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TR6 Tire Preservation Question - 1976 TR6


Freshman Member
The loyal members of this forum have been very helpful to me in the past and I want to first of all deliver a hearty "Thank You!"

I have decided to keep my all original 1976 TR6. The only reason I was selling it was due to the fact that my wife and I can't take our 11 month old son anywhere in the car. The Volvo isn't quite as fun, you know?!?!?

Anyway, there has been some discussion on this board about the TR6 market. I listed mine in both Hemmings and Ebay Motors. There are a lot of interested buyers out there.

Overall, I had serious correspondence/conversations with maybe 10 people. I think, for the most part, buyers fall into two catergories. Category one includes people who always wanted a TR6 and now have the dough to buy one. The problem is that they remember the cars brand new in the showroom and they are a bit disappointed when they see one in the flesh. Unless the TR6 is a concours frame-off restoration, they don't want it. Category two includes folks who insist on overdrive and a hardtop. I wish I had those options, no doubt. However, I really wonder how much I would actually use them.

Okay, that's it for my current events update. Now that I am keeping my car, I am addressing two immediate needs. The first is getting the entire car treated with Waxoyl, per the suggestion of many of you. I plan on getting that treatment done at the end of the summer.

The second need is new tires. My car has the original Michelin redline tires. I love the look but they just don't cut the mustard in terms of making me feel confident behind the wheel. I have read the many discussions on this board about modern tires and I have nailed the replacement tires down. My question - and you say, FINALLY - is there a method to store/preserve the redlines so they don't dry-rot? I am stunned they haven't succumbed to dry-rot yet. I want to save them in the event I sell the car someday or want to show it. Any advice would be most appreciated.

Simon TR4a

Jedi Knight
I don't think you can prevent the tyres deteriorating; this can be caused by light, heat, damp or ground level ozone.
The best you can do is to store them inside garbage bags, using a vacuum cleaner to suck out the air, keep them in a cool place away from electric motors such as air conditioning or central heating.
I suspect the tires may have some invisible deterioration even though they look ok; it is possible the steel belts may rust orthe tread delaminate from the carcass without this being obvious.

Geo Hahn

Country flag
And don't stack them on the beige carpet in the guest room. Even encased in plastic something gases out and leaves a nice brown ring on the carpet.

I too would be surprised if they have survived w/o significant deterioration. Are there little cracks in the rubber in the grooves of the tread? I'm told that these (moreso than cracks in the sidewall near the rim) are the ones to watch out for.


Luke Skywalker
Simon is correct, tires simply rot over time. The changes is weather in Philly are enough to do it -- cold in the winter and hot/humid in the summer.

The other thing is that tires dry rot from the inside-out. So there may be no cracking on the outside, but once you look inside, you'll notice the rubber cracking.

Tires should be replaced every 15 years -- although none of us seem to follow this important guideline!


Tires should be replaced every 15 years -- although none of us seem to follow this important guideline!

[/ QUOTE ]

Some recent studies have shown that tires need to be replaced every 5 years. Of course those could have been paid for by tire companies too.

Some local club members bought a very low mileage TR7 a few years ago. Original right down to the tires. The tires looked brand new from the outside. They were very rotted though. They had a blow out at 75mph on the interstate, rolled the car and hospitalized the couple in the car. Luckily no one was killed (overnight for observation and a neck brace for a few weeks). TR7 was totaled and it could have all been avoided for less than two hundred dollars.


Jedi Knight
Country flag
Wow, now that is a sobering thouoght.


Jedi Knight
My tires suffered from cord separation due to stupidly not removing them from the vehicle while in storage (dumb kid back then!)
I am told that filling the tires with Nitrogen (popular up here these days with the tire stores) will greatly lessen the effect of internal damage due to moisture in compressed air. This does make sense due to the fact that nitrogen is quite inert. Sealing the exterior of the tire with a good tire dressing, once again, will remove any rubber to air and moisture contact and will help as well. Also store in the dark as UV rays are killer on tires


Jedi Knight
Country flag
I soppose though, if you have wire wheels with inner tubes then the nitrogen is not going to help.

Speaking of which, do you all think the same caviat (that they should be replaced every 5 or 15 years) applies to tires that are installed with inner tubes.

Dave Russell

Yoda - R.I.P
Speaking of which, do you all think the same caviat (that they should be replaced every 5 or 15 years) applies to tires that are installed with inner tubes.

[/ QUOTE ]
When tires are manufactured, The are heated in molds to harden the very soft original rubber. This hardening process never stops & continues at a lower rate throughout the life of the tire. The hardening is accelerated by high storage temperatures, exposure to Ozone, & UV light. An old tire with 90% tread remaining will still have these problems.

The result of this hardening is a loss of traction of the tread, especially on wet pavement. A tread can typically go from a "Shore A Scale" hardness of 60 when new to a hardness of 85 or more when the tire is a few years old, with a very obvious loss of traction.

A second result is internal hardening & loss of the rubber bond which can result in tread separation & or cracking.

Even if the loss of traction is acceptable, the likelyhood of outright failure is not.

Innertubes increase the rubber temperatures & would likely accelerate the hardening/deterioration rate.

Tires are too cheap to take chances with. I personally would set a limit of five to eight years on safe tire life, regardless of the tread wear. Take your choices.

Aside: Dry Nitrogen is sometimes used in race tires because it causes less heat induced pressure increase.


Jedi Knight
Country flag
Thanks Dave,

I was not advocating keeping tires for a long time or even trying to find a excuse to do that. I was just trying to fill in the gaps in what I had read so far. Which you have done quite well.

I must say I am looking at tires in a whole new light now. There will be some tire swaping and moving tires to the spare slot going on in my garage in the near future (right after I get some transmission work, seat belt instalation and wire wheel fixing finished).


Jedi Warrior
One example of damage/rot is with boat trailer tires-- For the most part, they tend to sit outside a lot. My dearly departed ol' dad used to keep a plywood cover over the wheels of his trailer tires to keep the sun off. I used to think that was overkill until I blew 2 tires while hauling my boat on the way to a family outing--they looked only a little faded adn barely checked but definitely lotsa tread and low mileage-- and only 5 years old.

Don Elliott

Obi Wan
I have heard that tires should be changed after 10 years. I got 10 years and 45,000 miles out of my new Michelins from 1990 to 2001 on my 1958 TR3A. If you like redlines on the tires, there are a few places who will grind the red lines into the tires you have. I saw a fellow doing this at Triumphest in Ventura back in 1993 or '94.

Don Elliot, 1958 TR3A
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