MGB GT - Tyres - Peter Alexander

I have just returned from a run in the MG when I experienced juddering from the front suspension/Steering. On inspection I found the front nearside tyre had started to laminate and expose the wire casing underneath. My local tyre specialists explained that my 'made in England' Dunlop tyres were probably 20 years old. Although my car had an MOT inspection a month ago it is surely a worry that old tyres on classic cars are being certified as road worthy when they should be scrapped after say 10 years. The recent news whereby cars over 40 years old will be exempt from an MOT is doubly worrying given that some owners have no idea how old their tyres are or how vulnerable they are driving them.

MGB GT - Tyres - Galaxy

They were talking, a few years ago, about making you to have tyres which were less than, say, five years old fitted in order to pass the MOT test. But I don't think anything ever happened about it afterwards.

Take your point regarding the no longer MOT requirement for certain classic cars, though. However, I would have thought that, surely, anyone owning a valuable classic car would take every care to ensure that everything was mechanically checked and in good order, including tyres, wouldn't they?

MGB GT - Tyres - Engineer Andy

In my view, the problem for many car parts being MOTed is that they look fine until they break, tyres included. I agree that unless some kind of test is devised to check the hardness/brittleness of older tyres, then, to be honest, 10 years is a reasonable guide to when a tyre needs replacing.

I'd previously run tyre on my current car (a 2005 built Mazda3) and my previous car (a mid 90s Nissan Micra) for a maximum of 6 years, as on both occasions I found the tyres got too hard (I am not hard on tyre in my driving style and they last 40k+ miles) and were very poor in the wet, and had started to get noisy, even though on the Mazda they still had plenty of tread left.

That's fine when you run a newer car more regularly, but tootling around leisurely in a classic car once a month it may be less noticeable unless you drive in poor conditions or at higher (though still legal) speeds. I would also suspsect that, even with the latest tyres, damage is still done by a car either sitting outside in variable weather conditions, including in direct sunlight (which damages lots of things) or large variances in temperature, which is why rare/expensive classic cars are stored in sealed, climate-controlled warehouses by the uber-rich.

Those 'made in England' Dunlop tyres were probably made at the same time as the OEM ones fitted to my old Micra, which I changed in around 2002-3. Its one of the problems with owning a classic car like yours - parts will still need changing (despite what another certain Backroomer who owns a 'classic' car [his opinion] himself says to the contrary) as if it were being used, in line with the manufacturer's service guidelines. Unfortunately those don't extend to tyres.

In my view, 10 years between changes if a car were garaged may be acceptable if you can determine by feel when driving (as well as inspection) that they aren't going hard (and brittle/the rubber [or equivalent] seriously deteriorating, which yours probably did), but if its kept outside or you want to err on the side of caution, then I would change them at 6-7 years old.

MGB GT - Tyres - The Gingerous One

Hi Peter,

the tyres should have a date code on them, of the form xxyy where xx is the month, and yy the year.

See for more information. Note this is not a recommendation of this particular fast-fit supplier.

I bought a Rover 600 earlier this year and the spare tyre was the original with a date code of xx98 so I replaced it, for the reasons that you have discovered.

When I got a puncture on the M62 3 months later I just laughed, and happily put the nice new spare on.

I have a Tr7 that is in pieces and that some 4 very good tyres in terms of tread, but they are 15 years old. They will not be used on the road, one of the last things I will do will be to get some replacements sorted prior to MoT'ing.

For a start, one of the tyres is a Pneumant and implies it was made in East be far, I think this was the spare wheel.

I also seem to recall seeing somewhere that tyre fitters may not deal with tyres older than 7 years, but I can't remember where i read this.

I should imagine if you drove the MGB in and asked them, for example, to fix a puncture in one of those old tyres they'd probably refuse. Though I guess it now has 4 shiny new ones and so you are able to take advantage of another 20 years of progress in tyre technology..!

Edited by The Gingerous One on 28/11/2017 at 12:32


Ask Honest John

Value my car