My understanding is that the safe life of tires is 10 years.
I have "Red Line" tires that I purchased 40 years ago. They have been mounted but in storage 30 of those years with about 3000 miles.
They look brand new. I closely examined the rubber and the mounting rims and there are no cracks.
A little tire dressing and they look brand new.
Now I am willing to buy new tires but I seriously would like to know what is the danger of driving along at 65 miles per hour on the interstate. Will they blow or what should their death be?
I do drive them around the neighborhood to show the car.

Editorial Comment:

I'm sure you can appreciate that there are many things which can affect the life of a tire, some of which are somewhat controllable and others which are not.

If your tires have been stored in conditions where the rubber and component materials are not subject to anything which might cause them to deteriorate they may well last considerably longer than the manufacturer's warranty period.

Even if your tire "looks" to be in perfect condition on the outside there may be internal imperfections which you can't see. One thing you might do is dismount these tires and inspect the interior. If the inside is not showing any sign of deterioration that might be a good sign. If they are tubeless tires be careful to watch for rubber residue inside the tire (a balck rubber powder). If this is present the tires have certainly suffered damage.

I would prefer to err on the safe side and not use these vintage tires on high speed travel, keeping them for slow leisurely drives.

There are companies which do manufacture new vintage tires to be used in restored vehicles. Try doing a search on the internet for "Vintage Tires" to see if your tire is available.



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possible confusion over bias ply tires
by: Tire Guy

I think it is important to recognize that the kind of bias ply tire that could be driven until the cord was showing were tire which were fitted with inner tubes. The tire carcass in these cases served mainly as containers for the tube inside which carried the air. Sometimes these tubes might be damaged and could be replaced while continuing to use the original tire carcass.

If a tire is a tubeless tire it will have that word "tubeless" stamped on the sidewall, regardless of whether it is of bias ply or radial construction. Now days almost all tires are of radial construction and are designed to be tubeless.

A tubeless tire which seems to be in decent condition but which may have defects that would cause it to leak air, might be salvaged by adding an inner tube.

Your great Red Lines
by: Wheels Etc

The information you have about some arbitrary "tire life" is only from those who have not known bias ply tires. Seldom does a bias ply tire fail even after showing severe signs of age like cracking etc. If you are comfortable driving this vehicle on the streets I suggest it will be just fine on the highway. You should know that Radial Tires have various speed ratings and with testing they do seem to have some evidence of performance at various speeds. I also suggest that bias tires had very little of that and are generally consider standard speed tires. Cars in the 60s, 70s and 80s could be driven way too fast but the law did not allow much over 60 MPH anywhere. In addition bias tires also did not have long distance number as do many radials today. Thereby I suggest you drive your tires and expect 20 to 25,000 miles to be plenty of life for them. Most of us that used bias tires drove them till the cord was showing which was not a good idea then and it is still not a good idea.

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