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Shocking advice from the RAC

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Not Lexus related but may be of interest.

I recently had to call out the RAC because of a flat tyre on my wife's new 2008 nissan note. The guy advised that the seal between the tyre and the rim was bad and that it needed to be filed down a bit, which any tyre shop could do. He then fitted the space-saver wheel to the car so I could drive it to the tyre shop. When he was done I asked about the condition of the tyre on the spare wheel and he made some comments about the tread depth, and I specifically asked about the *age* of the tyre. He told me not to worry about it and advised that it shouldn't be driven at more than 50mph.

After he'd left I checked the DOT code on the tyre and discovered it was 2008 - so the original tyre. So the RAC have advised me that it's safe to drive at 50mph on a 17yo tyre.

I have raised a complaint requesting that they educate their drivers better, but this is scary given that most people don't even know that old tyres are dangerous and just think that if the tread looks ok then you're fine.

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I'm assuming the space saver was housed under the floor in the load area, protected from UV light?

In which case there will be minimal deterioration surely?

 

(Wouldn't it be an 11yr old tyre?)

  • Haha 1

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Isn't it your car and your responsibility? And Nemesis is correct re ultraviolet light - heat cycles also age tyres.

If tyres were unsafe beyond a date they'd have a use by date. You should be more careful beyond 5 or 6 years and go by condition/appearance etc and change based on observation. Crazing, cracking etc.

I have written to the RAC asking that they educate their members "better". :naughty: 

 

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Hmm you're right that my maths is out lol, but 11 years is in my opinion still older than I'd want to risk.

Suppose you are right and that there is minimal deterioration because of the lack of UV light. How long are you going to assume the tyre is good for? 10 years? 20? Forever? I'm fairly sure that rubber will deteriorate eventually even in the absence of exposure to UV. Also it's not just UV that deteriorates rubber, heat is a factor as well and probably many other things.

The reason that old tyres can be so dangerous is that they often look fine from the outside. So you've no way of really knowing for certain when a tyre may be unsafe to use, which is why there's a general consensus somewhere around 6 years being the safe limit for tyres installed on a car.

A new spacesaver tyre for this car cost me £67 and if I assume it's good for 6 years that's a lifetime cost of £11.17/year. Do you really want to take the risk of a tyre potentially coming apart at 50mph, causing a fatal accident killing yourself or others, to save £11.17/year? That risk/reward ratio doesn't stack up for me.

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