Please Don’t Drive Your Corvette on 13-Year-Old Tires

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Old Tires Just Aren’t Worth the Risk to Life, Limb, and Fender

In a recent Corvette Forum thread, member Rjwz2 asked if it was safe to drive his recently-acquired, low-mileage 2003 Corvette that’s still wearing its original Goodyear F1 Runflat tires. Aside from being a patently-awful tire, the answer from all of us here at CF is a resounding “no!”

When you’re bombing down a back-country road with the windows down and the stereo blasting, the last thing you want to be thinking about is how old your tires are, or if they’ll last. Many folks don’t think of them that way, but your tires are perhaps your car’s most important safety device. For those of you with collector-grade, low-mileage Corvettes, you might not have to worry much about tire wear. But your old tires are still fatigued. Even without signs of so-called “dry rot,” tires should be considered aged-out about six years after their manufacture date.

CHECK OUT: What Forum Members Are Saying About These Old Shoes

We would urge everyone to go check the date codes on all of their tires (sets of four, particularly in staggered fitments, don’t always have the same date codes, so be sure to check all four). On the sidewall of your tire, near the DOT markings, there’s usually a small oval with a stamped four-digit number. The first two digits of that number are the week of manufacture, and the second pair of digits identify the year of manufacture. For example, if your tire sidewall states “0811,” it was made in the eighth week of 2011, and you should start researching viable replacements as soon as possible.

Old tires, particularly on vintage cars, won’t necessarily look as old as they are. This is particularly true if the car has been continually applied with a sidewall “tire shine” compound. Just because a tire doesn’t look old doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t warrant replacement. An old tire is more susceptible to catastrophic failure, and has dramatically-reduced road-handling capabilities.

Bradley Brownell is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

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