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Original OEM Tires - keep them?


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Question, we own a 1998 Mercedes Benz SL500.  Only driven in the summers and has 11,311 original miles.  The car has the original Pirelli P6000 tires.  We are replacing them this year and I was curious if in the car collection world there is any value to keeping the original tires?  Any and all comments are welcome.

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If you are going to keep it for a future collectible and continue to drive it sparingly maybe.  You have a couple of years to go until it reaches the 25 year mark.  Besides the tires you have probably changed other things under the hood that won’t have 1998 date codes on them.  The dilemma of having a low mileage car is not driving it and hoping that adds value down the road or enjoying it now and not be concerned about future resale value.

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Posted (edited)

Couple thoughts:

- Tires on the car are +/-23 years old = far beyond safe-to-use. About 15 years beyond.

- Tires on the car have 11K+ miles on them = far from having any “collectible” value. If they were new/unused or very near so, they COULD have some(?) value beyond sentimental, but finding someone to appreciate, let alone pay for either MIGHT be difficult, if not impossible.

 

One of my clients 15 year old, sparingly driven, ($250K) sports car just last year had a blowout on one of its +/-3000 miles since new original tires at moderate highway speed. Car swapped ends and due to resulting impact (against K-rails), got totaled.

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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The only thng those old tires are good for is being displayed in those metal tire holders that tire stores used in the old days, now reproduced and sold by Coker Tire.  That takes car of one of four, any other ideas?

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36 minutes ago, Paul Dobbin said:

That takes car of one of four, any other ideas?

 

Used to be they would  go on the slash burn pile. 

Don't often see the black smoke anymore.

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, JACK M said:

 

Used to be they would  go on the slash burn pile. 

Don't often see the black smoke anymore.

And with the advent of steel belted radials, re-purposing/-use of old tires became less cost-effective or practical, especially if/when cutting or grinding them is necessary.

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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22 minutes ago, JACK M said:

 

Used to be they would  go on the slash burn pile. 

Don't often see the black smoke anymore.

I've been told that tires don't make any smoke if you burn them at night. 😁

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I consider tires in the same sentimental category as used oil, old coolant and dead batteries.  Normal wear items that must be replaced regularly for reliability and safety. 

I have purchased cars in the past that still had their original, unused spare in the trunk.  I found them interesting for about one minute then tossed them in the trash where they belonged in order to have a useable spare in its place.

I find I already have enough junk collecting dust in my garage without saving old TBA items.  When I finally go for my dirt nap, some heirs may argue over my vehicles but no one is going to say "Dibs on those 40 year old tires!"

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Original tires seem to be one of those things everyone feels like they should save "for the next owner." Of course, the next owner doesn't want them, but now he also feels obligated to save them "for the next owner." And so it goes, each owner dutifully saving something completely worthless for an unknown future person who might actually want them but who in reality doesn't even exist.

 

Trash 'em.

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Posted (edited)

 Are "ooold} tires really bad?

 I have "new" tires that came with my car that are 30 years old and never been driven. They have been in a dark garage for ever.

 I understand that late model tires have a "weaker" rubber content that does not stick to the steel ply's and that is why they are recommended to be changed in 6 years.

 It the same fault inherent in older non steel tires?

 I hardly ever drive on the highway, only slow city driving . The tires hardly even get warm.

 What is your expert opinion, not what "they" say?

Edited by Roger Walling (see edit history)
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7 minutes ago, Roger Walling said:

 Are "ooold} tires really bad?

 I have "new" tires that came with my car that are 30 years old and never been driven. They have been in a dark garage for ever.

 I understand that late model tires have a "weaker" rubber content that does not stick to the steel ply's and that is why they are recommended to be changed in 6 years.

 It the same fault inherent in older non steel tires?

 I hardly ever drive on the highway, only slow city driving . The tires hardly even get warm.

 What is your expert opinion, not what "they" say?

 

Here's how I look at it: It's a gamble. There's no guarantee that old tires will fail (but it's much more likely) and there's no guarantee that new tires will not fail (but it's much less likely). By buying new tires, you can skew the odds in your favor and reduce your chances of a problem, catastrophic or otherwise. A flat tire can be an annoyance if it happens in the garage and deadly if it happens at 60 MPH in an old car. Tires are the single most important safety device on your car. You'd fix the brakes if they were failing, right? You'd fix a fuel leak, right? Why is this different? It's safety and you can improve your safety markedly with new tires. It's a sure bet.

 

There are plenty of anecdotes about guys driving around on ancient tires without incident. Correlation isn't causation, however, and they're simply skating along beating the odds. For now. But the one thing I know for certain is that the house always wins. Drive enough on old tires and you WILL have a problem. Drive a little and maybe that day is still a long way off. Or maybe your number is up tomorrow. No way to know.

 

All I know for certain is that if my car is in a steaming, twisted heap by the side of the road because of an old tire, I will have deep regrets over not spending the few hundred bucks to prevent it.

 

Now imagine someone got hurt...

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1 hour ago, Roger Walling said:

...

 I understand that late model tires have a "weaker" rubber content that does not stick to the steel ply's and that is why they are recommended to be changed in 6 years.

 It the same fault inherent in older non steel tires?

...

 What is your expert opinion, not what "they" say?

 Does anyone have facts on the question that I asked? on how "old" tires are different than new ones regarding tread separation?

