When speaking about tires, one can often hear about the DOT code, marking the time of the tire’s manufacture. This number is the basis for various recommendations and instructions regarding the time when specific tires get too old and when one should stop using them.
However, it is often forgotten that the optimal period of use for tires is also greatly affected by how and for how long they have actually been used as well as how they have been stored. Based on research data by the Korea Consumer Agency, German Federal Motor Transport Authority, and Osaka University, Michelin has compiled instructions to help better understand the age and storage time of tires.
Research results indicate that both the tires manufactured yesterday and the tires manufactured three years ago but stored in right conditions behave in an identical way on the road – research results failed to find any significant differences between their performance, durability, or other characteristics.
Nevertheless, it is important to notice that proper storage is of great importance when it comes to tires. New tires that have been stored outdoor or in too hot, cold, or humid rooms can degrade a little over time.
Likewise, Michelin advises scrapping tires that have been stored in proper conditions for ten years or more, as 100% compliance with all the requirements cannot be guaranteed.
Based on research results, Michelin has also prepared answers to the most frequently asked questions.
When tires are not being actively used, they are not under pressure and do not have to meet the challenges presented by rough roads and unfavourable temperature changes. Therefore, they last significantly longer.
The most important thing is the time when the tires were put to actual use. From that moment, they are subjected to pressure, temperature changes, friction, and other factors that negatively affect their lifespan. For this reason, the lifespan of a tire will start to get shorter only from the moment it is filled with air and put on the road.
The results of a study by the Korea Consumer Agency revealed that the characteristics of a tire that has been stored properly for three years are equal to the characteristics of a tire fresh out of the factory. The data of the Osaka University show that a tire that has been used for one year under normal circumstances is equal to a new tire that has been stored properly for ten years. This means that the optimal storage time for new tires is up to ten years starting from the manufacture date.
To make a tire that has been put to use last for as long as possible, a few important factors should be kept in mind. Firstly, one should ensure that the tire pressure is always correct. Secondly, it is necessary make sure that all parts of the axle, suspension, and steering systems meet requirements and are undamaged. Thirdly, one should ensure that the axles are correctly adjusted and the general driving style does not put too much load on the tires. Following these suggestions helps to ensure that the tires retain their performance and durability and can offer the driver a safe driving experience.