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Old 07-28-2012, 09:31 AM   #1
Don/WI
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Default Are older tires safe

I have a chance to buy some older 21" tires on rims. I know they are more than 10 years old, as the widow's husband passed away 10 years ago. They have been stored indoors, above the rafters in a garage all these years. I have not seen them yet, but have been told that they are no cracks in the side walls and in fact look like they have very little wear.

Would these tires be safe to run on the road being that old. I recall reading some time ago that old tires are not real safe. Anyone have any thoughts or experience? At this time I only need them for a chassis that I am working on and will not be on the road for a few years.

What would they be worth? I know, posting pictures would help determine the value, but I just want a ball park figure. Thanks. Don/WI
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: Are older tires safe

I think you answered your own question-old tires are a crap shoot.
For rolling around or slow local use fine, but otherwise go buy new tires.
They are worth what you want to pay for them. I bought a set of 4 21" on here about 6 months
ago with rims for 140. That is a ballpark. So 100-200. would be my estimate.
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:05 AM   #3
modela@aol.com
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Default Re: Are older tires safe

Prevailing wisdom is that any tire has a shelf life of some sort and the rubber will be degraded by UV, heat, etc. If the tire gets old it seems ike the flexibility of the rubber goes away
But around twenty years ago we had a club member driving a survivor Model A that wasn't ever restored. He had WWII era S-3 synthetic rubber tires still on it and he drove it at all of the clubs' events with no issues or concerns. My first thoughts on seeing these tires was that they were rock hard and solid as a piece of wood. They did have a couple of coats of Black shoe polish on them as well so they were shiney and black.
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:11 AM   #4
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[QUOTE,,. They did have a couple of coats of Black shoe polish on them as well so they were shiney and black. [/QUOTE]

nothing like pulling out the old kiwik

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Old 07-28-2012, 10:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: Are older tires safe

At Hershey, a couple of years ago, I bought 4 19" tires for thirty bucks ($7.50 @) lotsa tread, but cracked. But for $30 I figured they'd make good rollers and they have so far. When the time comes, I will take them out on the road, but only locally. I also wanted to say that I got 102K (102,000) miles out of the original tires on my 99 ford van, And I still had one of the original tires on my 1952 International Harvester, Mod "H" tractor. And Ive owned some small machines from the 1960s with their original tires. But I would not trust them at highway speeds or anything near it.
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:32 AM   #6
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Default Re: Are older tires safe

If they are nylon, you may end up with a bumpy ride when you start out. I bought a set of 5 21's with nylon tires for $200 a year or so ago. Sold one for $50.
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:52 AM   #7
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Default Re: Are older tires safe

There’s no question that newer tires – if well made – are better engineered and safer. However, my experience with (for example) five early 1970’s vintage 4.75/5.00/5.25/5.50-19 Bedford 4-ply Nylon tires with tubes that came with my [basket-case] 1930 coupe purchased in February 1977 indicates that ‘older’ tires can be used. I still have these mounted, although – inasmuch as they’re at the end of their tread-life – will shortly replace them with new tires although I plan to retain the old tubes, which have proven – knock wood – serviceable. As stated above, Nylon tires do provide a bumpy ride until the tire warms up.

In the interim, I have put 15,700 miles (not exactly a lot of mileage over 35+ years) on them in Idaho, Washington and California, garaged and non-garaged, driving in everything from snow (with chains on the rear tires) to dirt, including freeway driving, daily driving and a several-year period of non-use punctuated by a 9-month period when our son drove the car daily to high school (which didn't significantly affect the tires but did have some deleterious effects on the cam timing gear until a heart-to-heart talk convinced him not to start the engine with the spark all the way advanced).

I run these tires at 35 psig and they have probably been rotated 3 or 4 times in the last 35 years. The tires have worn more or less evenly (there is about a 1/32" difference in the center-to-outer tread depth). There is no sidewall damage other than minor crazing (certainly no cracks). How long the previous owner had the tires (or what - if any - mileage he put on them) is unknown.

Bottom line: for a daily driver or long-distance/freeway-speed driving, I’d prefer new good-quality tires. Otherwise, absent noticeable damage to the sidewall (exposing cord) or severe cracks between the tread rows, give them a try, treat them well (tire pressure, balance, rotation and front-end alignment) and keep a close eye on them.
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: Are older tires safe

The shelf life on a tire is supose to be right around 5 years. so they say. if it were me I would use them especialy if they are for just rolling around . the Model A dosent go very fast and even if you had a blow out at 40 MPH I dought you would loose controle and do a barral role down the street. Some paronoid people would say don't do it.But im not one of those guys. if you don't want them let me know if they are black wall tires Im looking for a cheep set.
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:09 PM   #9
H. L. Chauvin
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Default Re: Are older tires safe

Would not recommend this with later manufactired tires, especially on a vehicle; however, for the record, I put some 1955 chrysler tires on a Model B axle boat trailer in 1960 -- been out of doors & they are still going strong after 52 years.


