Things to know about the age of your tyres | Continental tyres

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Replacing tyres

Replacing a tyre

When to replace a tyre?

The answer depends on various factors, such as your driving style, the tread design of the tyre, regional climate, road conditions and how frequently the car is in use. Another factor is you, the driver. Just like the rest of the vehicle, you have an essential role in the care and maintenance of the tyres on your wheels as they will last longer the better you look after them. You’re also responsible for deciding when it’s time to replace worn tyres with new tyres and it is crucial you replace tyres when your tread is below the legal limit of 1.6mm.


How to check your car tyres

Road safety professionals say a regular tyre check is something every driver should do. We have produced this helpful how to video where motoring expert and TV presenter Jonny Smith reveals how to perform a simple tyre check. 

Fast Facts

  • You must replace tyres when the tread depth falls below 1.6 mm, which is the legal limit. Please consider that safe driving in wet and snowy weather conditions is affected by the tread depth, the pattern design and the rubber compound of the tread of your tyres.
  • On wet or snow-covered roads braking performance will progressively decline with lower tread depths. On wet roads there is an additional increased risk of aquaplaning with reduced tread depths. Therefore, check your tyres regularly, reduce your speed on wet and snowy roads and consider replacing your tyres in good time.
  • All tyres (including spare tyres) more than ten years old should be removed from service and replaced with new tyres.
  • Verify the physical age of any car tyre by examining the markings on the tyre sidewall following the “DOT” symbol.

Taking care of tyres to extend their life

To avoid having to buy replacement tyres prematurely, things to consider include:

  • Checking tyre pressure regularly
  • Rotating evenly between the rear and front tyres, left and right depending on tread pattern
  • Maintaining correct wheel and axle alignment
  • Checking tread wear (1.6mm is the legal limit)
  • Inspecting tyres for visible wear or damage
  • Paying attention to ride quality while driving
Discover more about tyre care and maintenance

Checking for tyre age

How to check your tyre age? You can calculate the physical age of any car tyre by examining the markings on the tyre sidewall following the “DOT” lettering:

  • The last four numbers denote the fabrication date of the tyre to the nearest week.
  • The first pair of these four numbers identifies the date of manufacture down to the nearest week (ranging from “01” to “53”).
  • The last pair of numbers specifies the year of manufacture.

For example, a tyre with XXXXXXX2720 after the DOT lettering has a manufacture date in the 27th week of 2020.

Discover more about tyre age

How many years will tyres last?

We are not aware of any technical data to support the removal from service of tyres past a specific age. But the same principle applies to the tyres of your vehicle as for any other part of your car – age matters.

Together with other organisations in the tyre and automotive industries, we advise that all tyres (including spare tyres) made more than ten years ago should be removed from service and replaced with new tyres.

You should follow this advice even if:

  • The tyres seem to be in good condition and appear usable based on their external appearance;
  • The wear to the tread has not passed the minimum legal limit.

In short, even though a tyre over ten years old may seem fine for driving, we still recommend getting new tyres for your car. Drivers cannot rely on visual inspection for rubber cracking, wear to the tread or other signs of deterioration due to age. While tyres may appear perfectly functional, their age is a factor for replacement.

Some vehicle manufacturers may recommend a different chronological age at which to replace a tyre. Such guidance comes from their understanding of the specific vehicle application; We recommend that drivers pay heed to these instructions.

In any case, most tyres will likely need replacement for worn treads or for other reasons before any recommended removal period. At the same time, a stated removal period in no way alleviates the driver’s responsibility to replace worn tyres when necessary.

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