Peugeot 205 GT
1990 PEUGEOT 205 GT I’d never checked the age of my 205’s tyres before this summer. When I inspected it prior to buying it, I identified that the tread was at close to new levels and, being in a bit of a rush, quickly moved onto other parts of the car. I know that tyre compounds age, but perhaps I was fooled by the Peugeot’s relative modernity into thinking that its tyres wouldn’t be all that old.
Discovering that the All Party Parliamentary Group for Historic Vehicles was investigating the issue of old tyres on classic cars, however ( CCW 6 June), prompted me to check my own tyres. The markings ‘14/08’ revealed that my tyres were made in the 14th week of 2008 – almost exactly a decade ago.
This was at odds with the Pug’s MoT history, which showed regular use up until 2016, but then I remembered that my pepperpot alloys weren’t original to the car. The tyres must have been on the wheels long before the alloys made it onto my car.
The tyres seeed to have plenty of tread and there was no visible sign of degraded rubber, but I decided to replace them. Just because tyres are legal doesn’t mean that they are adequate, something I discovered last year when my Scirocco slid into a bush on tyres that were still within legal tread limits, but had clearly lost a significant amount of grip.
My new Falken ZE310s promise good grip for their mid-range price point, so I dropped the 205 off at my local garage in Cambridge, Archdeacon Motors, who had the new shoes on in a morning.
I can’t say that I’ve noticed a huge difference in the car’s handling out on the road as yet, though the slight vagueness the steering had at high speeds has been reduced a little, most likely thanks to the more supple rubber. My braking distances do feel noticeably reduced however, which tallies with tyre testing that CCW has done in the past. More than anything else, though, the car is far less likely to suffer a sudden tyre failure, which old tyres are prone to. So too, if I do meet a clump of old damp leaves midcorner again, this time, my tyres should have that extra few percentage points of grip to deal with it.
Peugeot drew plenty of compliments during its first visit to Archdeacon Motors.