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  #1  
Old 06-05-2017, 03:52 PM
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Old tires with very few miles - Still OK to drive?

I recently realized the tires on my 4.5 are approaching 15 years of age. I have owned the car for a little over a year, but per the records that came with the car it appears these tires have less than 3000 miles on them. Minimal thread-wear and no dry rot as far as I can tell. Always stored in garage, dry climate.

Is it still OK/safe to drive on tires of this age? If not, what tires do you recommend for the 4.5 w108? I assume it would be hard to find thin-striped white walls nowadays?

Thanks in advance for any insights.
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  #2  
Old 06-05-2017, 04:27 PM
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I would not.
New 205/70/14 tires are cheap at Tire Rack. Buy a set.
Those old tires are dry and slick as anything and ready to fail. Plus they drive and handle poorly.


Treat yourself to new rubber. The ride will improve greatly.


jz
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  #3  
Old 06-05-2017, 04:57 PM
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Old tires with very few miles - Still OK to drive?

The experiences I've had with tires scredding have not resulted in any catastrophic failures other than the body work around the tires. Then again, I was dollying cars with old tires that shredded on the rear. One was a mint condition unused spare. It actually did the most damage of all because there was so much tread to all rip off at once together in a very thick alligator skin. I actually think that more bald tires are less likely to peel off their treads.

In every case, I think the ancient tires made it nearly an hour at approximately 50 mph. At least a half hour anyway. So maybe what you want to do is limit your speed and driving time until you can get the tires replaced.




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Old 06-05-2017, 05:21 PM
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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.
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  #5  
Old 06-05-2017, 06:32 PM
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If you just drive them around town, they might be OK. Would not take them on the expressway.

Agree that cost for new ones is not too bad so at least consider new in the next say six months. That way you squeeze some value out of them.
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  #6  
Old 06-05-2017, 07:17 PM
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Take a strong light and look for cracking on the sidewalls. If you see ANY cracking, time for new tires ASAP. I rolled the SL out of storage yesterday and it's getting new tires on Wednesday. It's been rolling the same tires since 1998 and they're cracked where the tread meets the sidewalls. Bye Bye Cooper Rainmasters...
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  #7  
Old 06-05-2017, 07:52 PM
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If they don't have cracks now they'll have cracks soon. Tires dry out over time and become less pliable. I also would not take it in the rain. Just my humble opinion.
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  #8  
Old 06-05-2017, 08:25 PM
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When I got my fintail I noticed some strange cracks and bulges in the tires after a few months of driving. Turns out they were 21 years old! I ordered new tires immediately. The new ones are much nicer, although I still have the 40+ year old bias ply spare in the trunk.

If you plan to drive your vehicle frequently, or above 45 miles an hour, I'd recommend replacing your tires. Otherwise, inspect them carefully before each drive.
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTD View Post
If you plan to drive your vehicle frequently, or above 45 miles an hour, I'd recommend replacing your tires. Otherwise, inspect them carefully before each drive.

And be prepared to stop immediately at the slightest unexpected vibration before the tread trashes the body of your car and you pay far more in body work than a set of tires costs.


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Old 06-05-2017, 09:01 PM
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I caught quite a bit of flak when I bought my motorcycle with the original tires that were seven years old and didn't change them right away. They didn't fail, but I did find that when I put new ones on they worked much better. With 15 year old tires I wouldn't drive anywhere but the tire shop.
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Old 06-05-2017, 09:13 PM
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Eight to one; message is pretty clear.
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  #12  
Old 06-05-2017, 09:22 PM
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The rear 225/50/16 tires on my 1978 450slc 5.0 custom convertible are probably from the 80's I think. They are very old, dry, and hard. If I smash the gas pedal, they spin. I don't take many long road trips with the car, but I do keep the tire pressure high to minimize the flex in the tire, which is what generates heat and causes them to delaminate.

With a new car that sits outside for the first 15 years of its life, do you worry as much as with an old car that has sat in a garage with far less exposure to ozone? The tires on my truck were nearly 10 years old, and cracking on the sides. It didn't concern me too much. They never blew up, but it did start to worry me. I got every penny out of them. 10 years outside is probably more than a tire should be exposed, but the Michelin LTX handled it well. The Bridgestone potenza tires that lived indoor their entire lives looked nearly new when over 20 years old on my 1973 450sl. Still I hated the way they handled. New tires do make cars handle much better, but on these old cars, we barely ever get to wear them out before they "expire".

Use common sense. Most people don't even know where or how to find a date code on tires, and they are only on one side. If it was THAT much of an issue, the tire manufacturers would be forced to put the code on both sides of the tires. That my opinion.


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  #13  
Old 06-05-2017, 09:34 PM
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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.
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  #14  
Old 06-05-2017, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippy View Post
I caught quite a bit of flak when I bought my motorcycle with the original tires that were seven years old and didn't change them right away. They didn't fail, but I did find that when I put new ones on they worked much better. With 15 year old tires I wouldn't drive anywhere but the tire shop.
Yikes. I'm glad you're still here posting...
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  #15  
Old 06-05-2017, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tyl604 View Post
Eight to one; message is pretty clear.
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.
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