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  1. #1
    Eurodavid
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    Question about stored Winter Tire degradability

    Hi all,

    Been busy here, wanted to drop in and say "hi", hope that you all are doing well, and also to ask a question about something for which I can't find a satisfactory answer to by Googling it.

    Where I live in Belgium, you rarely ever have need for snow tires. But, the past two winters have seen some sort of region-wide weather change (the global warming thing changing weather patterns) where we are now starting to not only get snow, but snow that sticks & stays around. When I bought my 528i back in 2005, the German owner (bought the car in Speyer, DE) also gave me a set of 4 brand new Continental "ContiWinterContact TS 810" winter tires, mounted on standard oem-BMW rims. I totally and completely forgot about them. Seriously, I had forgotten about these as I stuck them, soon as I bought the car, away in one of the wood sheds out in the back of my yard (I know, I know, I know, hit me over the head for not having enough sense to put these new tires/rims in the attic and/or house).

    My question is thus: they have been sitting out there on a shelf for nearly 5 years. Upon getting a snow shovel out yesterday, I saw them, then checked and was surprised that they still had tire pressure in them; the lowest was about 24psi and the highest almost 30psi, dead cold (it is about 20 F here now). Do you guys think it is still safe, after properly inflating them, to put these basically new winter tires on my car? During the winter, I don't use my 528i on the autobahns, not because of snow, but because of fear of the infamous black ice, something which I've had the unfortunate experience of long ago and equally something which I never want to experience again. Thus, during winters I only use my car for local driving, where maybe 60-70mph is hit as a top-speed once in a while.

    I quess what I am asking is that, sure, the tires are new "ContiWinterContact TS 810" Conti(s), but should I be concerned that they've been stored outside in a wooded shed where summer temps reached 80+F and winter freezing temps hit the teens, for 5 years of this continuous thermal cycle? Year round humidity here is a constant 80+%, if that helps any. The tires look to the naked eye to be in great shape, are brand new with less than 1000kms on, but I know when it comes to rubber and/or plastic on any vehicle, looks mean nothing.

    Thanks for any hints and/or tips.

    Eurodavid


  2. #2
    Craig in Canada
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    Re: Question about stored Winter Tire degradability

    Personally I wouldn't worry about the temperature cycles - you weren't driving on them and they weren't exposed to UV right?

    I've usually heard the guideline that 6 years is about the max age you want for snow tire compound to remain effective. On the other hand, your winters are enviously light and those snows would probably be more effective in snow than whatever all seasons you're running even though they are older.

    I would be inclined to throw them on and give them a try. If they end up having dangerously poor wet performance or something, then you have your answer about the compound age.

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    UV rays are the enemy of rubber; inspect them

    for cracking, hardness or chalking. If they appear good, try them out; just inspect them regularly and enjoy your car in the snow.
    As a foot note, my new winter tires go on the car today or tomorrow; expecting 2-3 inches here Friday night thru Sat. I hope the new Kuhmo's work as good as the Blizzaks did.Fritracer
    Cincinnati, OH
    2000 540ia Sport Package 9/99 Silver/ Black

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    Re: Question about stored Winter Tire degradability

    Tire age info

    The primary safety concern seems to be potential for tread separation due to age-related degradation of materials, which may not be not apparent by a simple visual inspection. The attached article mentions that Continental recommends having questionably old tires "inspected" (by a tire dealer?)
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    Electric motor radiants have been rumored to...

    degrade rubber. I've heard that EMI (or something similar) given off by electric motors will degrade or break-down any rubber compounds that are nearby. I don't know if this is true, or just an urban legend. But, if you sored thetires near the AC, oil burner, washer/dryer, it may be prudent to check the tires out thoroughly before any highway driving.
    Ed CT
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    Euro-also check the date code on tires' sidewall

    The tires may have lotsa tread, but could've been manufactured 10 years ago.
    Ed CT
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  7. #7
    Craig in Canada
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    +1 - a big deal most people don't know about


  8. #8
    Craig in Canada
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    Ozone is a factor, which is made by sparking...

    ...so motors etc... are not a wive's tale but the blame on EMI probably is :)

    Ozone is definitely supposed to be a factor in rubber/tire aging.


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    Ah, yes - Ozone. I thought it was one of those...

    20th/21st century risk hazards, but couldn't remember which one.

    Hey wait a minute - if sparking motors kill tires, then all the upcoming electric cars will need tire replacements every 6 months. Now, what's the current price of Bridgestone and Michelin stock? ;-)
    Ed CT
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  10. #10
    euro.
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    Re: Question about stored Winter Tire degradability


  11. #11
    vcondis
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    Re: Question about stored Winter Tire degradability

    Euro.
    All that is mentioned here by the other members conserning tire degradability is true but keep some things in mind. Your winter tires are stored in the dark and only come out during the darker (cloudy) time of the year, this will greatly reduce UV damage and will definately increase their life span. Some of the typical "guidelines" such as do not use a tire that is over 3 yrs old are intended for the "average" user who probably sees more sun than you and uses the tires year round. If you lived in Australia, did not park in a garage and used the same tires all year long, after 3 yrs they would be hard as rock and all cracked up and thus unsafe. In your case I would inspect them for "cracking" (is this called dry rot?) and use them if they seem OK. I have snow tires for our Subaru here in Idaho and every year I wait to mount them until the snow is about to fly, then remove them soon as the weather starts improving, they are stored in a garage (hot in summer) and after 4-5 yrs still look new. I plan on using them for a few more seasons as long as the tread lasts and they do not appear dry and cracked up.

