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In February 2008, the owner of a 1998 Ford Explorer in Georgia needed a new tire for his SUV and ended up buying a used one.
If you drive a typical number of miles, somewhere around 12,000-15,000 miles annually, a tire's tread will wear out in three to four years, long before the rubber compound does.But if you only drive 6,000 miles a year, or have a car that you only drive on weekends, aging tires could be an issue.The age warning also applies to spare tires and "new" tires that have never been used but are old. Sean Kane, president of Safety Research & Strategies, Inc., compares an aging tire to an old rubber band."If you take a rubber band that's been sitting around a long time and stretch it, you will start to see cracks in the rubber," says Kane, whose organization is involved in research, analysis and advocacy on safety matters for the public and clients including attorneys, engineering firms, supplier companies, media and government.That's essentially what happens to a tire that's put on a vehicle and driven. They may appear on the surface and inside the tire as well.
This cracking can eventually cause the steel belts in the tread to separate from the rest of the tire.