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MG TD TF 1500 - Check Your Tires

Hi guys -

I'm sure that this has been discussed before. It's a common problem with collector cars. But it's good to keep it top-of-mind. Perhaps it can save a life.

This weekend on a trip with our MG club, a member's left front tire on his MG midget failed at about 50mph. Actually it wasn't just a failure, it was an explosion. The rubber was thrown off and the steel cords looked like a bomb had gone off. See photo below.

He replaced the wheel with his spare. About an hour later, the other front tire started throwing rubber chunks. He and his wife were very lucky that he kept the car under control.

The tires looked brand new. No cracks, splits, or dry rot. They were on the car when he bought it a few years ago.

The date code on the tires showed that they were ten years old.

Another club member's TD tires separated and lost rubber earlier this year. They were fifteen years old.

>> So, in addition to a visual check of your tires, check the date of manufacture. It's on every tire sold in the U.S. that was produced since 2000. Don't know about other countries. It's only on one side, so check the inside, too.

New tires for our little cars are relatively cheap. Much cheaper than an injury or death.

Click this link to learn about determining the age of a tire:!3756!3!72454655173!e!!g!!tire%20manufacture%20date&ef_id=UZ1UkwAAAb5VYyHZ:20151024194620:s

Stay safe,


LM Cook

Definitely look trailer tires used to do that when they were under-inflated.

I was under the impression that if a car was kept in a garage and tires were, for the most part, kept out of the sun that they'd be safer longer? Bad impression?

Gene Gillam

Mine looked "new" but were 12 years old. I'm really glad I traded them for brand new Verdensteins last year! I showed your picture to my wife and she now understands! Thanks for posting this.
efh Haskell

Those look like Firestone 560's,,
I have heard of many failures on tire over 10 years old,, REPLACE THEM !!!Garaged or not
Steve Wincze

Vehicles which are parked for extended periods often experience tire sidewall deterioration. Sometimes called tire dry-rot, these sidewalls literally dry, check and eventually crack and split. Each year the loss for RVers, trailer boaters and owners of classic cars adds up to millions of dollars. This article examines this problem.Tires today commonly contain chemical ingredients which lessen damage from ozone and ultraviolet light, the main environmental enemies of tires. Ozone is an odorless gas, which some people call the electric train smell. Although it is more concentrated in cities and manufacturing centers, ozone is a normal part of the air we breathe everywhere. When combined with ultraviolet (UV) light, ozone causes rubber to dry and become brittle and results in tire sidewall deterioration.

Black Tires,
To protect rubber against UV damage is why tires are black. Tire makers use a common type of UV stabilizer called a competitive absorber. Competitive absorbers capture and absorb the UV light instead of the tire's rubber. Carbon black, a very cheap ingredient, is used as a competitive absorber whereas, all other UV stabilizers are extremely expensive. This is why tires are black and are not made in designer colors.

When I bought the car the preowner informed me about old tires - but not how old they have been.

First I corrected the pressure and after that I drove home with the car using autobahn up to 70 mph for 100 miles. In a file which came with the car I'd found the bill. It was from 1991.

After reading that I instandly bought Vredestein Classic Sprint - also for the spare.

The dealer said the old tire looks fine - without a trace to upcoming failures.

I've heard of folks preserving dismounted tires by coating the insides with Vaseline and putting them in garbage bags. You have to keep them in a cool, dark space. Save that, I wouldn't trust a10 year old tire.

Date codes predate the 2000's, BTW. I recently replaced some new-looking tires dated 1995.
David Littlefield

Paul. Sorry but you are not quite right there. Carbon black is a major ingredient in tyre rubber (and many other rubber applications) because it reinforces the rubber - it makes it stronger and much more abrasion resistant. Vulcanisation also plays a part. Yes, carbon black also gives UV resistance, but that is secondary to the reinforcing action - the addition level of carbon black requireed for that would be a couple of percent or so, but tyre rubber contains many times that. It isn't a diluent or cheapening additive in any way, the particle size and structure of the black are very specific to give the best properties, You are correct in that ozone is a significant factor in the degradation of natural rubber and many others that contain dienes.
Dave H
Dave Hill

Spot on Dave
Steve Wincze

I have 5 of these.
More cracks if you look further on the sidewalls if each tire.

