Tire Life

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by Bob Zambelli, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. Bob Zambelli

    Bob Zambelli F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 3, 2003
    Manning, SC
    Full Name:
    Robert G. Zambelli
    I've heard many different opinions on tire life.
    How long should tires be on a car before they become unsafe?
    Do they deteriorate from the inside?
    I know a fellow with a Testarossa (first year of production) and he's proud of the fact that it still has the original tires - TRX as I recall.
    I'm not sure but I think it has less than 10,000 miles.
    He rarely drives the car but when he does, he really drives it hard.
    Is he living on borrowed time?

    I'm no tire expert but I'm sure a few of you are.

    So, let's hear some opinions and/or facts.
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  3. miurasv

    miurasv F1 Veteran

    Nov 19, 2008
    Cardiff, UK
    Full Name:
    Steven Robertson
    Tires do degrade with time. I always thought tires should be replaced at 6 years age max but the article in the Edmunds link states between 6 and up to 10 years as recommended by Michelin and Continental with a yearly inspection after 5 years. Yes, your friend is risking his life and the lives of others if he drives a Testarossa hard on its original tires.

    See here: How Old - and Dangerous - Are Your Tires?
  4. Motob

    Motob Formula 3
    Professional Ferrari Technician

    Nov 11, 2003
    Berkeley, CA
    Full Name:
    Brian Brown
    He is asking for trouble. Other than cracks in the rubber from age, the rubber gets so hard that it no longer has any grip. The carcass of the tires also get flat spots from sitting and no amount of driving can make them round again. Old tires can be great for show, but if you drive the car in a sporting manner, then you are asking for trouble. It is not worth wrecking a car for the cost of four new tires. Also tire technology and tread rubber compounds are constantly improving, so modern new tires grip much better than new tires of the old days.
  5. readplays

    readplays Formula 3

    Aug 22, 2008
    New York City
    Full Name:
    Dave Powers
    I will echo Steve and Brian. He's playing russian roulette but including his car, any passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, etc.

    I'm not sure where he's getting his information from but what your description of what he's doing is a recipe for disaster.
  6. donv

    donv Two Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Jan 5, 2002
    Portland, Oregon
    Full Name:
    I use 8-10 years for my collector car tires.
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  8. Daytonafan

    Daytonafan F1 Rookie

    Oct 18, 2003
    Surrey, England
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  9. TTR

    TTR F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Mar 29, 2007
    Riverside, CA
    Full Name:
    "A rule of thumb" I've been offering ("preaching") over 30 years about tires to all clients, friend or any one who might care about safety of their car(s) and/or safety of others they encounter while driving on public roads (if they only themselves get hurt, it's deserved) :

    Some "new" tires, especially models/sizes not in constant demand like those for older/vintage cars could've been sitting in some warehouse for years before you buy them.

    Other "replace by" safety related requirements I insist on, whether the car is driven or not, to be performed in 10 YEARS or less :

    COMPLETE BRAKE SERVICE, which must include following: replace fluids, all hoses and rubber components like piston cups/seals, dust seals, etc, service or replace other components like calipers/cylinders, valves, hard lines, etc.

    COMPLETE FUEL DELIVERY SYSTEM SERVICE, from filler cap to engine, including replacement of all filters, gaskets, hoses, seals, etc, and thorough service of carbs/injectors, pumps, etc.

    Not keeping up with these is not only stupid, but shows car owners disrespect for the car and SAFETY OF OTHERS they may encounter while driving it.

    Replacement of all other hoses, like coolant, heater, vacuum, etc and any other chassis or running gear related rubber seal or gasket is also advisable "while you're at it".

    Rant over.
  10. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
    Austin TX
    Full Name:
    Brian Crall
    I can tell you from personal experience in Testarossa's with OE tires not even that old, he is risking lives. The car will not stop.
    Sure he can adjust his driving style to the rock hard tires but if a driving situation arises that requires a quick stop he will not be able to do it. He is risking the lives of others and is very irresponsible.
  11. TTR

    TTR F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Mar 29, 2007
    Riverside, CA
    Full Name:
    Apparently I wasn't quite done yet ;-) and wish to offer some food for thought:

    Years ago, some one more experienced and wiser than I can ever hope to be made comment regarding motor vehicle tires that they are one of the least expensive replacement components when you take into consideration the amount of constant "abuse, beating, wear and tear" they're subjected to for thousands upon thousands of miles.
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  13. swift53

    swift53 F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Nov 17, 2007
    Full Name:
    One morning I found one of my tires flat, it was a 5 year old tire. Religiously kept tire pressures correct.
    Wrongly, I assumed it was just that, a flat. It had burst.

