looking.

I can't see the early signs of a slipped belt but I can feel them. And I once had a vibration set in during a long trip. Nothing severe but I could feel it. When I stopped for gas one tire looked as if it had grown a lump. And that lump was a slipped belt.

They don't look pretty when they get that big.
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  #19  
Old 06-06-2017, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idle View Post
An actual test under actual driving conditions....

Subject: 123 240d.

Age of spare which had never been on the ground: 21 years.

Condition of spare tire: Brand new. It looked fantastic.

Speed of test: 70 mph. (Yeah, I lived a few blocks from an interstate.)

Miles before it blew out: Six.

This was on a Sunday morning, out in the country when traffic was almost nothing. I pulled over, put on the tire I had switched out, and learned that no matter how great a tire might look age make fools of them all.
Being that series of car was made from 76 to 85, tire technology has vastly improved since then. A 20 year old tire today is 1997 and will be worlds better than the example car.

Also, you don't know if the example tire was, in the past , bolted to the car and driven low on air. This will cause internal damage that is visible only when removed from the wheel.
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  #20  
Old 06-16-2017, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ten13 View Post
I wouldn't drive them any farther than the nearest tire shop, to get a new set. 15 years is a long time for a tire, regardless of miles.
I drove my 72 350SL to the Michelin dealer with just that in mind. My tires were 14 yr old H rated Michelins that had experienced low mileage. Car had been garaged for most of tire life. The dealer put car up on hoist and gave tires a thorough inspection. They said not to change them!

One of problems, was that replacement tires are very hard to find. Tirerack may have cheap 205-70/14s but do they have H-rated or higher speed rating tires the car requires?

I decided to change my tires anyway, but had to buy T-rated tires. Only T-rated or better tires I could find in Canada other than one no-name from China, were Toyo (from Japan). In US there are one or two more choices for T-rated.

In some jurisdictions, T-rated tires wouldn't pass safety checks - tires should meet manufacturer's original specs. But what to do if those tires are no longer readily available?
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  #21  
Old 06-16-2017, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idle View Post
I can't see the early signs of a slipped belt but I can feel them. And I once had a vibration set in during a long trip. Nothing severe but I could feel it. When I stopped for gas one tire looked as if it had grown a lump. And that lump was a slipped belt.

They don't look pretty when they get that big.
I had that happen on my 85 300D. Tires were Kumhos. For quite a while, I had been avoiding using that car on highway because it had a bad vibration at certain speeds. Assumed it was a suspension or alignment problem. But now I think of it, probably was cause of highway vibration.

The one day when I was checking tire pressures, I saw this big bulge out of one sidewall! And it was leaking air. Put the spare on and headed straight to tire dealer. Put T-rated Toyos on that car too. No highway vibration and I hadn't yet got around to doing alignment.
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  #22  
Old 06-16-2017, 09:49 AM
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You had H 130 mph rated tires on the SL? Wonder what I had on my 6.3 back in the early 70's?
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  #23  
Old 06-16-2017, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tyl604 View Post
You had H 130 mph rated tires on the SL? Wonder what I had on my 6.3 back in the early 70's?
The specified tires in the NA 350SL owner's manual were 205/70 VR14 (with tubes!)

One source was Vredestein. C$391 each Tires

Problem I read is that the current tire speed ratings may not have existed in 1972. So in some jurisdiction they require tires that match the maximum speed of car.
Max speed for a 1972 350SL was 213kph (~132mph). But there was a Euro 350SL and a NA 350SL (which was really a 450SL) Top speed for 73 450SL was 202kph or 126mph. So H rated would be correct if it was possible to get authorities to believe there were two different 1972 350SLs!
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  #24  
Old 06-16-2017, 04:32 PM
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Wow. To tell the truth I would have probably been comfortable back then driving it on the expressway at 125. Not any more. Drove my 6.3 like that and, as I remember, it had progressive power steering so the faster you go the less power steering so you could control the vehicle better. At least as I remember.

That said I guess I believe that today's cars are actually safer at pretty high speeds; they just do not last very long.
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  #25  
Old 06-16-2017, 06:14 PM
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I always hear the "They do not last very long" thing. The average age of cars on American roads is at an all-time high, over 11 years old for the average car. I have a pedestrian sedan, 18 years old, with 210k miles that can still cruise at high speeds comfortably

Tires... depending on condition & how they were treated, can be a mixed bag. The full-sized spare for my car, I bought over 10 years ago from a junkyard car (it was one of its main tires, not a spare), and I used it as recently as 6 months ago. For about two years. On the highway, too. I know it's at least 12 years old. It's starting to crack but looks better than the 3 year-old Michelins I took off my Jeep when I replaced them last year. I wouldn't have trusted those (even if they had tread) in another 3 years, at the rate they were cracking - but apparently that's a common Michelin problem.
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  #26  
Old 06-17-2017, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 97 SL320 View Post
Being that series of car was made from 76 to 85, tire technology has vastly improved since then. A 20 year old tire today is 1997 and will be worlds better than the example car.

Also, you don't know if the example tire was, in the past , bolted to the car and driven low on air. This will cause internal damage that is visible only when removed from the wheel.
When I bough the car the seller, who was the original owner, was proud to point out 'The spare has never been on the ground' like that was a great thing.

It was clean enough to eat off of. It still had some original ink on the tread from the maker.

It was just old. I had always wondered just how far one of the 'never been on the ground' tires would last. So I decided to find out.

And now I know.
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