How Old Can Tires Be And Still Be Safe: A Comprehensive Guide

Tires are safe for up to 10 years. Tires on average last 60,000 miles, or 3 to 5 years when they are used. Mud tires last 40,000 miles, winter tires 35,000 miles, summer tires 40,000 miles and all season tires 60,000 miles. Tires stored in unfavorable conditions can also reduce how old they can be and still be safe.

Is that all? Nope. Read this article for more insight on how old can your tires be and still be safe.

How Long Do Tires Last on an Average?

Your average tire will last about 60,000 miles. This number roughly translates to 3 to 5 years, considering that you drive 12000 miles to 15000 miles each year. 

But it will depend a lot on the road conditions it was exposed to throughout its lifetime. Other details, such as the amount of load you applied to it, how frequently it was rotated, and its age, also determine how long your tire will last.

How long do tires last if not driven much?

Tires will last approximately 10 years, if not driven much. Tire is made up of organic compounds, which break down over time. A tire is considered completely safe for up to 6 years, if no significant crack on tire tread and the tread depth is at least 4/32 inch. 

After 6 years the rubber material starts to break down by itself, decreasing the structural strength of the tire. To ensure safety, replace tires after 6 years, but 10 year old tires are  generally considered safe as well. 

How long do tires last in storage?

Tires do not last longer than 10 years in storage for reasons discussed above. Even if a tire is brand new, you must not use it in your car after being stored for 10 years. Tires may last less than 10 years if stored in improper conditions.

How Long Do Different Types of Tires last?

Different types of tires can last from 35,000 miles to 60,000 miles. But the life of a tire can depend on many variables, so it is very difficult to answer with certainty. 

The manufacture of the tire, the terrain being driven on, the age and driving habits together affect how long your tires will live. The approximate lifespan of different tire types is given below:

Tire TypeLifespan (in miles)
Mud Tire40,000 miles
Winter Tire35,000 miles
Summer Tire40,000 miles
All Season Tires60,000 miles
Performance Summer Tires25,000 miles
Ultra High Performance Tires27,000 miles

How Dangerous Are 10 Year Old Tires?

10 year old tires are very dangerous, even if the tread depth remains more than 4/32 inch. 10 year old tires are dangerous because:

  1. They are weak and may suddenly blow out.
  2. Produce a lot of rubber burning smell from tire during driving
  3. They have poor handling.
  4. Older tires increase the stopping distance of your car.
  5. The tread of the tire may get separated while on the road, leading to a loss of control..
  6. People have died from road accidents while driving on 10 year old tires. The Porsche Carrera GT, in which actor Paul Walker died, was found to be sporting 9 year old tires. It is widely considered that the old tires contributed to his tragic accident.  

When buying a used car, always check the age of the tires. Old cars often have very old tires, which can cause a deadly accident.

How to Check Tire Age?

You can check your tire’s age by looking at the 4 digit code on the tire sidewall. The first 2 digits of the code shows which week of the year it was manufactured and the last 2 digits show the year of production. 


In this image the 4 digit code ‘1417’ signifies that this tire was manufactured in the 14th week of the year 2017. 

Some tires may be imprinted with a 3 digit code instead. A 3 digit code signals that the tire was manufactured before the year 2000. Never use tires having 3 digit codes regardless of how they were stored, as the structural material has probably broken down by now.

What Factors Can Affect Safety of Old Stored Tires?

Even if the tires are less than 10 years old, they may be unsafe to drive with due to how they were stored. Following factors must be taken into consideration when storing tires for long:

UV Exposure

As your tires are made up of organic compounds, they can easily break down when exposed to UV light. UV light is present in sunlight. Ensure that the tires you are going to use are not stored in the presence of sunlight.

High Temperature 

Rubber disintegrates at elevated temperatures. Do not use tires that were not stored in temperature controlled store houses for a long period of time.

Ozone Exposure

Ozone can break down tire materials. It is produced as a byproduct of welding and electric motors. Avoid tires that were stored near these equipment for long.


Oxygen can react with tire materials and break them down. Use tires that were stored in air tight bags. Stay away from tires that were stored inflated, because about 21% of the compressed air inside is oxygen.


Tires stored in warm, humid conditions will also break down over time. Do not use these tires.

Sidewall Deformation

Tires stacked horizontally puts pressure on the sidewalls. A sidewall can permanently deform, compromising the structural integrity of the tire. Do not drive with a tire that has a deformed sidewall.

Reaction Between Tires of Different Materials

Tires can contain different additives to prolong their life. Avoid keeping tires from different manufacturers in close contact with each other for long. 

Always stack black tires with black tires and white tires with only white tires. Never use a tire that has been in contact with a tire of different color for prolonged periods.


How do I make mud tires last more?

You can make mud tires last more by limiting these tires to mud, dirt and snow. This is because using them on paved roads can drastically reduce their lifespan. Braking frequently can also reduce the lifetime of mud tires. 

To make mud tires last, slightly underinflate them, to let them flex on the irregular surface they are meant to be driven on. 

Do winter tires last longer than summer tires?

Winter tires always last less than summer tires, as winter tires are designed for added traction and not longevity. Winter tires have deeper treads, which allows greater handling when driving. But summer tires will last longer than winter tires.

How long do Michelin tires last?

Michelin tires last between 45,000 to 85,000 miles. How long your Michelin tires will last will depend on the type of tire, where you are driving it and how you drive. Michelin tire treads tend to wear uniformly, which contributes to their increased lifespan.


Now you know how old tires can be and still be safe. Regularly inspect your tires for any damage and wear. Always check the DOT number on the sidewall of your tire. Be careful when using tires stored for long periods of time. That is it for today. All the best and goodbye!

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William Baldwin

This Is William Baldwin, The Founder & Managing Editor of this website. Me and my team share automotive tips, tricks, and news

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Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at with a passion for the automotive industry.