    Caveat emptor, $ vs life, and at least lots of car damage.

    Regards, Alberto
  14. Bob Zambelli

    Bob Zambelli F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 3, 2003
    Manning, SC
    Full Name:
    Robert G. Zambelli
    Seems like the guy sold the Testarossa few years ago.
    Hopefully the new owner was smart enough to fit new tires.

    Are TRX even still available?

    I had a ten year old Continental explode on my ALFA.
    Interesting as there was no sign of dry rot inside or outside.
    I was driving around 50 MPH.

    Bob Z.
  15. GTS Bruce

    GTS Bruce Pisses in your Cheerios

    Oct 10, 2012
    Orchard Park NY
    Full Name:
    Bruce Roche
    I go a maximum of 6 years. At the 5 year age doing a proper coating with Track Claw gives them back some grip. However no comparison to a new set of tires. Always amazes me the difference in grip etc between new tires and 5-6 year old tires even though they have been soaked for a little more life. GTS Bruce
  16. 166&456

    166&456 Formula 3

    Jul 13, 2010
    #13 166&456, Nov 6, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016
    As a rule of thumb, 6-10 years is a good interval. Shorter if the tires had more UV exposure, hard use, etc, or simply lose their grip prematurely. An older tire isn't necessarily unsafe, it depends on tire brand and type as well as age. I have had 3 year old wintertires with less grip than 15 year old summertires.
    Significant curb or other impact damage should trigger replacement, a common cause of blowouts. Damage often invisible but still there.

    15 years is the limit for me, especially with Michelins.

    Timo: the brake/fuel system service, I put the bar at 15 years and only for pressurised/pressurising components. Fuel tank gaskets etc can easily last decades, and disturbing/working on them can also be a source of risk. That does not include 456 and 550 fuel pump basket rubbers. :)
  17. Longstone Tyres

    Longstone Tyres Formula 3

    Feb 2, 2006
    Full Name:
    I would suggest that at 6 years old the rubber compounds are deteriorating and not working as well. At 10 years old i would suggest they are seriously deteriorating.

    there are a few factors which speed up or slow down this process. from when the tyre is first driven on it starts to deteriorate quicher than when it is stored in a depo because the protective coating is lost.


    sun light.

    heat cycles.


    they can we have had a tyre where the bead wire had ruusted and then snapped.

    I supppose it would ne nice to have a spare sset of wheels and keep the sset in the corner of your garage just to be able to extra original. However don't drive on them!!!!!!

    The rear Michelin TRX tyre for the Testarossa may never be made again. The last time i was talking to the chaps at Michelin they said there is a very good chance this tyre is finished because it is so expensive and importantly time consuming to make. We do however have the front TRX and the 16" tyres here Ferrari Testarossa | Longstone Tyres

    I don't like to be a panic monger so lets just say he is taking massive unessesary risks. the whet grip will be particularly bad. and there is the risk of a complete blow out.
  18. Bob Zambelli

    Bob Zambelli F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 3, 2003
    Manning, SC
    Full Name:
    Robert G. Zambelli
    Thanks for all the interesting replies.
    I truly hope that many people read this and heed the advice.
    When I lived in upstate NY, many people would put their special cars up for the winter to avoid the hideous road salt. Because of this, there were a great many cars that only spent a part of the year on the road. So, people would have a ten or fifteen year old car with low miles but still riding on the original tires - NOT GOOD!

    THANKS AGAIN for all the replies.
    Hopefully, we'll keep this thread alive for good safety information.

    Bob Z.
  19. Four7EightBHP

    Four7EightBHP Formula Junior

    Feb 20, 2005
    USA - Colorado
    Just had my tires changed at Ferrari of Denver even though there was lots of tread. The date code showed they had just tipped over into being six years old. In the highly unlikely event of an incident, I would want to be sure the insurer knew the tires were within recommended guidelines.
  20. Longstone Tyres

    Longstone Tyres Formula 3

    Feb 2, 2006
    Full Name:
    It has prompted me to go and look at the dates of relavent tyres we have on the shelf today which are in good shape.

