Edmunds.com Advises Car Owners New Ways to Spot Dangerous Tires
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — December 12, 2011 — Even if you don't drive much, your car's tires — including the spare — could still deteriorate and they may pose a safety hazard on the road, reports Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information.
"People often rely on a tire's tread depth to determine its condition, but the rubber compounds in a tire deteriorate with time, regardless of the condition of the tread," says Ronald Montoya, consumer advice associate at Edmunds.com. "Like an old elastic band, a tire's rubber can eventually develop cracks on the surface and on the inside wall. This cracking can cause the steel belts in the tread to separate from the rest of the tire."
Edmunds.com says that there's no hard and fast expiration date for tires, and that makes the decision to replace an old tire much more difficult. Factors that can accelerate a tire's deterioration include excessive heat and erratic driving conditions. Even a spare tire could be at risk, especially if it's been exposed to degenerative elements like water, dirt or extreme heat.
Some carmakers recommend that consumers replace their tires six years after their production date, regardless of tread life. Tire manufacturers, meanwhile, insist that a tire can last up to 10 years, provided that it receives annual inspections after the fifth year. Consumers can determine a tire's age by retrieving the four-digit code on the tire's sidewall that indicates the week and year that the tire was produced. But tires produced before 2000 are trickier to identify; Edmunds.com offers a handy guide to translating those and other numbers on a tire's sidewall at http://www.edmunds.com/how-to/how-to-read-your-tire.html.
A visual inspection can offer clues to the degree of a tire's deterioration. Consumers are advised to check tires regularly for any sign of aging, such as tread distortion or cracks in the sidewall (including hairline cracks). Vibrations or a change in the dynamic properties of a tire could also be an indicator of aging problems.
For more details on how to determine if it's time to swap out your tires, please visit Edmunds.com at http://www.edmunds.com/car-care/how-old-and-dangerous-are-your-tires.html.
About Edmunds.com, Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/index.html)
Edmunds.com Inc. publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site and hosts the most established automotive community online. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.