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I don't care what anyone tells you, it's not safe to drive on old tires. It's officially spring and those of us that live in colder climates are getting our cars ready for the driving season. Make sure to check the date codes on your tires and replace them if they're old.  

Most of our Panteras and classic cars don't see a lot of miles so our tires will expire way before they wear out. You can't judge a tire by its tread. The rubber and glue in our tires begin to degrade from the moment they're made.  It doesn't matter if they're stored in a cool, dark, shrink wrapped environment.  You can't trust old tires.

If you buy a Pantera, check the date codes and replace your tires if they're old.  Doesn't matter what they look like. My Pantera had tons of tread but the date codes were so old you couldn't tell what decade they were from!  The first thing I did was replace them.

Here are some pictures of a tire from one my 1972 Pontiac Lemans convertible that just exploded in my shop.  They probably had 200 miles on them and were 15-20 years old. (Time goes fast and I see a lot of Panteras on tires this old)  They looked perfect and the car was being reassembled after several years at the body shop. It was scheduled to get new tires before being driven. The tires had lived inside a temp controlled dark environment the entire time.  The car was just sitting on a four post lift and I came out to see this carnage.

Imagine the disaster if this happened driving down the road.  Imagine if it was a Pantera doing some spirited driving.

I just hope this reminder saves someone from getting hurt.  

Our Panteras are amazing cars but we're all even more precious and irreplaceable.

Make a point of checking your tire's age and replacing them if they're too old. It's cheap insurance and not worth the risk. 1299F1B6-67CC-41F6-B7D6-1770B8113D7851A4E55F-5185-4A84-B864-4BE8B85BA9F64C7AB7CC-0998-484C-967A-8E67DA8F61659F1FF62A-799F-42F8-87D2-1AB220B5D359


Images (4)
  • 1299F1B6-67CC-41F6-B7D6-1770B8113D78: The entire tread separated
  • 51A4E55F-5185-4A84-B864-4BE8B85BA9F6: The sidewall just peeled away
  • 4C7AB7CC-0998-484C-967A-8E67DA8F6165: Look at the tread and sidewall
  • 9F1FF62A-799F-42F8-87D2-1AB220B5D359: You can still see the nubbies
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I'm glad no one got hurt but the damage to the back of thar Pantera looks awful.

Tires get taken for granted until they fail and a lot of people might not understand that old tires can be more dangerous than worn out tires.

Here's an article on how to read date codes for tires made after 2000.

If the date code on your tires indicate prior to 2000, it doesn't matter what the age is, they're way too old to be driving on.

As we all get older, the years seem to go by faster and it's easy to forget how old the tires are on our cars that don't get driven all the time.

This my not be the optimum time to mention it, but....cast magnesium wheels are still close-to-state-of-the-art for performance cars  But they flex while being driven, like all wheels do, And with cast magnesium, the resulting stresses never go away.... until they combine with mag's porosity to form a crack or an actual broken wheel. But we have found a way out.

We can anneal the wheels in your kitchen oven. Annealing temperature for cast mag is only 275-300F for about 3 hrs, followed by VERY slow cooling. This should be done every ten years or so. I got the idea from our Navy who fly fighter jets with magnesium wheels, After l00 hours of use, the military anneals their wheels during major overhauls, or throws them away if chipped.

When I worked for Lockheed Aerospace, I verified the info..This stress-relief should also be done if a lightly damaged Campy or Halibrand wheel is TIG-welded. The only drawback is, the 300F temperature will turn the protective chromate-based undercoat paint a tannish color, so you will need to repaint your good-as-new mag wheels. You need not strip them to repaint, though.

Powder coating is often done at 350-400 F and that will anneal Campys too if you cool them down slowly. There are a LOT of annealed Campys running around the US these days

I lost tread on BFG T/A's only months old. They would not warranty them because of the tire size to rim width.

On that particular set THEIR chart said that size would fit 6-8" wide rim. The rims were 6".

They said the rims had to be 7" in contradiction to their own charts.

Bottom line, don't expect much from BFG. It's a cheap tire.

Do a Google search for retread tires. As a teenager we used them because the treads used in recapping made them like racing slicks AND they were $21 each in Floyd's Department Store.

Now I remember also recapping Goodyear raised white letter Polyglass tires and the tire date of manufacture didn't matter.

Lots of commercial airlines use recapped tires for the planes also, so there is definitely something else going on with the significance of the quality of the tire to be recapped.

I'll also point out that there are STILL racers using 30, 40, 50 year old racing tires in vintage racing. So what's going on with this?

Those "old" tires being used by racers are only do-able at Bonneville when running true race tires with 50-70 psi on moist, forgiving salt. And it's only done because Goodyear and others mostly stopped building Bonneville-specific tires. Sometimes, they only get one (1.0) run of 5 or 9 miles before tire tread failure. It doesn't work well with street tires from Wal-Mart or Costco.

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