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If the tire is so ancient or so unusual that it immediately appears different even to a layperson, AND you have a ton of storage space for all the cool old stuff you want to display, then perhaps an old tire may find its place among old oil cans and tin signs and other such junk. But that would probably be in a museum rather than your own garage. And it will be the first thing to get tossed whenever the collection needs to be downsized, because nobody will ever really find it all that interesting, valuable or compelling in any way. If it looks more or less like a current tire, then there's absolutely no point in saving it.  Actually using such old tires isn't even worth discussing, just no. Maybe if you need an extra set of rollers in your paint shop. 

 

Whenever I feel bad about tossing useless old junk, I take a few photos of it, especially any lettering/nomenclature and close-ups of any remotely interesting detail. If you think you might ever need such reference, digital pics are much easier to store than the object itself. 

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Posted (edited)

Because of the factors contributing to the deterioration of tires in the outside world, manufacturers add specific additives which protect the rubber from things like sunlight and ozone. However, given rubber's composition and the fact that there's pressurized air on the inside of the tire, those additives will naturally "wander" to the outside of the tire. This is usually OK because the additives form a protective layer. If the tires are exposed to prolonged sunlight, ozone, moisture, or simply the air inside them, this protective layer is consumed and eventually the rubber will be attacked. As this protective layer deteriorates, the rubber underneath oxidizes, forming hydroxides. These will then split the long chains of molecules (polyisoprene chains for natural rubber, which are created during the vulcanization process by blending rubber and sulphur at high temperatures and pressures) that give rubber its high elasticity, or form new cross-links between molecules, thereby making the rubber harder and less cohesive. This is commonly referred to as "dry rot" and exhibits as cracking, delamination, and chunking as the hardened rubber fractures along the cross-linked chains of shorter molecules. Heat, UV radiation, and storage under tension or compression accelerate the oxidation process, and it essentially continues until all the rubber has reacted with the sulphur used in the vulcanization process, at which point the rubber becomes hard, brittle, and able to be shattered by impact.

 

Here's more reading, specifically the last section regarding ozone cracking of elastomeres: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozonolysis

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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  • Peter Gariepy changed the title to Original OEM Tires - keep them?
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Roger Walling said:

 Are "ooold} tires really bad?

 I have "new" tires that came with my car that are 30 years old and never been driven. They have been in a dark garage for ever.

 I understand that late model tires have a "weaker" rubber content that does not stick to the steel ply's and that is why they are recommended to be changed in 6 years.

 It the same fault inherent in older non steel tires?

 I hardly ever drive on the highway, only slow city driving . The tires hardly even get warm.

 What is your expert opinion, not what "they" say?

Just out of curiosity, do you or have you ever driven vintage cars extensively.

In past 4+ decades I've driven few hundred thousand miles between several dozen different cars ranging from late '20s to mid '70s and have experienced numerous mechanical/technical problems, including tire failures, with them. 

I refuse to drive or ride in any car, modern or vintage, with tires older than 10 years of their DOM. 

But then again, I'm a consummate (vintage) car guy who also takes safety, not only my own, but that of other road users, seriously. 

 

Also, see below:

6 hours ago, TTR said:

... 15 year old, ... ... +/-3000 miles since new original tires at moderate highway speed. Car... ... got totaled.

 

 

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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5 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

Original tires seem to be one of those things everyone feels like they should save "for the next owner." Of course, the next owner doesn't want them, but now he also feels obligated to save them "for the next owner." And so it goes, each owner dutifully saving something completely worthless for an unknown future person who might actually want them but who in reality doesn't even exist.

 

Trash 'em.

   It seems that these kind of saved items find the dump when we move.   Another good reaspn to move periodically.

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Posted (edited)

I wouldn't dare drive a car with tires that old, no matter how the car was stored.

When I took possession of my Pierce, the tires were of unknown age.

There was a mysterious death wobble that would pop up from time to time above 35mph or so when you hit a decent bump. It wouldn't do it all the time, just once in a while.

Thorough front end inspection revealed the king pins to be in good shape, all steering linkage was solid and front wheel bearings were tight but were repacked.

Replaced the tires and did a front end alignment and that cured the death wobble.

It could have been way out of alignment or it could have been the hard as a rock old tires.

Either way, the car drives fine now at any speed and over any road surface.

 

Tires are so inexpensive, compared to the rest of the car or getting someone hurt, that is it foolish not to replace old tires.

 

BTW - the tires on my Rickenbacker have seen no more than 500 miles in the last 10 years due to various issues that have cropped up.  A lot had to do with repairing/sourcing another water pump.

I will not drive the car without having the tires replaced.  The old ones will make great rollers for someone's project.

Edited by zepher (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

Full disclosure:

About 10 years ago a friend asked if I still had some of the quite unusual size (and quality) radial tires I had purchased several sets 20 or so years earlier to use in some of my 1950's cars at the the time. Well, I found six slightly used ones tucked away in my storage and told him he could have them if he hauled them off, which he did and I was happy to just get rid of them, but couple of weeks later he came by again, handed me $600.00 in cash and told me he sold them to someone else for $100.-/each.

IIRC, I had paid around $60.00/each when they were new/unused 20 years earlier and they weren’t even OEM tires for the cars I bought them to use on.

Go figure.

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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