Tyre safety concerns with classic cars

A lead article in Classic Car Weekly today has the headline "Why classic car tyres are failing" and highlights a report by Tyre Safe who found in a recent survey that 25% of all drivers have at least one illegal tyre. The article adds "tyre retailers say fewer classic car owners are buying new tyres, especially pre-1960 MOT exempt cars".

Tyre safety is a topic the V8 Register has highlighted on many occasions, not least the age effect on rubber and the consequent reduced braking and roadholding performance of the tyre, not to mention ride comfort as the rubber hardens and takes on the characteristics of wood! See our tyre age article

See also the ROSPA advice on tyre
ageing
. More

See our Information Gateway on replacement tyres. More

Posted: 151104
How old can tyres be before it is wise to change them?
Over time the suppleness of the rubber reduces so that by around 7 to 8 years old the ageing effect on the rubber will have reduced the flexibility of the rubber to something that begins to have characteristics similar to that of wood with consequent adverse effects on braking performance, grip, handling and ride. For most classic car enthusiasts doing modest annual mileages this will inevitably mean the tyres age well before they wear out. For many it will feel wrong
to throw a way tyres which appear to have plenty of tread remaining but with a high performance car which has a suspension package from an earlier age, good dry and
wet grip and braking performance are essential together with supple rubber for a comfortable ride.
Classic Car Weekly undertook tyre tests on an MGBGT a couple of years ago in a controlled environment and the results highlighted the substantial difference between the braking performance using fresh rubber when compared with old tyres which despite having legal amounts of tread were more than five years old. In braking tests from 50 mph in dry conditions new tyres reduced the braking distance by a third when compared with the older tyres. That was a staggering difference of just over 60ft (18.6m). The braking distance for the old tyres was 183ft (56.45m) and the new 122ft (37.55m). Classic Car Weekly

Finding good comparative tyre test information
Choosing replacement tyres has been made easier by the compulsory performance labelling but if you want comparative performance information on the top tyres then you need to see the results of recent tyre tests. In our review last year we have looked at two independent comparative tyre tests car ried out in by Auto Express magazine in September 2014 and earlier by the independent consumer organisation, Which? The Dunlop Sport BluResponse tyre eased out the longtime favourite with many V8 enthusiasts, Continental Premium Contact5.
See our article