Zero Mileage.
30 years old.

Jim B.

JA Benjamin

I've seen brand new tires explode like the OP's pic.
D mckellar

Sheesh, now you will be telling me not to use my Olympic Air Ride winter treads or my Goodyear re-treads, both from about 1959!


M Magilton

I have always been sensitive to tire age and condition as my other toy is a 542 horsepower, 186 mph coupe that I slalom and occasionally take to the local drag strip. Earlier this year I picked up a nail and limped home from a car show with a slow puncture

Bearing in mind that sometimes I like to wind up the supercharger sometimes early on a Sunday morning, I replaced both rears at significant cost. I took it to the local dealer to get it re-shod. When I got the car home I checked the dates on the tires and found that they had been stored on a shelf somewhere for over a year, so the life was already reduced. On complaining I was told that the tires were specials and the ones fitted were the only tires available

The moral of the story. You may purchase 'new' tires in 2015 but check the date code, someone may be trying to offload the older tires in their stock

TF 1500 9194
I Massey

Massey, same thing happened to my wife on her late model Toyota. No special tires there but on inspection I found that the tires were over two years old when they sold them to her. Best to look at them before they are mounted and be picky. With 60K mile tires its not unusual to get 4 - 5 years out of them with moderate driving. If the danged things were two years old when sold that means you end up driving on 7 year old tires. Bummer. Jud
J. K. Chapin

The age of the tires also affects the length of the warranty.

Most manufacturers warrant the tires for a certain number of years after the date of manufacture, not from the date you purchased them.

I found this out after buying some tires at a Goodyear dealer. Three years later I had a problem with them and another dealer told me they were out of warranty. I was told they had a five year warranty when I purchased them. The second dealer showed me the fine print and the date code and told me there wasn't anything he could (would) do for me.

Ever since then I check date codes when I purchase tires. I caught a Firestone dealer trying to sell me some older tires. I showed him the the fine print in his warranty (the language was identical to Goodyear's) and explained to him that he was shorting me on the warranty. He didn't believe me at first, but he read the language and finally agreed with me. He found me some newer tires.
David Littlefield

Son had 3+ year old Michelin MXV4s on his Nissan, sidewalls looked like a cracked desert lake bed, with about 10K miles on them. Michelin offered to take 10% off a new set. Nice way to loose a life long customer. George
George Butz

Here in Tucson I think most tire places tell you that you shouldn't expect more than 5 years from tires just because of exposure to the sun. I keep my car (and tires) covered and out of the sun just as much as possible as a result.
Geoffrey M Baker

As I've never thought to look for the date code on a tyre is anyone able to post a pic of the date code? Curious to see how it is presented. Year month, month year? Would a Feb 09 manufacturing date look different in the States? 09 02 or 02 09? Cheers
Peter TD 5801
P Hehir

Peter -

See the link in my original post. Has photos and details about the code imprinted in the wall of a tire.

LM Cook

Thanks Lonnie. I'm a bit wary about opening links. Nice post. Cheers
Peter TD 5801
P Hehir

Peter, After 2000 codes changed, here's a quick note on the code. First box is the week of the year and second box is the last two numbers of the year, which is 2007. So this tire was made in the third week of December 2007.


Thanks PJ. Cheers
Peter TD 5801
P Hehir

Just curious,, while you are reading the side wall,, are those the tires on your car ?? where was that tire made, and what is the max PSI ??

Steve Wincze

No Steve their not my tires, I used them only as a reference. My tires were made early this year. PJ

OK,,, same question for those ,,, Where made and Max PSI,,, just curious,,,,
Steve Wincze

I noticed yesterday the Continental radials on 2016 Maximas are made in Romania! The new Michelin XZX's on my TD were made in Serbia. Go figure. George
George Butz

My experience Bud
Bud Krueger

This thread was discussed between 25/10/2015 and 27/10/2015

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