My Dad put some 600-16 white wall tires on a Model A axle trailer in 1936 which lasted until 1998 when we dismantled the trailer -- was stored in a barn & they were still going strong after 62 years -- had red rubber tubes.

One is lucky to get 5 years out of today's baby carriage tires placed on a boat trailer.

Appears vintage U. S. made automobile tires almost lasted forever on all types of utility trailers -- this was before America began its sharp decline & when all foreign countries wanted "durable" products of all kinds, made by sincere, trustworthy Americans who used to enjoy going to work.
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:36 PM   #10
Marco Tahtaras
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Default Re: Are older tires safe

Folks tend to want to compare them to Chinese made TUBELESS tires on a heavy car doing 80 mph. The tube alone makes it a different ballgame altogether. The fear instilled in everyone is based on the Firestone fiasco years ago where NEW tires (tubeless radials) were blowing out on new Ford SUV's if I recall correctly.

When I was a kid in the 70's my only and everyday car was a 29 Roadster. For the first couple years I couldn't afford a new set of tires. I purchased old used tires at swap meets for $5-$7 dollars when I found them and didn't car much as long as there was decent tread. Some of those tires were WW2 S-3 tires. Most were quite weather checked. Most were pretty hard so I'd only get 3-5k miles on a tire. My speeds on the SF Bay area freeways was constantly 55-65 mph. Same with quick runs to Sacramento or Reno. Not long before I finally ordered my first pair of new Goodyears I pushed the limits on my right rear tire, but not taking any long trips. The tire had an area of cords showing in the center of the tread about 1" wide and 8-9" long. I still had no problem but it was after dark and a female Police Officer got behind me and the bare spot was flashing here lights back at her! She pulled me over and gave me a "fix-it" ticket.

Lastly, keep in mind that back in the 70's most tires were still bias ply tires albeit tubeless. In those days they were taking older worn tires and "re-capping" them by molding on a new tread. They were obviously less expensive than new tires so they sold well.

There are many Model A folks among the ranks that will remember the Ford/Firestone fiasco with small SUV roll-overs, AND the subsequent media scare (great TV ratings) on tires in general. The result for many is the belief that anything short of new tires is life threatening.
But that's okay. Everyone has to make their own judgment call regardless of the basis.

I should add that many of the new inner tubes being sold for our use today are FAR more hazardous than 30-40 year old tires.
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Last edited by Marco Tahtaras; 07-28-2012 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:06 PM   #11
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Default Re: Are older tires safe

I would much rather run 40 year old tires than 10 year old tires that have been sitting around.The old Garfields,(Sears) seem to last forever.They seem to check,not crack.I really like the old Wards Riverside tires,I buy them whenever I can find them.I use old tubes too.I see people complaining about the foreign made tubes but the 15 or so I have had go bad were all very clearly marked Made in the USA.Those were all bought 5-7 years ago.I bought a set of Firestones for a customer at that time,every one of those tires cracked within the first year.The car is kept in a climate controlled garage.Right now I'm driving on a set of 40+year old Garfields,a set of 40+year old Wards Riversides,and a 15 year old set of Insas.I'm not worried about them at all.I've had blowouts on Model A's at 50+MPH before.It's not spectacular like a modern car.You get a bang,and you just blubber over to side of the road.
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:43 AM   #12
H. L. Chauvin
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Default Re: Are older tires safe

When I was a kid most service stations were still selling very common tire "boots".

After the old U.S. made tires would wear thin in one (1) spot, one would get a blow-out, i.e. about a 1-1/2" diameter hole in the tire & tube where the tube & tire exploded.

The then frugal minded Americans would place the proper size loose fitting boot inside the tire to patch the hole in the tire, & then patch the tube with a large tube patch & be on their merry way -- no complaints, it was expected.

Reinforced rubber tire boots were manufactured & sold in different sizes with carefully engineered tapered edges.

Also remember vacation traveling before interstates in the late 1940's. Get up early & 400 miles per day on gravel roads for about 12 hours, with mule drawn hay wagons galore on country farm to market roads between small towns, holding up traffic, especially in steep hill country where one could not see beyond the next hill.

In the mid & late 1940's, after WWII gas rationning ended, while on vacation, we averaged about a flat about every third day from our old tube type tires which picked up rusty nails dropped for years on roads from used chicken coop, barn, & house lumber etc., falling out of horse drawn wagons between the cracks in wagon bottoms -- many residential & farm structures were built in hard times with used lumber full of nails.

