Tire Sitting Time (Bad, Dry Rot, 6 Months, 30 Years, Safety)

At some point in time, you may use your car less. You may have gone for a vacation, decided to work from home, or bought a new car. If your car has been sitting in the garage for a while, you might be wondering how long it will take before the tires go bad.

So, how long can tires sit before they go bad? Tires can sit between 6 and ten years before they go bad. Tires get worn out when you drive your car often, but they can also get worse when your car sits idle for a long time or if you have stored spare tires in your garage. On your car, the tires will lose air pressure and develop flat spots, cracks, or bubbles. Spare tires might last longer when stored properly, but they will ultimately go bad.

It is common knowledge to change tires on your car after using them for several years or getting damaged. Tires are an important part of your car, and their condition will determine whether you will arrive safely to your destination.

Most car manufacturers have recommendations on when to replace tires, but you will know when to replace the tires if you have a keen eye. If your car has been sitting idle for some time, you might be wondering if the tires are still in good condition or if they have gone bad.

Tires can sit between six and ten years before they go bad. The time varies between the condition the tires were in before the car sat idle or the storage conditions. If you have been using the tires for two years and let the car sit idle, the car tires will go bad faster than the brand-new spare tires you have stored in your garage.

If your car has sat idle for several years, you need to check the tires’ health before you drive the car again. You should also store your spare tires properly to avoid damaging them before you use them.

Tires are made from rubber, and this material does not have an unlimited shelf life. Whether you drive your car or not, the tire will age as years go by, most likely after six years. When you let the car sit idle for some time or store the spare tires in your garage, you have to pay attention to their condition.

You should check for any signs of deterioration such as warping, cracks, low pressure, rotting, flat spots, and bumps, among others. Before you drive your car again or use a spare tire that has been stored for more than six years, check if the tire is in perfect condition. Do not attempt to drive a car with bad tires because you will be putting your life, the lives of your passengers, and other road users at risk.

You should note that, in the United States, some states will require a vehicle owner to submit their car for an annual inspection to ensure it is roadworthy. To pass the inspection, one of the things they will check on your car is the condition of your tires.

If your tires are bad, your car will not pass the inspection, and you have to change the tires. For example, if you live in the state of Pennsylvania, the minimum tread depth of your tires should be 2/32 of an inch. Therefore, if you live in a state that has an annual vehicle inspection, ensure you check the condition of your tires if they have sat for a long time before taking your car for the inspection. 

How Long Can a Car Sit Before the Tires Dry Rot?

Dry rot happens to a tire when it loses its moisture and becomes hard and brittle. Your tires become hard and brittle when you do not use your car or store your spare tires poorly. If you want to stop using your car for some time, you might wonder how long it would sit before the dry rot.

A car can sit for up to three months before the tires begin to dry rot. The tires will dry rot if your car has been stationary for three or more months. There are oils in the rubber, and they need downward pressure to be activated. The downward pressure is only activated when you are driving your car, and when the oils are activated, they will prevent the moisture in your tire from escaping. You should note that dry rot not only affects the tires on your car, but it can also affect brand-new tires stored in your garage if you store them poorly.

Situations may arise where you might not need your car for several months, and you might be concerned if the car will be in good condition when you drive it again after a long time. If you are not going to use your car for more than three months, there are certain things you can do to ensure that your tires do not dry rot.

The first thing you should do is keep your car and its tires away from direct sunlight. If you have a garage, clear enough space for the car and drive it into the garage, ensuring that it is parked where direct sunlight does not reach its tires. Direct sunlight can cause the oils in the tires to leak, making the tires lose moisture much faster, leading to dry rot.

Another thing you should do is ensure the tires are clean and dry before you park your car for an extended period. Dirty or muddy tires are prone to dry rot because when the tires are drying, the moisture escapes with some of the oils, leaving your tire dry and hard.

You should use warm water and a small amount of soap to clean the tires. Do not use special tire cleaning products to clean the car before storing it. Most special tire cleaning products are designed to be rubbed into the tires when driving. If you use them to clean your tires and drive the car into your garage, your tires could dry rot much faster.

If you have parked your car for more than three months, you should consider removing all the tires. Since cars need to be mounted on hydraulic jack stands after removing the tires, getting the stands can be very expensive.