    165HR400 Cinturaato CA67 early cars 13th week of 2016

    185VR16 Pirelli Cinturato CA67 1950's cars and some early '60s 21st week of 2016

    185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato CA67 1960's 250 cars 30th week of 2016

    205/70VR15 Cinturato CN12 13th week of 2016 & 205/70VR15 Michelin XWX 38th week of 2016. 205/70VR15 is not actually a Ferrari tyre however i often see cars like Ferrari 250 GT SWB & Ferrari 250 GTE that did originally fit the 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato choose to fit a later more modern wider tyre such as the 205/70VR15 where 70 profile tyres didn't come out till 1968. And the XWX being a late '60s tyre and CN12 being 1971 are the only genuine tyres that are really suitable.

    205VR15 Pirelli Cinturato CN72 cars on 15" wheels from 1964 - 1972 (ish) 29th week of 2016

    205VR14 Michelin XWX 14" wheeled cars of the '60s Ferrari 275 GTB , Ferrari 330 GTC , Ferrari 330 GTS we do still have some of the 2015 tyres left and then we are into 16th week of 2016 date codes.

    215/70VR15 Michelin XWX 24th week of 2016 or 215/70VR15 Pirelli CN12 Cinturato 20th week of 2016

    205/70VR14 Pirelli Cinturato CN36 31st week of 2016 & 205/70Vr14 Michelin XWX 38th week of 2016

    Admittedly the 225/70VR15 XWX is 2015, however i am glad this subject was raised while my stocks are in such good condition. don't get me wrong; our stocks are always in good condition we are very keen to maintain a FIFO system and be careful of our stock levels. However currently Michelin and Pirelli are firing on all cylinders and to maintain a stock level of such extraordinary low volume tyres where they are predominantly under a year old is pretty good and i am glad of the opportunity to show off.

    While i am blatantly showing off i could point out some more good news that we have brought about for vintage Ferrari owners.

    Historically occasionally Pirelli made the odd batch of 185VR16 & 165HR400 Cinturato CA67 tyres for the '50s cars. However since we developed our relationship with Pirelli and have been able to feed them the right information to make the range viable, it has very much developed specially with regard to Vintage Ferrari owners. We now have the 185VR15 CA67 Which was original equipment on 250 cars such as the GT Lusso, 250 GTE, Series 2 250 GT Cabriolet, 250 GT SWB, (I also wonder if it was a road option for the GTO, we have certainly sold it to some) It is the only genuine V rated '60s tyre in the size 185VR15.

    Another breakthrough was the reintroduction of the 205VR15 Cinturato CN72, which came out in 1964, and was the biggest tyre anyone had managed to produce that could withstand the power that the Ferrari's were making in those days. fascinating for a tyre bore like me, because if you look at the tyre fitment of the top car manufacturers of this period they all moved from 16" wheels to 15" and in the second half of t he '60s Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Maserati, ISO & Rolls Royce were fitting 205VR15 tyres. Untill Pirelli made this tyre again you would see lots of the Ferrari's and Maserati's between 1964 and the 1970's were fitting 215/70VR15 tyres that are about an inch smaller in diameter, and just didn't look quite right.

    At the end of the '60s beginnig of he '70s when low profile tyres were takeing hold these cars generally moved onto 215/70VR15, and we now have aa choice of W rated period performance tyres, as we now do with the Dino tyre 205/70VR14.

    On the subject of pricing, my view is that i can justify the prices till i am blue in the face, but it will not take away from the fact that a set of high performance tyres made in small batches by the worlds best tyre manufacturers just adds up to the sort of sum nobody likes to see on their credit card statement. However just a little reference i stumbled across recently is that when i was first doing this, the 185VR16 Pirelli Cinturato (the only proper V rated tyre for your early cars) cost £ 235 + UK VAT and now we are retailing them for £ 239 + VAT.

    My apologies for all my showing off and i hope i haven't bored you all too much. If you spot any mistakes on my web sites please let me know

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