Roadside tyre checks in Hertfordshire and Wiltshire recently identified a number of vehicles with tyres between 10 and 12 years old and one car with two tyres that were 15 years old. While this is not illegal, says the TIC, there are certain circumstances where the 'ageing' process can render a tyre unserviceable even if it is unused.
As the components within the tyre dry out with age, they can separate, causing the tyre to distort and vibrate and potentially the tyre could fail and deflate.
Motorists are able to check the age of a tyre by examining the date code on the sidewall of the tyre. If it is 10 years old or over the TIC strongly recommends that it be replaced.
The TIC also pointed out that although tyre manufacturers add anti-ageing chemicals to rubber compounds they are only active when the tyre is in use; therefore tyres fitted to spare wheels, caravans and trailers are particularly at risk of premature ageing brought on by ozone degradation and lack of use for lengthy periods. Hence if an unused tyre reaches six years old it should not be placed into service, says the TIC.