The cheapest way is to buy second-hand tires and fit them on your car. You can restore the tires after you are ready to use the car again. After removing the tires from the car, ensure that you store them properly. Place the tires in airtight bags, pump out the excess air using a vacuum sealer and keep the tires away from direct sunlight. 

What Happens If a Car Sits for 6 Months?

Due to the pandemic, most people’s schedules have changed; for instance, the need to move around a lot has reduced significantly. If you were using your car to go to work and now you have to work from home, your car will be idle for a long period. Here is what would happen if your car sits for six months.

If a car sits for six months, some of the things that would happen include the battery dying, tires losing air pressure, tires dry rotting, the brakes could rust, the fuel pump could break, the fuel tank could rust, the vehicle could sustain exterior damage, and it could become infested by pests.

All these could make your car undrivable, and it could cost you a lot of money to bring the car up to usable standards. You should take precautions when you leave your car in the garage for six months or more. Let us look at some of the things you can do to help prevent your car from getting damaged after letting it sit for six months or more.

The first thing you should do is park your car in a garage or under a cover. You can also use a car wrap to protect your car from extreme weather conditions. Placing your car in a garage or under a cover will protect it from sun, rain, hail, or bird dropping that could damage the exterior of your car.

Keeping your car in a garage will also prevent pests from accessing the car. Pests such as rats and mice could enter your car and damage its delicate wiring and interior. You should also inspect your car frequently to check if insects and animals live in it.

Another thing you should do is fill up the gas tank before you park your car in the garage. A full tank of gas will prevent the fuel pump from getting damaged, and the gas will prevent air from entering the gas tank. If air enters the gas tank, it could lead to rusting, contaminating your gas, and harming your car’s engine.

You can also add a fuel system stabilizer and drive your car for about 15 miles to protect the fuel tank from rust. When you return, ensure you use up the gas in the tank as quickly as possible. You should also disconnect the battery after parking the car. Use old tires to prevent your good tires from dry rotting.

Are 30 Year Old Tires Safe?

Changing your car’s tires can be expensive, but all car manufacturers recommend that you change your tires after using them for several years. All tires have a birthday, the day they were manufactured, and will continue to age as time goes on. If you found 30-year-old tires in your garage, you might be wondering if they are safe to use.

30-year-old tires are unsafe because using old tires poses a danger to you, your passengers, and path road users. It does not matter if the tires have never been used or not; if they have been around for 30 years, you should not fit them on your car. The dangers of driving on 30-year-old tires include less grip, low and difficulty retaining air pressure, and blowout. You should avoid buying old tires no matter how good the deal is. When you go to buy tires for your car, always check the age of the tires before you purchase them.

When you buy new tires for your car, the age of the tires is one of the most important things you need to check. Unlike most parts of a car, Tires do not have an unlimited shelf life. Therefore you cannot buy them in bulk and keep them for many years and expect them to work properly.

The rubber ages as time goes on; even if the tires have never been used, their age will determine if they are safe or not. To check the age of the tires you want to buy, look at the Tire Identification Number on the side of the tire.

The last four digits will indicate the week the tire was manufactured and the year. For example, tires manufactured after 2000 have the tire identification format “DOT U2LL LMRL 2703.” “51” means the tire was manufactured in the 27th   week, and “07” means the tire was manufactured in 2003.  

Tires will age whether you use them or not, and stored tires will get damaged quickly if you store them incorrectly and fail to use them within six or ten years. When you store tires in your garage, the exposure to oxygen will make them hard and less flexible, leading to cracks. The oils in the tires will also stay inactive, failing to lubricate the tires leading to dry rotting. When you install 30-year-old tires on your car, disaster will happen sooner or later.

Wrap Up

Tires can go back if you do not use them, misuse them, or store them poorly. If you have several spare tires, you need to store them away from excess air, humidity, high temperature, and direct sunlight. If you are not going to use your car for a long time, you should buy used tires, remove the good tires and install the old used tires on your car.

Store the good tires perfectly to avoid dry rotting. You should also disconnect the battery, cover your car or park it in your garage, store it with a full tank of gas, and clean it thoroughly to avoid attracting critters. Finally, you should never use 30-year-old tires on your tires, no matter how brand new they look.

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