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The perils of old tyres

Started by KenM, 29 June 2013, 11:04 PM


I know this has been discussed numerus times in the past, however I recently had a sobering experience that might be of interest.

The 300td I bought had the spare tyre fitted for my 200k journey back home from the seller's place, going down what passes for a highway north of Brisbane the car started shaking and grumbling a bit. Stopped and had a look a couple of time but couldn't find anything wrong so kept going. When I fitted a set of 6.5" bundts the following week the problem magically went away, I found that the spare, which looks new, had begun to disintegrate, the tread was coming off the casing.

If I read the date code correctly, the tyre was made in the 26th week of 1992. It can't be 1982 because it says made in Germany, not West Germany. So it's 21 years old and has obviously sat unused all that time.

Could be time to check yours?? :o


Ken, that's the original spare from 1982, not 1992.  To denote manufacturing in the 1990s despite the three digit code the tyre date is suffixed by a "*"  Yours isn't, so 1982!


Sorry, also a "<" was used as well.


You could be right on the date Carl, but how come it doesn't say West Germany, since they were still separate then? It's not original with the car because on the data card it says the original tyres were Veith.


Ken, it's 1982 for sure, that's how the codes worked.  Also, the P3 was not available in 1993.

I cannot answer the Germany question, except to say that I suspect the P3 came out of the old Veith factory which I think part of it was located in the old East, Jena??

Squiggle Dog

Amazing. I am starting to think that even the cheapest quality new tires are safer than aged higher-end tires. I had a set of what appeared to be five excellent-condition used Dean Alpha radial tires installed on my vehicle. Shortly after the installation I started to get a front end shimmy. About a month later, the car was shaking violently and hopping up and down. That was a waste of money.

It's been my experience that tires will usually age and dry rot before the tread has a chance to wear out, so buying used tires doesn't make sense, since they are probably already past their shelf life.
Stop paying for animal cruelty and slaughter. Go vegan! [url=""][/url]

1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 350,000+


Accident waiting to happen there Squiggle.

Carl you are no doubt right, I've just been doing some research and find that Pirelli bought Veith some time in the 70's also.


Squiggle I think you are right about the age of the tyre versus brand/perceived quality. I've got Goodrich tyres on the beetle that SWMBO drives and they are almost totally bald, really just about slicks but

they are only a couple of years old and still stick remarkably, even on a wet road. I'm not pushing my luck too far though, they are being replaced next week.


Quote from a Porsche 911 workshop manual:

".......tyres under no circumstances can be older than 6 years"


And I was just thinking of buying a set of used whitewalls for the 116!
1974 450SE silver green/bamboo velour/green vinyl roof


I had a nasty blowout on the motorway while travelling at 80mph some years ago on my 6.9. The old tyre exploded in the middle of the tred. The tyre shop said they've not seen a disintegration like that before. Ever since I've made sure that I ride on newish rubber. Budget new tyres are much better than anything used. IMO for a car used relative little like my 6.9 the tyres ought to be replaced about every 6-8 years.


During the Irish National Car Test your car will get a "fail-advisory" for tyres that are over 6 six years old (the car passes, but you are advised to rectify the issue/change the part asap).

Obviously, if the tyres are bald, cracked or delaminating, the car gets a fail-refusal, as you'd expect, but otherwise "good" tyres that are >6 years old get this warning.
'76 350SE in Silver-Green


It's not illegal here to have old tyres, but I agree they can be very dangerous.  They might look ok, but they won't grip because the compound's gone hard.

I've got old tyres on one of my cars and they looked fine.  But when one of them deflated, a whole lot of deep stress cracks opened up that you couldn't see before.  Quite horrifying and very nasty.  I certainly wouldn't want to be on them around a tight high speed bend; and they'd be like ice skating in the wet!

What is currently driving me nuts is the fact tyre manufacturers aren't making tyres in the sizes we need.  Unless you have 18-20" wheels they're an endangered species....
1979 6.9 #5541 (Red Bull)
1978 6.9 #4248 (Skye)
1979 6.9 #3686 (Moby Dick)
1978 6.9 #1776 (Dora)
1977 450SEL #7010 white -P
1975 450SEL #8414 gold -P


Consider any wagging or rocking motion at low speeds pulling away from a stop to be a warning of belt separation.  You will find they are beginning to look like what Squiggle Dog posted.  Though we are talking about old tires in this thread, I can assure you that it happens with newish ones also, so be vigilant.

When in doubt, get the tires off the ground and spin them.  A separating tire will usually cause a visible wave to the tread surface.

Squiggle Dog

Back when I had those old tires, I couldn't figure out why my steering wheel was shaking back and forth. I took in my vehicle to a shop that does nothing but alignments to get a 4-wheel-alignment and find the cause of the steering shake. The shop told me that I needed a new steering box. So, I bought a rebuilt C&M unit and installed it. Same problem.

Then I took the vehicle in to the Mercedes dealership to have the steering wheel aligned so it would be centered with the wheels pointing straight ahead (I brought the centering pin for them to use in the steering box). The dealership pointed out that the tires were out of round, and that was the cause of the vibration. I wonder why the alignment shop couldn't figure out that one. I was also upset that that set of five used tires that I just paid nearly $300 to have installed after labor and tax were no good.

I drove the car on those tires for about another week before I noticed one of the tires had a bubble coming up out of the tread, so I had to install my spare. Then the car started shaking and hopping badly, so I installed two super old bald tires and steel wheels because it's all I had and I couldn't afford to buy tires again. I was finally able to save up for the five new whitewall tires I currently have on my car. Even though they are budget tires, they ride better than any tire I have experienced on my cars, but then again, I've been used to using almost nothing but tires at least ten years old.

Once these tires are worn out, I want to save up for a set of real, high-end wide whitewalls.
Stop paying for animal cruelty and slaughter. Go vegan! [url=""][/url]

1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 350,000+