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    Planned obsolescence is alive and well






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  13. #13
    Eurodavid
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    Thanks all. Mounted yesterday & promptly all four

    tires had their treads separate and come off on the 2 mile drive to work.







    LOL, just kidding (especially all you Conti users). Will let you all know how they get on as these winter months pass. First thing I did notice, though, is that the ride sure isn't as smooth as having those grand touring balloon tires on there that I normally do.

    Eurodavid

  14. #14
    Craig in Canada
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    Re: Thanks all. Mounted yesterday & promptly all four

    Hold the phone - your snows are firmer and sportier than your summers? eek!

    ;)

  15. #15
    Eurodavid
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    LOL. You know, now that you mention it, maybe

    I should just run these Conti Winter tires in the summer and stick with the grand touring Balloons through winter. Why? From driving yesterday till today, in dry, icey snowy conditions (which is a world away from wet, sticky snowy conditions), I can discern no difference that the Conti(s) are any better at gripping, stopping than the Cooper LifeLiners gt balloons.

    As Deputer said, these cars are one of the worst to drive in when the temps are low, ice is everywhere, and snow is coming down steadily. Of course, you already know that. Guess that is why these European e39 owners all have either Volkswagons/Passats, Audi(s) and/or other front-wheel drive cars/SUVs for their winter vehicles.

    You rarely, if ever, see an e39 at the ski and/or mountain winter resorts. Last one I saw, when in my wife's front-wheel drive ZTW, was about 4-5 years ago, and that was in relatively tame (incline-wise) Oberau/Garmisch. That e39 diesel 530 wagon was totally decked out in those fancy chain-like kevlar (or whatever it is made out of) 360-tire wraps.


    As a fellow owning e39 German friend said to me once, an e39 and climbing go together like lederhosen and wine.

    Eurodavid

  16. #16
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    When slipping, which way does the rear kick out?

    I've had two other BMW's (e28 M5 & e34 525) that like to turn left INTO oncoming traffic when the rear end slips on snow and/or ice ... thank god nothing was coming when it happened (more than once)

    The 525 was totaled when a jeep came at me across the centerline. I turned the car to the right to avoid the Jeep head-on, but the airbag went off when we hit the drainage ditch and that's all it took.

    Seems BMW's are not the only vehicles to break that way (into oncoming traffic)

    Neither car had dedicated winter tires at the time ... learned that lesson ;-)

    Michael in MD

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  17. #17
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    Re: When slipping, which way does the rear kick out?

    That might just be road crown. When the rear gets loose in zero traction conditions gravity simply pulls the rear down and to the right. On a FWD car it would pull the front down and to the right, away from oncoming traffic.

    I can't say that I've clearly noticed a favourite direction, but with snow getting closer I'll test it for you. :)

  18. #18
    jun
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    not snow tires, but related

    I bought my 2003 540 new in September 2003. The original Dunlop tires(and wheels) were taken off the car after about 2,000 miles(maybe less) and have been sitting inside my garage since then. They have been replaced with BBS wheels and Goodyear F1 then, and now with Bridgestone tires. I've looked at the Dunlops once in a while and don't see any cracking. Are they still any good?

  19. #19
    Eurodavid
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    Re: When slipping, which way does the rear kick out?

    Craig,

    When there's ice, my personal opinion is that these cars just slide, unlike any I've ever experienced (and I grew up in the Snowbelt of N.E. Ohio, and have also lived near the mtns in Bavaria/Austria, and have owned and driven a slew of different manufacturer vehicles).

    When I bought this e39 in '05, a few months later it was winter in Belgium. Usually, we get little snow that actually sticks, and also usually, freezing is not so rare. Well, from 2005-on, a weather pattern reversal started here, or so it seems. Anyway, I distinctly remember that 1st winter with the car, during a small snow storm depositing about 1'2" inches on ground that had been wet & thus frozen the night before, idling my I6 in front a house that I was watching for some people who were in the States. The cement road grade there in front of the house was/is a false flat. In other words, at best a 1/5 to 1/4 degree decline down the arrow straight road.

    Leaving the car idling on the road in front of the house, I was only inside the house maybe 90 secs tops. Upon returning, I was greeted with the car no longer being in front of the house, as it had slid nearly 150 feet back down the road. It was still idling, perfectly.


    Unbelievably, the weight of the car along with the simple idling of the engine helped those Conti All Seasons (that the previous owner had on there and, admittedly, needed replacing as the tread was quite worn)... the tires break free from whatever slight grip they had on the road where the car was parked (with the emergency brake on, no less). Some would say any car would have done that, but I don't think so. This car traveled 150 ft back down a false flat road, a false flat road that you would be hard pressed to find any incline/decline to. Thankfully, no one was parked on the road, and/or it seems no one came driving down this road while the car was doing it's tryout for the Winter Figure Skating Olympics.


    After that incident, and then hearing stories over the ensuing years from my euro friends about the e39 in the winter, I wised up. I came to understand that in winter freezing slick conditions, these e39s simply LOVE to go ice-skating more than most all other vehicles. And when they do, given their girth and weight, there isn't any stopping them unless you are one of the ones who has chains on and/or those kevlar-like wrapbelts on (studs are outlawed in most all w. european countries, iirc).

    Eurodavid

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    Re: Planned obsolescence is alive and well

    Most AC motors don't have brushes, thus no sparks.

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