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When are tyres tired?


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When should you replace your tyres?

I purchased my motor home new in April 2002 and its still on its original tyres. Hardly any trend has been used as its low mileage and there is no sign of sidewall degradation that could indicate that the tyre is perished and beyond its useful life.

So when would it be best to change the tyres? Any advice please!

If I had traded in last year when it was 6 years old would the dealer have replaced the tyres before he sold it? I very much doubt it, he would have sold it with the tyres that were on it; why replace them when that would be eating into his profit. So the prospective purchaser would be buying a motor home with tyres that look okay but are old. How do we know if the tyres on our motor homes are okay then when we purchase second-hand.

Why replace when they reach a certain age? Why not replace them like we do with our cars when the MOT demands it or when we see a problem?

Can you give me your thoughts please.



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Hi Charles

The general concensus seems to be at about 5 yrs, usually on the possible basis of tyrewall degradation.

I purchased my previous motorhome in March 2002,and ironically replaced all the tyres not long before I decided to sell it after 5 yrs - they had done some 30k+ miles and there would have been some more life in them, but I wasn't prepared to consider long trips to France of say 2k milesor more when they were clearly not at their best.

However, the 'legal' standpoint is on the tread, and I beleive the condition of the tyres, esepcially at MOT time, and I wonder what the response was when you had your last MoT?

Remember also, that the tyres may well be a lot older than the vehicle registration date, as some chassis are left standing for a considerable while before being built as motorhomes. Other than the visual aspect, you can check the date of tyre manufacture from the information the tyrewall. Without the tyre physically in from of me, I'm sorry I cannot tell you whcih bit it's on, but from memory it is quoted in week and year - I always struggled to find mine and I am sure someone on the forum will be able to give more info on that!

I would have thought though if yours are coming up to 7 years or possibly more, it may well be worth having a very good inspection - both on the road facing side, and also on the insides where there is often quite a lot more degradation or possibly splitting on the walls.

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My motorhome was registered in Feb 01 so I changed two tyres (wanted 4 but could only get 2) in August 2006. In May 2007 I had a blow out on the M25 with one of these new tyres. Had the spare put on and sought replacement in Boulogne. Thought I would get the other two while I was at it and put the best one as the spare. Although there was loads of tread on the tyres, and everyone had told me not to change them, I had this sixth sense that they needed changing and I was right. On inspection the man showed me that between the deep tread all the tyres had cracks in them and none were any good as a spare. I therefore had to buy four new ones and put the 6-month-old one as the spare. The blowout was very frightening and I was extremely lucky that there was just this small break in the rush hour traffic which allowed me to reach the hard shoulder. Within seconds huge lorries were hurtling down behind me. I wouldn't take any risks when it comes to tyres or brakes. Incidentally he found lots of nails in the tyres too so one of these must have caused the blowout.
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For tyre manufacture date, look for the small lozenge shaped stamp on the sidewall, containing four numbers. The first two are the week number, and the last two are the last two digits of the year.


EG: "2607" means that the tyre was manufatured in week 26 of year 2007.


Remember that the rubber compounds in tyres start to degrade/harden from the moment the tyre is first pressed and cools, because of exposure to oxygen.

All the pundits seem to talk in terms of prudent replacement after 4 or 5 years, regardless of mileage and remaining tread....although remaining tread depth is the only legal requirement.


Direct sunlight accelerates the degradation process...some of the locals here in Spain put covers over the two tyres on the sunny side of their MH's when the vehicle is laid up for any length of time.




If/when you are ever getting replacement tyres fitted for any of your vehicles, check the manufacture date on any "new" tyre being offered to you by the garage.

I've always rejected any that were manufactured more then 6 months previously, as they are not "new", but have been degrading in stock for all that time.




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  • 2 weeks later...
I was told my tyres would need replacing before the next MOT after 5 years and only 22,000 miles as cracks were developing in the sidewalls on the rears. I thought beter safe than sorry and replaced them straightaway. Bought the new Michelin beasts and got a good discount by asking for a price for all 4 together. (lol)
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  • 2 weeks later...

I thank all of you for your comments and recommendations

especially “Handyman” for posting the link to tyresafe.org.

As I have previously said I bought the van new in April 2002 and the size of the tyres are 215/75R16C the Michelin XC Camping. The little lozenge shaped stamp on them says 3201; therefore they were manufactured in August 2001 a full 8 months before the van was first registered. This August they will be 8 year old and they do need to be replaced; although on inspection they appear to be in good condition.

Do I replace like for like but Michelin Camper tyres are 8 ply tyres and have a rating of 113Q. Continental Vanco Camper tyres are 10 ply tyres and have a rating of 116R. A better tyre by far then, so its new Continental Vanco Camper tyres for me.


Quotes for new tyres, fitted inc vat :-

National Tyres = Michelin £180 Continental Vanco £150

Local Dealer = Michelin £138 Continental Vanco £130

Kwik Fit = Michelin N/S Continental Vanco £105

As the man says it pays to shop around.


I wanted to look at the trend pattern on Continental Vanco Camper tyres, so I visited a local caravan and motor home dealer. I found a second-hand van fitted with them and then look alright.




The majority of vans that were 5 or more years old had tyres fitted that gave a manufacture date older than 5 years. One 2003 van for sale at £25K had Michelin XC Camping tyres and yes you’ve guessed it the stamp on them said 3201. So when that van was sold new the tyres were already two years old. The tyres are 7 years 8 months old and when the van is sold will the dealer put a new set of tyres on?




If you are in the process of buying a second-hand van or are viewing this forum to get ideas before you buy. Check to age of the tyres that you are buying.


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