WEARY OLDTIMERS

4 x 4 Australia - - Gear -

EVEN though the min­i­mum le­gal tread depth is 1.5mm, grip re­duces when tyres get down to 3mm. You’re more likely to get a punc­ture when this hap­pens, es­pe­cially when off-road.

If you’re about to go on a big trip, then a fresh set of tyres is ul­ti­mately a cheap form of in­sur­ance – even though most 4x4 tyres aren’t ex­actly cheap. You’ll have the bet­ter tyre grip and a much bet­ter chance of avoid­ing punc­tures.

Most tyre man­u­fac­tur­ers rec­om­mend that any tyre more than six years old should be re­placed, ir­re­spec­tive of how much tread it has. So that never-used spare sit­ting on the back of your 4WD for the past 10 years isn’t go­ing to be much use. Rub­ber de­grades (as does the tyre’s steel re­in­force­ment), es­pe­cially when out in the el­e­ments, so the risk of a blow-out is very high af­ter about six years. Rub­ber hard­ens on old tyres, too, which you will find out the hard way the next time you drive in the rain.

Most tyres have a four-digit pro­duc­tion date stamp on the side­wall. The first two dig­its rep­re­sent the week of the year they were pro­duced and the last two dig­its rep­re­sent the cal­en­dar year. So the fig­ure ‘4210’ on a tyre means that it was made in the 42nd week of 2010. If the side­walls or tread area has small cracks show­ing, then the tyres should be thrown away.

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