How old are your tyres?

Perhaps the tyres on your vehicle have just sailed through the MOT.

You might also have conscientiously just had a look at them and seen that the tread looks fine and they seem to be in pretty good condition given you’ve had them for many years.

So, all is well then – or is it?

Well, it might not be.

The fact of the matter is that the MOT inspection and indeed most drivers’ visual checks look very closely at things such as the depth of tread.  There should also be an inspection for things such as the regularities in the walls of the tyre or uneven wear patterns, both of which might indicate potential problems.

Remember also that your tyres must comply with all legal requirements or you may put elements of your insurance cover at risk.  Our services at Cover4Caravans can advise you further on that if you wish.

However, even if the tyre meets all these criteria and passes any such checks well, what you can’t see is the molecular structure of the rubber within the tyre itself.  That isn’t just an abstract point but is important because rubber simply deteriorates over time even in a situation where it is not being regularly used.

So if you have tyres that have had relatively little use but are still best described as being vintage, then they might still be an accident waiting to happen due to invisible structural weaknesses and deterioration within the rubber itself.

In some cases, you may find yourself having a vunerable tyre for any of a number of different reasons:

  • you just don’t use your caravan or vehicle very often, meaning that they get comparatively little wear over time;
  • perhaps you have simply forgotten how long it is since you last changed them, at least in situations where there is not much evidence of wear to give you a clue as to their real age;
  • you might well have purchased a second-hand set of tyres in order to save money and congratulated yourself that they are in such good condition.

In the old days it might have been a little tricky to be sure of the exact age of tyres but all that changed together with the millennium in the year 2000.  At that time, tyre manufacturers introduced a new four digit DOT code which is now put onto every tyre and it tells you both the week and the year of manufacture.

So, for example, a tyre with the digits 0205 would indicate that it was manufactured in the second week of 2005 – i.e. in the earlier part of January of that year.

So, there is no longer any excuse for running on ancient tyres, simply claiming that you didn’t know how old they really were. For example, the caravan club recommends replacing caravan tyres every 5-7 years, even if they are in apparently good condition.

It’s advice well worth keeping in mind.