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Old 01-20-2004, 03:28 PM   #1
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Default When to replace tires...

My 97 SL2 has 39,000 and will be 7 years old in June of 04. It still has the original Affinities. The tires are not worn tread wise and most likely will last to 75k like my first pair did on my 1996.

My uncle told me to replace the tires soon as the tires are old (age wise). I do not see any dry rot on the tires.

Should I buy new tires or just keep driving until they wear out from mileage?
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Old 01-20-2004, 03:38 PM   #2
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If the tires don't show any damage and the treadwear level is still ok and you don't suffer any sort of traction loss or adverse effects in rain or bad weather, then you're fine.

40K on one set of tires is pretty good. If you can afford to spend money on a new set of tires the traction, road noise, handling, and other performance characteristics of a better set of tires from Michellin, Kumo, Continental, etc., will really make it feel like a totally different car.

The Firestones on my old SL2 that came stock paled in comparison to the Michellin tires I added and later on I had Firestone SH40's or something and both those tires were far better than the stock tires.
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Old 01-20-2004, 03:46 PM   #3
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If the tires still carry deep thread, then check the sidewall (near the rim where metal and rubber meet) for extensive 'cracks'. Tiny, minor cracks are acceptable (due to rubber aging), but too many and obvious deep cracks you should have the tires replaced soon. (Rubber is harden over time and lose its flexibility)
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Old 01-20-2004, 04:17 PM   #4
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Make sure you keep them rotated. I didn't keep mine rotated as often as I should, and they have not worn evenly. I noticed a wobble at highway speeds, and a rotation helped a lot, but now the back tire have less tread than the front, and I'm due for a rotation but want to keep the better tires in the front. I have 25K on OEM Affinities now. I usually keep tires as long as possible. I ran a set on my Accord until the tread was seperating on all four, which was WAY too long. Driving with them on the highway was not at all smooth.

My Dad has been wanting to buy new tires for my car mainly because he hates Firestones (he has hated them for the past 30 years or so). I won't let him because I think it's a waste of his money.

If I had the tools, I'd rotate them at every oil change. Now I just do it when I go to my parent's house where my Dad has a shop with a nice hydraulic jack, jackstands, and an impact wrench. It's easy.
Past Saturns: 97 SL2, 01 SC2, 04 VUE, 08 Astra, 02 L200.
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Old 01-20-2004, 06:56 PM   #5
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I'm going to replace my crapfinities as soon as my income tax comes.
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Old 01-20-2004, 07:34 PM   #6
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look at the tread depth on the tires. replace them at 2/32nds when the wearbars are showing.
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Old 01-21-2004, 02:34 PM   #7
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Well, all the points so far are valid, but if you live in michigan like me, you'll have to replace the tires a bit before they fail the penny test. You NEED the tread depth to deal with heavy snow or torrential rain. Also, those affinities kinda stink. If you're running 15-inch wheels, I reccomend Dunlop SP Sport A2s
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Old 01-21-2004, 08:04 PM   #8
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I believe 5 to 6 years is a normal useful life for tires. You could check with the tire experts at or read this:

How do you use your car? If you do a lot of highway miles (more heat and otherwise harder on tires) then it is more critical to change your tires than if all your driving is local, short trips.

The penny test is a minimum. If your tires slip in the rain or if you drive in snow then you want MORE than 1 or 2/32" of tread to have a safe ride. (Consumer Reports did a study a while back comparing the same tires when new and with HALF their tread left, which is 5/32", and the handling and braking were both MUCH worse. ) Read the article here:

My tires were half worn in December 2002 so I replaced them in order to have NEW rubber for Winter driving. I look at it this way: the Dunlop SP Sport A2s on my car cost just over $500, which is equal to what most folks' insurance deductable is. How much is accident avoidance worth?
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Old 01-21-2004, 08:31 PM   #9
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I replace them at 5/32 or thereabouts. With you older tires, tread or not, I'd have to swap them to some new rubber. The rubber cracks and stuff over time, particularly if the car sits for long periods of time. Better safe than pushing the thing out of the road.
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Old 01-23-2004, 08:10 PM   #10
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After you hydroplane on wet pavement and spin out of control and gently land on a grassy shoulder without any damage to your car. That happen to me once in my previous 93 Nissan Truck a few years ago and about an hour later I went and bought new tires. :-)
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