Snow tires are great for winter driving. Driving on a softer tire with better tread designed for ice, snow, and winter conditions can even save your life. But if you are switching between summer and winter tires throughout the year, you may find your tires are lasting many years.
But are they still worth switching out even if they have a lot of tread left? Are they still giving you the advantage of better grip even after 5-6 winters? You may be surprised to find some tires can give you life for many years, while other tires last a few seasons and then they turn to trash pretty fast.
So really, how long should you use winter tires? Since they can be pretty pricey, you want to make sure you are getting the most life out of them and you get the most life out of them as possible.
Are 10 Year Old Tires Safe To Drive On?
Generally, no. 10-year-old tires are not safe to drive on. Though there are extreme circumstances you are forced to drive on 10-year-old tires, it is not recommended by anyone to use 10-year-old tires. Tires are made of rubber with steel reinforced inside the tire to maximize strength and minimize blowouts.
Even if there is a lot of tread on the tire, a tire that is 10 years old or more is not worth it. The rubber will crack, pit, and even crumble. Tire manufacturers recommend you replace tires for driving after a maximum use of 6 years.
There are some that even recommend replacing tires after 6 years, though this is with very specific tires that have little exposure to the sun and are made of high-quality rubber that is more resistant to the elements.
Do Tires Expire?
Yes! Tires do expire. Tire manufacturers put a manufactured date on the tire and they recommend you stop using the tires for driving after 6 years. Rubber does not last! Tire makers, of course, add substances to enhance the life and durability of their tires. But even then, there is a limit and 6 years is it!
Of course, you can use your tires as long as you want. They are yours. But you would be risking a blowout, loss of control, and even getting stranded leaving your vehicle in a non-drivable state by using tires for more than 6 years. The risk is yours.
Tires manufacturers do not recommend replacing tires after 6 years because they want you to buy more tires, it is because on average that is the life span of the material they use. So is a 15-year-old spare tire still good?
Heck no. That should be an easy answer.
Can Winter Tires Last 10 Years?
No, winter tires last 6 years before they start to really deteriorate. Winter tires are made of rubber that is formulated to stay softer in colder temperatures.
Winter tires also are designed with a specific type of tread pattern. While each tire model and manufacturer has its own designs based on looks and functions, an older winter tire’s tread will wear away and lose most if not all of its effectiveness with time.
Tread depth and sipping are two important parts of a winter tire design. When you drive on these tires and they are deteriorating, you are losing a lot of the traction these tires give you.
Transport Canada says winter tires can last up to 10 winters. But there are few other organizations that agree with this statement. The overwhelming consensus is 6 years for tires. It does not matter if the tire is a high-quality winter tire or a sticky mud tire that sees daylight a few weekends a year. Rubber is not a durable material and it has a limited life span.
Winter tires, or “snow tires” as they used to be called can be lifesavers. They are bought to be used when temperatures drop below 7 degrees Celcius or 45 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, a normal tire’s rubber will become more rigid and lose traction. The tire will make it very difficult to accelerate, brake, and maintain control of your vehicle.
A set of winter tires will stay pliable and give you maximum control when the roads are icy, snowy, or cold. Winter tires will perform much better than non-winter tires. You will see a night and day difference in driving and confidence.
If you drive in areas where it snows or gets cold, investing in a set of winter tires you can use during cold weather can change your life. Make sure you use them within their recommended life span.
Main Takeaways – 10 Year Old Winter Tires
I would not recommend driving on 10-year-old tires, but if you do decide to use them, please keep in mind that they are much less grippy than newer models and will have reduced traction capabilities. This makes it significantly more difficult for your car to steer through snow or slush without sliding off the road into a ditch or another vehicle.
Older tires rubber falls apart and you can almost expect a blowout or loss of control while driving. If you are in an accident, they will not have the same safety standards as newer tires.
10-year-old tires driving in the snow is a bad idea. Even if they have a lot of tread on them, the age of the tire makes them ineffective in slippery conditions. It’s not worth risking your life because you want to save a few bucks on new tires.
Please understand that I’m not trying to put anyone down who drives with 10-year-old tires in winter weather. We all have to do what we have to do, but please be careful!
A car tire is typically considered ‘worn out’ if the tread wears down to 1/16th of an inch. Most tires have a 2/32nds tread depth when new, but it doesn’t take long before that number starts dropping fast. That means if you’re getting close to needing new tires, you should consider buying them before winter comes.
You can usually get a good deal on all-season tires in the summer when there is no snow on the ground, so you might be able to find some cheap ones being offered by local dealerships or online that will hold up well during winter driving conditions.