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New Tires or Keep Old Ones

CessnaTPA

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My 100-6 has 4 tires with less than 5k miles but are 12-15 years old. They appear to be in good shape with no visible cracks and run smooth. I'm in a dilemma if I should replace them since they are so old or just keep them and not worry about it. What brought this on is my spare tire needs replaced so I have 2 choices, 1- buy 4 new tires and use the best old tire as the spare, or 2- only buy a spare. What do you guys think? I'm only driving the car 1000 miles a year with speeds under 70mph.
 

steveg

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Wouldn't trust them. If the size is OK, keep the best one for the spare.

If your car's a BN6, make sure the spare will fit through the slot in the bulkhead. Mine's a 25 year old 165 Michelin and it just fits.
 
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Neither: Toss them all and get five--not four--new ones.
 
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Driving with aged-out tires is kinda like flying a plane that's out of annual--though I'm not aware of any specific laws (yet)--if anything goes wrong, you'll be at least partially at fault, regardless of circumstances. I think the states that have annual auto inspections would not allow them (anybody here live in such a state?).
 

nevets

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My Healey has 15+ year old tires on it and like you, I drive under 1000 miles a year at speeds under 70 (under 65 actually). I plan to replace the tires soon. One thing that concerns me about tire replacement is finding a shop that knows how to deal with wire wheels. FWIW, the owner's manual for my 2018 Honda HRV states that tires should be replaced 10 years after their date of manufacture regardless of condition.
 
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CessnaTPA

CessnaTPA

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Driving with aged-out tires is kinda like flying a plane that's out of annual--though I'm not aware of any specific laws (yet)--if anything goes wrong, you'll be at least partially at fault, regardless of circumstances. I think the states that have annual auto inspections would not allow them (anybody here live in such a state?).

As a pilot that's a good analogy and I've ordered 4 new tires.
I think the spare is 50+ years old, a Goodyear Custom Super Cushion.
Thanks guys for the push to get new tires which I knew deep down was the right answer all along.
 

RAC68

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Hi All,

Although I can't argue with the suggestion to replace your running 4 tires (retaining 1 for a spare), living in a moderate climate (New Jersey), I would at least replace the tubes if intending to extend their longevity for a short period. However, your hot and humid Florida climate is highly conducive to tire case deterioration from rot and flat spotting as a result of long periods of immobility (indicated by low mileage). These potential conditions (even when not obvious) can produce explosive tire failures at any speed.

Although I have kept tires in excessive of 10-years, I live in a temperate climate (New Jersey) and try to drive my Healey at least once a month throughout the year to assure a constant change in tire position when parked. I do change tubes at lest twice during the initial 10-years and again when considering extending tire longevity for a short period after. I find that a 165R15 is my preferred size to provide road height, the best fill of the well, and good maneuverability for my casually aggressive cruise driving. All in all, I can understand your question as it is difficult to get rid of tires that look good with little ware but it's incognito conditions that require tire-age replacement.

Also, I have had no problems with my front WW hubs but have replace rears due to tooth rounding. Although normal ware can cause this condition, I must admit that, over my early Healey years, I had not properly tightened the knock-off after working in the area and spun the hub in the wheel on take-off. As a rear wheel drive, this condition is not uncommon and I would replace the rear hubs (at minimum), even if an inspection indicates they are satisfactory, if I were replacing Wire Wheels.

Just my thoughts,
Ray(64BJ8P1)
 

Rob Glasgow

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As tires age, the rubber can become hard and adversely effect the ride quality. I was pleasantly surprised with how much softer the ride was after I replaced some 12 year old tires on my BT7.
 

Keoke

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WOW:

Get five new tires even if they are cheap, Cheap new tires are much safer than expensive old ones especially 15 year old ones
 
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Check out Hendrix Wire Wheel. Send him the wheels with out tires (I left the inflated tubes on to protect the rims). He will supply the tires (he has good choices) and true the wheels and tires. They will come back with the tires rounded trued too. He will paint the painted ones. While you are shipping, throw in the rear brake drums and he can balance them too and get rid of the 62 MPH shake.
 

John Turney

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Yes, replace is the correct answer. I had an 11-year old tire that looked good disintegrate on me. Fortunately, it wasn't on the Healey.
 

steveg

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My local America's Tire (same as Discount Tire elsewhere in US) has people trained for tubes and wire wheels. My neighbor has had his Ferrari Borrani wires mounted there. They order old-pattern Michelins & tubes from Coker.

