How Old Are Your Tires? Better Check…

I’m pretty cautious about buying into Internet-hyped stories that I recieve from others over email, but this one looks quite legitimate: this 20/20 video explains the dangers of old tires. Like most people, I assumed the only danger in old tires was one of tread – as in, if your tires are so old they’re losing their tread, you shold replace them. This story explains how tires lose the elasticity in the rubber, and that can lead to some catastrophic results. I wasn’t able to find if Canada is any better than the US in terms of laws protecting consumers from buying old tires – though I did discover that Quebec has made it law that car owners put winter tires on their cars this year. The reason for this law? 38% of cars involved in winter accidents in Quebec have all-season tires on. Logic says then that if tires are the contributing factor in these accidents – and I think that’s a pretty big leap in logic – having better tires will reduce the number of accidents. I’ll be interested to see if that’s really the case. I’m in support of anything that saves lives and makes the road safer, but I’m not convinced winter tires are a magic bullet to reducing accidents in the winter months. The biggest problem I’ve seen with winter driving is simply driver idiocy: people who try to go the same 10 kmph over the speed limit regardless of the weather, and they tend to be people who drive trucks or SUVs, thinking that the heavier weight of their vehicle somehow makes them immune to the weather. Staying safe in the winter while driving is 80% driver IQ and 20% vehicle.

  • Cold Flame

    I’ll agree and disagree.

    Driver is the vast majority of the problem, you’re right. But, winter tires do make a huge difference. Don’t buy into the hype of Blizzak’s and all those. They’re only REALLY good for about 20-30% of their lifespan. You want a good winter tire? Check out Nokian Tires (http://www.nokiantires.com/). They’re made in Finland, and if anybody knows snow/ice, it’s the Finnish! They’re also one of the only (if not THE only) tire manufacturer’s that offers a prorated treadwear rating on their winter tires to 80,000 km’s. Theirs are all-season capable yet carry the snow and ice rating (snowflake symbol on sidewall… in Canada anyway). Anyway, just my $0.02 as usual, but it truly does make a huge difference.

  • Cold Flame,
    Because I’ve never had winter tires on my cars, I have no first-hand experience in how big of a difference winter tires made. Maybe this year I’ll get some and we’ll see. 🙂

  • Cold Flame

    Well Jason, if ya do. Please do yourself a favour and look at the Nokian’s. They’re relatively unknown in a lot of cases, but they are absolutely amazing and are slowly starting to become known in the “tire circles” if you will.

    If you guys get that fancy car (Camaro???) for Ashley, I believe it’s a rear wheel drive with a lot of power, so you’ll want a good set of dedicated winter tires. I have only ever owned rear wheel drive cars so I can really attest to how much of a difference they make. My Mom’s G35 is RWD as well (which she hadn’t owned in like 30 years) and after the first one or two snow storms she bought snow tires and hasn’t looked back. She’s on season 4 or 5 with them and they’re still going strong and she sticks like glue to the roads even in the worst conditions.

    If at all possible for any set of cars I can own, I’d prefer to have a dedicated summer set of tires, and a dedicated set of winter tires. Affording it is something else in itself, but that’s my ultimate goal with nearly every vehicle I have. If you do get some, do yourself a favour and by a second set of rims to keep them permanently mounted on. It’s a pain to have to go in each year and have the rubber taken off your rims, the other rubber mounted, balanced, reinstalled, etc… That way you can either do it yourself, or if you go through some like Blaskin & Lane, they’ll do it for you for free each season. Small price to pay to buy a steel rim for each corner….

  • Thanks for all the great advice!