How long do tyres last if not used?

By Julia Freeman

With lockdown measures being lifted in phases soon across the United Kingdom, many people are going to be looking to get into their cars for the first time in some weeks. Many motorists will have saved a small fortune in fuel costs, and other wear and tear on the engine could have been limited in these months, but what of the tyres?

Tyre tread

If a tyre is stored in optimal conditions, it will last for between 6 and 10 years, if it is not used. Under manufacturers' guidance a tyre is only guaranteed to be safe for the first five years of its life, although if checked regularly for issues, some manufacturers admit that this can be extended up to 10 years. Most of us don't have the optimum conditions, so checking tyres over five years old regularly should be a priority.

Why does this happen?

As a natural product, rubber will degrade over time and this happens even if the tyre is not used. The main culprit for rubber degradation is oxygen. Given that oxygen is both prevalent in the air we breathe as well as in the air that tyres are inflated with, the rubber is degraded from both sides. Although tyre rubber is generally infused with antioxidant compounds, these will only slow the ageing process down.

What about the 20p test?

A general rule of thumb when it comes to tyre safety is that if the rim of a 20p coin cannot be seen when inserted into the tread then the tyre is safe. Unfortunately, when it comes to the age of a tyre, this does not guarantee safety. A ten-year-old tyre which has been previously unused can run the risk of catastrophic failure. In the road accident that took the life of Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker, the California Highway Patrol noted that the age of the tyres on Walkers' Porsche Carrera GT could have seriously compromised their handling and driving characteristics. Even if the tread looks good, the condition of the rubber means it could separate from the tyre, making the tyre and the car itself a ticking timebomb.

In normal usage

In our experience, if you drive anywhere near a typical number of miles annually, the tread of your tyres is likely to wear out in around 4 years, meaning that it will be time to buy car tyres before the rubber has degraded. The rubber from which your tyres were made is only at risk of perishing before the tread wears out if you only use the car on a very limited basis. The two months of lockdown is unlikely to have made a dramatic impact on this.

Book with Protyre

If you are worried about the condition of your tyres following lockdown, be sure to contact your local Protyre garage and arrange a free tyre check. If it turns out your tyres are in need of replacement, we stock Pirelli, Bridgestone, and many other leading brands at great prices.

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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