My Dad had a low bottomed (4) wheeled steel tire device with four (4) solid rubber tires where one could drive one's front or rear flat tire into this device & drive slowly to the next rural service station/grocery for tire repair -- still have this vintage factory made flat tire device -- think he said he bought it at Western Auto in the early 1940's.

Appears everybody was so happy with almost nothing back then, sharing what little we had -- not at all like today's "created" society expecting free entitlements.
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:51 AM   #13
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Default Re: Are older tires safe

H.L,
Chief had a service station in '44 & '45. When he installed a large "boot" to cover a hole, he would put another "boot" 180 degrees around to help "balance" the tire. Bill W.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:03 AM   #14
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Default Re: Are older tires safe

You will not see the real condition until you put air in them. If they look OK, they will probably be fine. If you are concerned, run them on the rear. Not anywhere as big a problem if one blows. Don't run an old tire "low". It may seem like a good idea but its not, the sidewalls heat up much more when low pressure. When I was a teenager in high school, I had an old VW bug. I ran old tires until the face wore right through. All of a sudden you would hear fsht,fsht,fsht as you were going down the road so you look for a place to pull over FAST! It would be on the rim in less than 1/4 mile, and I had to scrape for another old used tire, sure couldn't afford a new rim!
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:35 AM   #15
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Default Re: Are older tires safe

Don let me know if you don't buy them, I'm looking for a few 21" rims. I live in northern wi Pete
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:59 AM   #16
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Default Re: Are older tires safe

Quote:
Originally Posted by 29 model-a View Post
Don let me know if you don't buy them, I'm looking for a few 21" rims. I live in northern wi Pete
I did buy the set of 4 tires. They still had full air pressure. Three of them were Wards Riverside. The fourth is a "Crest-Deluxe" with no other identification. All have straight spokes and no external pitting. I feel that I got a good deal. Don/WI ps:When did Wards stop making Model "A" tires?

Last edited by Don/WI; 07-29-2012 at 11:01 AM. Reason: Added ps:
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:19 AM   #17
Marco Tahtaras
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Default Re: Are older tires safe

I would guess the Wards Riverside tires went out of production in the early 70's at the latest. I loved those tires! In my story above about my '29 Roadster, when I finally went for new tires I ordered a full set from Wards. That was 1976. When I went to pick them up at the Wards warehouse they brought them out and they were not Riverside tires but Garfields! To add insult to injury they were whitewalls!!! Even had they been black wall Garfields I would have rejected them even though the price was cheap. I HATE Garfields!!! Garfields were also sold as "Sears Allstate" tires.

That is why I ended up buying only a pair of tires at a time. I ordered Brazilian made Goodyear diamond tread tires which were very similar to the new Kelsey Goodyears. The price difference was enough to make a full set out of my budget.
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:46 PM   #18
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Default Re: Are older tires safe

It is funny how we choose to like certain tread designs. The tread design I think is the oddest is on Insa Premier tires but in fact that design is truly period correct, as is Allstate/Garfield, Firestone, Goodyear, Goodrich, and etc.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff/Illinois View Post
Bad situation and Firestone left Ford hangin' to take the rap, for THEIR sh-- tires. Combination of crap tires (typical of Firestone) and stupidity behind the wheel (soccer Mom's trying to shoot Interstate off-ramps at 75 MPH in a 4X4 SUV like they were in a Pontiac Firebird or Mustang GT or similar car resulting in a forehead slapping 'DUH' moment) and FORD gets sued. For billions of dollars that could have been used for R&D.

Once again the lawyers are the winners, and the Ford family promised that a Firestone tire would NEVER appear on a new Ford ever again. And that relationship went back to Model T days.
And what about the ford cruise control fires that continue to kill people and burnt my shop down. Who's fault is that? The soccer moms?

Last edited by Mitch//pa; 07-29-2012 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:53 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff/Illinois View Post
Bad situation and Firestone left Ford hangin' to take the rap, for THEIR sh-- tires. Combination of crap tires (typical of Firestone) and stupidity behind the wheel (soccer Mom's trying to shoot Interstate off-ramps at 75 MPH in a 4X4 SUV like they were in a Pontiac Firebird or Mustang GT or similar car resulting in a forehead slapping 'DUH' moment) and FORD gets sued. For billions of dollars that could have been used for R&D.

Once again the lawyers are the winners, and the Ford family promised that a Firestone tire would NEVER appear on a new Ford ever again. And that relationship went back to Model T days.

I for one don't put all of the blame on the tires. Seems very strange I don't recall the same exact tires having ANY problems on other SUVs of the time.
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