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With spring approaching and your Citroën tires having aged another year, we would like to urge you to ensure that they are not a hazard to you and others. Fresh rubber is critical, not just for proper grip (especially in rain) but for safety. Handling will be compromised on old tires and that alone can be dangerous!

Over the years we have seen Citroëns appear at Rendezvous, actually driven there (not trailered), that have experienced blowouts and caused considerable damage. They were running on tires that were in horrendous condition:

Witness the photo below of a DS tire, where the belts separated.

Or this Traction Avant where the rubber was so old, the sidewalls gave away.

Here’s a 2CV tire that should never have been on the road.

Some years back, an aged rear tire gave way on a GS causing the tread belt section to fly up and rip open the entire rear quarter panel. Good thing it wasn’t on the side where the fuel neck was located.

One owner who drove home from Rendezvous at Saratoga Springs, NY blew an aged rear Michelin XWX on a SM. Not only did the tire do severe damage to the SM’s rear quarter panel and wheel skirt, but the steel belt severed the fuel line coming from the gas tank and that line is downstream of the electric fuel pump mounted near the gas tank. Sparks emanated from shredding steel tire belts while fuel poured into the wheel well. Thank God it did not ignite!

Not only are people with old tires causing a hazard that can hurt them and others, but when it comes to insurance claims in the event of accidents, bad tires give insurance companies the perfect excuse avoid a pay-out.

We hate to see more fuel being added to the movement to legislate the age of tires that can on a road vehicle as a result of people people with such disregard tires that are obviously in poor condition.

Tires deteriorate over time, even if they are not used or driven on. They may appear to be in like-new condition on the outside, but inside the rubber is slowly deteriorating. This may dangerously weaken the tire and increase the risk of a blowout at high speed or during hot weather.

Strategic Safety, a research firm in Arlington, VA says based on their findings, motorists should replace tires that are more than ten (10) years old, including their spare tire.

And many European vehicle manufacturers typically recommend replacing tires that are more than six (6) years old. (Drive the Alps or the coast roads of Italy and their reasoning becomes obvious!)

How old are the tires on your vehicle? The date of manufacture is indicated by the last group of digits in the DOT manufacture code on the sidewall of the tire. The number is often stamped in a recessed rectangle. The DOT code tells who manufactured the tire, where it was made and when. The last group of digits in the code is the date code that tells when the tire was made.

Before 2000, the date code had three digits. Since 2000, it has had four. The first two digits are the week of the year (01 = the first week of January). The third digit (for tires made before 2000) is the year (1 = 1991). For most tires made after 2000, the third and fourth digits are the year (04 = 2004).

While we’re at it, what do the first numbers on the tire sidewall mean? As you might expect, they refer to various dimensions of the tire. Take 245-70-17 for example, the first number, 245, is the tire width, in millimetres. The second number, 70, is the aspect ratio – between the height and width of the tire – expressed as a percentage. The last number in the sequence, 17, is the wheel diameter, in inches.

Suffice to say that we don’t agree with blanket legislation on tire age because tires do age at varying rates by factors such as; geographic location, storage methods, temperature and humidity, inflation pressure, and wear and tear. The majority of us have decent tires on our cars and we don’t want to be dragged into more regulation because of people that ignore the age and condition of the tires on their cars.

The point of this article is that you should take responsibility for the condition of the tires on your car. Are they cracking (ever so slightly), giving a hard ride because of aging rubber, and are they providing sufficient traction if you have to make a sudden stop on a wet road surface? If answering yes to any of these 3 points – it’s time for a change!