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shelf life of tires

Old 05-27-14, 09:33 PM
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CandyDarling
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shelf life of tires

I bought a bunch of new tires about three years ago in contemplation of some heavy duty riding. Little did I know that I was going to suffer a health setback and not be able to ride for almost three years. I still have all of the tires. I just wondered if their condition will have deteriorated over time, and whether they will be a safety issue if I load up my Surly with groceries or decide to go on an expedition??

They have been stored in a storage unit and then a cargo trailer. They have not been wet.

Four of the tires are evolution schwalbe marathon supreme 26 x 2.0 [puncture resistant etc.]

Four Amarillo 700 puncture resistance tires [don't know any other specs on them--they are for a bike that somebody gave me and it is not as important as my main bikes].

And then of course I have about a dozen tubes that have been sitting around in the same storage as the tires. Some are self-sealing nashbar tubes etc., and others are just regular tubes.

Any insights will be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 05-27-14, 09:48 PM
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Heat is the enemy, so if in a storage unit in the sun they will have aged faster than if kept in a cool place. OTOH, 3 years isn't that long, and many of have tires in service longer than that.

If they look and feel OK, odds are they are. In any case the body plies have longer lives than the tread rubber, so there's no reason not to try them. On the bright side, aging makes the rubber tougher, and older tires are often less prone to nicks and cuts. Many users of quality tubulars age their tires a year or two before using.
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Old 05-27-14, 10:00 PM
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You might check to see if the self-sealing tubes have an expiration date (sometimes the sealant goes bad with age). Otherwise, as FB says, your stock should be fine.
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Old 05-27-14, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Heat is the enemy, so if in a storage unit in the sun they will have aged faster than if kept in a cool place. OTOH, 3 years isn't that long, and many of have tires in service longer than that.

If they look and feel OK, odds are they are. In any case the body plies have longer lives than the tread rubber, so there's no reason not to try them. On the bright side, aging makes the rubber tougher, and older tires are often less prone to nicks and cuts. Many users of quality tubulars age their tires a year or two before using.
Francis- i had read that this "aging" of tires wasn't beneficial with "modern rubber". And i read this a few decades ago. Something about the differences in rubber's chemistry, oxidation and stuff.

Like you i am a child of the 1970/1960s. The stories of Eddy storing his tires for a few years before their use was just part of the mystic we bought into. But as the narrow high pressure clincher took over (from sew ups) mainstream media seemed to move away from the old school view of tire aging.

I don't really know what is true and what is myth when it comes to this topic. I do have a bunch of NOS tires on my shelf (Avocet Fastgrips, IRC tandem specific to mention a couple kinds) but these were bought and stored not with the promise of future improved performance but of future unavailability. Andy.
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Old 05-27-14, 11:24 PM
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A big enemy of tires, and other rubber-type compounds, is UV. Ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. So if you are planning on storing tires for an extended period, make it a darkened place away from sunlight.
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Old 05-28-14, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Panthers007 View Post
A big enemy of tires, and other rubber-type compounds, is UV. Ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. So if you are planning on storing tires for an extended period, make it a darkened place away from sunlight.
Another is ozone (O3) produced from oxygen in the air by electric sparks. So also keep the tires away from any electric motors or other spark-producing devices.

But it sounds like the OPs tires were kept out of direct sunlight and electric motors, so I'd expect them to still be good to use. Wouldn't hurt to give them a good inspection though after inflating them to their max. rated pressure.
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Old 05-28-14, 02:51 AM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
Another is ozone (O3) produced from oxygen in the air by electric sparks. So also keep the tires away from any electric motors or other spark-producing devices.....

.
Right you are!

One other warning here - ArmourAll (or however you spell it). Some people believe the ads and apply it willie-nillie to all sorts of things. But it's advertised for "...making rubber look brand new!" Sure it does that. But it also causes premature aging of the rubber, and consequential cracking and failure. So I advise staying clear of it.
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Old 05-28-14, 04:23 AM
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CandyDarling, I've bought extra tires for my crit and mountain bike when I learned Continental was discontinuing production of their models. I'm now on my last set of each about 12 years later. Hopefully you'll have as good luck with yours.

Brad
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Old 05-28-14, 10:00 AM
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Recently installed a set of NOS 1992 Tioga Wonder Dawgs on a bike I built. No problems at all.
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Old 05-28-14, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Panthers007 View Post
A big enemy of tires, and other rubber-type compounds, is UV. Ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. So if you are planning on storing tires for an extended period, make it a darkened place away from sunlight.
Yep! I bought six pairs of Michelin Krylion Carbon 23MM tires some years ago before Michelin moved their production from France to Thailand. I store them in black garbage bags away from sunlight and any ozone source. I still have about three unopened pairs in excellent shape, while the other three have been mounted on rims. I do check on them regularly though, just to make sure they are still in great shape.
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Old 05-28-14, 10:26 AM
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I've had maxxis tires crack in a few months & other maxxis that are 10 yrs old & fine.I've got panaracers that are still good from 93. I have heard that natural rubber is in short supply for a few years now & manufactures are cutting back on the percent of natural rubber at least in car tires.
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Old 05-28-14, 10:56 AM
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Everyone here is steering you in the right direction.

