Calls for the maximum age of tyres to be limited
Concerns are growing over the need for regulations imposing limits on the age of tyres fitted to cars in the UK. For classic car enthusiasts that highlights several issues, not least the effects of of tyres ageing and how an age limit on tyres could be policed? See alongside.

The suggested age limit for tyres is 10 years which would provide a legal limit whereas other sources suggest that tyres of over 7 or 8 years old can show signs of hardening of the rubber and consequential handling and safety concerns.

Although over recent years the awareness of the ageing effects on tyre rubber
and the consequent safety implications from reduced grip, braking and roadholding are better known, there have been some alarming cases of ignorance or worse. Reports

How to read the tyre wall markings to find the age of a tyre. More

Tyre safety concerns with classic cars. More

Posted: 190214
Concern is growing over the lack of an age limit on tyres fitted to cars in the UK. Whilst tyre wear for modern cars tends to be higher because most do high mileages, generally classic cars don't do large annual mileages so the wear rate of tyres fitted to classic cars is lower. Consequently they are much more likely to be running on old tyres. But what are "old tyres"?

Tyres never stop vulcanising, they just get harder and harder over time which means they can have all the tread but because of the hardening of the rubber and reduced flexibility of the rubber, that leads to reduced grip and consequently reduced roadholding and braking performance, particularly in the wet.


There is a growing call for an age limit on tyres in the UK.
For classic car enthusiasts the growing concerns highlight several issues, not least the two below:

Tyres on classic cars tend to "age" well before they begin to show signs of wear
Without an awareness of the reduced roadholding and braking effects of tyres over 7 or 8 years old, some owners might on inspecting the their tyres feel they have plenty of tread and all is well. Not so. Tyres age and the rubber hardens and loses their flexibility
leading to reduced grip and consequently reduced roadholding and braking performance, particularly in the wet.

If an age limit is introduced how would it be policed?
With most classic cars becoming eligible for MOT exemption, if owners decide to self declare their vehicle a Vehicle of Historic Interest (VHI) and claim MOT exemption they may then never get an annual inspection. Of course an MOT exempt vehicle can always have a voluntary MOT test or a similar inspection and many responsible bodies recommend they do so. Many classic car owners can also see an annual test or inspection is a wise precaution.
Awareness of of how to find the age of tyres
Last week the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) revealed that 33% of members surveyed could not tell the age of a tyre from the codes on the sidewall of a tyre.
They should see our guide to reading the markings on tyre sidewalls.

What age limit is suggested?
Douglal Cawley of Longstone Tyres suggests 10 years as an upper limit unless storage is or has been perfect - adding "the people who make them store them best", but in such cases "they should be sold no more than 5 years after they were produced". The Department for Transport has at this stage indicated "it would not be drawn either way regarding age limits on classic car tyres". The results of its tyre age test backed by DVSA and Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain will be published in Spring 2019.