Car Buying

Should You Replace Old Tires Even If They Have Tread Left?

RELATED READING
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon

author photo by Doug DeMuro September 2016

Let's say you're interested in buying a car that has old tires, but they still have a lot of tread left. Or maybe you don't drive much, and your car's tires are getting old but don't look very worn. Should you replace those older tires even if they have a lot of tread remaining? Or is it acceptable to use an aging tire until its tread is worn out? We have the answer.

It's Not All About Tread

We suspect you wouldn't be asking this question unless you had some inkling that replacing a car's aging tires is the right thing to do, even if they still have some tread left. And indeed, old and worn tires can pose a serious safety hazard, even if their tread depth is still excellent.

There are several reasons why. One is dry rot, which is the primary issue that afflicts tires when they sit while a car doesn't get used very much. Dry rot is exactly as it sounds: Tires start to degrade and rot over time, causing the rubber to lose its flexibility and crack. Dry rot is a serious problem that can potentially be even more hazardous than worn tread, as it can cause issues such as lack of functionality and tread separation.

Old tires can also develop flat spots. If a tire has been sitting on a car that hasn't moved in a while -- months, for example -- it can cause permanent flat spots in the tire (from where the car was sitting) that could dramatically diminish safety and ride comfort.

How Old Are They?

But don't worry: Everyone has a different definition of "old," and your concern for your tires might be unfounded. Three things play a major role in a tire's aging -- time, climate and storage. If a car is stored while sitting on its tires for months at a time, flat spots could develop -- and that means it's time to get the tires replaced. If a car is used in a hot, dry climate and rarely driven, dry rot is more likely. And if your tires haven't been replaced in at least 4 years or longer, it's probably time to consider a new set.

With that said, all cars, tires and storage situations are different, so it's worth checking with a mechanic to confirm a tire's state if you're concerned. Or you could go a different route: If you have any worries about the safety of your old tires, simply replace them. Tires are a very important part of a vehicle's performance and safety -- and when it comes to tires, it's certainly better to be safe than sorry.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Should You Replace Old Tires Even If They Have Tread Left? - Autotrader