...So there may be a tire shop near you that can do the job.

I do not feel uncomfortable using a too-old tire as a spare, never having used it in the 19 years I've had the car. If I do have to use it, I'll drive slow. With BN6/7s there's a real problem getting a tire that'll fit in the spare slot.
 
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CessnaTPA

CessnaTPA

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My local America's Tire (same as Discount Tire elsewhere in US) has people trained for tubes and wire wheels. My neighbor has had his Ferrari Borrani wires mounted there. They order old-pattern Michelins & tubes from Coker.

...So there may be a tire shop near you that can do the job.

I do not feel uncomfortable using a too-old tire as a spare, never having used it in the 19 years I've had the car. If I do have to use it, I'll drive slow. With BN6/7s there's a real problem getting a tire that'll fit in the spare slot.

I ordered Firestone 165r15 tires from JEGS and they have a $50 gift card deal going on right now and getting the tubes off ebay. I'm going to attempt to change the tires myself with tire irons & spoons, I removed the spare tire yesterday and it wasn't easy but not that bad. I've always done my own tires on my motorcycles so we will see how it works out on the Healey. It's become more of a challenge since a buddy said I couldn't do it, we will see if he is right.
 
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Any tire shop can fit up the tires, if they're careful. It's getting them balanced that is the problem; it's not tricky, but requires special adapter cones for the computer balancer and a lot of shops just don't bother to get them. I don't know if manual balancing works well enough to mitigate the dreaded 'scuttle shake.' The last couple wheels I had balanced were done by a custom bikes shop and they were done right.
 

Keoke

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British Petroleum here in the North West US have the capability to handle tubed wire wheels I was surprised but grateful.
 
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twas_brillig

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The "rule of thumb" I've been advised to use is seven years (however, Honda's ten year advisement is something I can't disagree with, although I ride a Kawasaki triple and a Buell....).
I've been told to look closely for cracks (sidewall and tread), but will go with the advice from a shop that did a lot of work on our BJ7 who mentioned that, in their experience, an exploding tire takes a lot more bodywork to repair than the cost of a new tyre. Heat kills tyres; flexing on the highway combined with a hot environment is defiintely a killer. I do like the idea of swapping tyres out at 8 years and keeping the best as a spare - coupled with the wisdom of putting a new tube into the spare. I surely don't understand the dynamics, but it also sure seems like a dang good idea. Plus then treating it like one of those mini replacment modern tyres and keeping it down to 50 mph/80 km/hr, or thereabouts. Life's a mystery. Same with women and tyres and a whole lot of other issues. Doug
 

glemon

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I will second and add to what Keoke said, a modern, new cheap tire is better than an old tire of any kind. Say what you will about progress and quality, but I think we can agree that a modern tire, even a Kumho, Nexen or Nankang, is a better tire than a Michelin XZX or Dunlop GoldSeal, so you are going better than OEM on your car. Buy a set of cheap tires from Wal-Mart or whatever, and you shouldn't feel too bad about replacing them when they age out with plenty of tread left.

Or autocross like a madman five or six times a year, then you won't have to worry about your tires aging out before they wear out, and you can have a little fun too. :D
 
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I bought a set of Nexens for my BN2 from WalMart. The Walmart folks were terrific; the tire shop helped me load them up and the online sales manager opened his register early so I could pay (and not have to come back later). The Nexens handle fine, but I don't drive that car a whole lot.
 
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CessnaTPA

CessnaTPA

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Took the tire off and it revealed the manufacturer date February 2004 so I've been driving on 15 year old tires. New tires showing up on Thursday.
 

twas_brillig

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The rear tyres on our dune buggy are ten years old. Stopped at the shop and there's no cracking in either the sidewall or the tread sections, but we ordered replacements. Our climate is cooler and the tires don't have excessive exporsure to the sun, but tires are cheap compared to the value of the vehicle and the possibility of a catastrophic failure. I'm not planning on any long highway trips this year, but normal communting still gets us on the 110 km/hr (68 mph) roads.
If had (a) more power and (b) IRS instead of a swing axle, I'd sure like to explore the autocross option for getting maximum value out of the tyres.
On another note: the Austin-Healey Concours Registry scoring sheets state: "*Note: tires 15 or more years old are considered not roadworthy and will receive the full 5-point deduction." Doug
 
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