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According to Michelin’s latest Tyres Are Not Bananas information campaign, tires do not have an expiration date. Instead of focusing on the DOT manufacture date, Michelin says that you're better served by practicing correct safety maintenance once the tire is installed.

If you been driving for more than 5 years, it’s quite likely that you've had to replace your car's tires at least once; if not twice. You also would have been informed by someone who's been on the road more years than you that you should buy tires that have manufacture dates close to the day you buy them.

The reasoning behind this is to avoid tires that have “expired” – after all, almost every other consumable item we purchase such as food or consumables, there is a best before date associated with them. Take bananas, for example, a staple on every Filipino's dining table needs to be consumed within a few days else they end up wasted in the garbage can. Checking the DOT code on your prospective tires and buying the one with the latest production date and avoiding anything that's more than a year old is good advice then; because surely, tires must expire too, shouldn't they? While fashion has a best before date, do clothes really go bad when they’re past season? We all know the answer to that question.

So it turns out that just like clothes, tires don't “expire” a year or two after they are produced, but rather like clothes tires start to incur wear and tear when you install and start using them on your car. That can't be right, “That's not what my gramps' auto guru friend told my grandfather, therefore it must not be true” you say? It turns out your lolo and many other drivers on the road have been misinformed about tires.

According to Michelin’s latest Tyres Are Not Bananas information campaign, tires do not have an expiration date. Instead of focusing on the DOT manufacture date, Michelin Chief Representative to the Philippines Michael Nunag says that customers would be better served by practicing correct safety maintenance once the tire is installed. Consumers may also be incorrectly prioritizing buying from dealers that have newer manufactured inventory over dealers that have proven track records of quality customer service.

Different studies conducted in Germany, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea showed no differences in performance between new tires and sets that have been in storage for three years.

Data from the Saudi Arabian test show that “a tire used on a vehicle for one year had equivalent aging to a tire in storage for 10 years. In terms of the characteristics of the tread rubber, it took 20 years in storage at 40 degrees Celcius to reach the same characteristics as the tires used at 40,000 kilometers, showing that tires do age more rapidly when used than when stored,” said Nunag. He further added that the Department of Customer Protection of South Korea's safety test data shows that new and unused three-year-old tires show no differences when subjected to high-speed tests and stepped-speed tests. IADAC, the German motorist organization, studied the differences in rolling resistance of newly made tires to unused tires that have been in storage for three and found identical rolling resistance on both old and new tires.

However, Michelin recommends that tires older than 10 years should be retired. “The recommendation is precautionary and not technically based,” Nunag said. “Tires endure lots of different stresses during their life on a vehicle. Sometimes the vehicle may be out of alignment, or the tire may be under inflated. Road obstacles, potholes, floods, extreme heat in the summer all take their toll on the tires.

He also added that “maintaining correct tire pressure, proper alignment, inspection for damages and tread depth measurements is important,” rather than absolute tire age.

It is for this reason that Michelin continues to conduct its Michelin: Safe on the Road campaign, the Michelin global initiative that promotes road safety and mobility by increasing public consciousness about proper tire maintenance, care, and other safety concerns, states Nunag. Incidentally, Michelin offers a full six years warranty for replacement passenger and light truck tires that begin on the date of tire installation.