Heat, UV rays, and electricity (Ozone, aka O3) are your biggest concerns as rubber compounds are susceptible to breakdown in the presence of any of these elements. O3 and UV rays are the most detrimental.

Inspect your tires and see if 1) there is any evidence of dryrot (cracks in the rubber, often present on the sidewalls), and 2) if the rubber compound feels abnormally squishy, pliable, or spongy (this is evidence of the compound deteriorating).

You don't really have to worry about aging threads/cables because cloth isn't used anymore.

There has been a strong trend in automotive tires to switch to a European type of compound, which is designed for cooler and very humid climates. This causes the tires to dryrot faster in many arid or hot climates found across the US. Usually smaller companies, such as Cooper and Toyo, use a more durable compound that is better suited for these climates (and all climates in general). I don't know if bicycle tire manufacturers have followed the same pattern, but I do know that Continental tires are extremely resistant to deterioration. My guess is that the Schwalbe tires will be just fine, but I don't know much about Amarillo tires.

I don't know enough about the new compounds to say anything definite about aging them, but my guess is that on tires formulated in the past 15-20 years is that there isn't any noticeable change in the compound and that they will perform the same whether they are freshly molded or three years old.
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Old 05-28-14, 11:58 AM
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I'm running many tubes that are at least 15 years old. I wouldn't hesitate to use a 15 year old tire if properly stored.
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Old 05-28-14, 01:36 PM
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I have an Avocet tire on one of my bikes. It might be 30 years old. It's not dry-rotted, so I'm still riding it.
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Old 05-28-14, 03:30 PM
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I had a big problem with bicycle tubes that were stored in my garage 3 - 4 years, they developed big rotten looking holes. I suspect heat and ozone caused the deterioration. The same tubes stored in my house for many more years have not failed.
I've not had any similar problems with old bicycle tires. I have had old car and trailer tires fail on hot pavement, but not old bike tires.
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Old 05-28-14, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
I had a big problem with bicycle tubes that were stored in my garage 3 - 4 years, they developed big rotten looking holes. I suspect heat and ozone caused the deterioration. The same tubes stored in my house for many more years have not failed.
I've not had any similar problems with old bicycle tires. I have had old car and trailer tires fail on hot pavement, but not old bike tires.
Unless you're talking about latex tubes, I'd suspect rats before ozone. While anything is possible, the shelf life of tubes is pretty high. I've pulled out and used tubes well over 5 years old (current tubes in use are over 10 years old) without any issues, except sometimes oxidation at the base of the valves leading to valve/tube joint failure.

Unless, of course, your garage has a super high ozone concentration for some reason.
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Old 05-28-14, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Unless you're talking about latex tubes, I'd suspect rats before ozone. While anything is possible, the shelf life of tubes is pretty high. I've pulled out and used tubes well over 5 years old (current tubes in use are over 10 years old) without any issues, except sometimes oxidation at the base of the valves leading to valve/tube joint failure.

Unless, of course, your garage has a super high ozone concentration for some reason.
Butyl, not latex. And definitely not rats or other varmints. The garage is built into the house but not climate controlled. Three cars and a furnace/AC means quite a bit of ozone, and the temperature gets high in the summer. The holes were not punctures, they looked like chemical deterioration starting in the folds.
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Old 05-28-14, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Francis- i had read that this "aging" of tires wasn't beneficial with "modern rubber". And i read this a few decades ago. Something about the differences in rubber's chemistry, oxidation and stuff.
That's correct. Years (actually decades) ago tubular racing tires with silk casings couldn't tolerate the heat of vulcanization so the treads were "hand applied" using something similar to rubber cement. Aging allowed this to cure and harden improving tire durability and strength. Modern tires, even tubulars, use synthetic casings and are heat vulcanized. Aging them only wastes time but the myth lingers on.
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Old 05-28-14, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
Butyl, not latex. And definitely not rats or other varmints. The garage is built into the house but not climate controlled. Three cars and a furnace/AC means quite a bit of ozone, and the temperature gets high in the summer. The holes were not punctures, they looked like chemical deterioration starting in the folds.
I can see that, especially the heat combined with ozone from the motors.

When I distribued tires and tubes, they were always stored in the lowest floors of the warehouse, especially our basement, which mother nature kept climate controlled between 40 and 80°.
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Old 05-28-14, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
That's correct. Years (actually decades) ago tubular racing tires with silk casings couldn't tolerate the heat of vulcanization so the treads were "hand applied" using something similar to rubber cement. Aging allowed this to cure and harden improving tire durability and strength. Modern tires, even tubulars, use synthetic casings and are heat vulcanized. Aging them only wastes time but the myth lingers on.
Quality tubulars of silk, cotton and (later) polyester were built with the colle a main (hand glued) to protect the walls from the heat of molding on the rubber treads. It also allowed thread to be compression molded which produced a harder rubber.

The aging wasn't for the body plies, which actually suffered somewhat in the process, but to further harden the rubber. Colle a main is still used for some tires, and still produces tires with harder treads than many vulcanized tires. But not that much has changed over the last half century, and older tires will still be tougher (and have slightly lower traction) than freshly produced.

We imported tires for many years, and know from having large quantities of rubber around, that it takes up to 2 years for the "fresh rubber" smell to go away. New tires continue to vent those VOCs over a 2 year (in a cool warehouse) period.
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