The tires on my 14 T Runabout are showing cracks around the edges. I rarely drive over 25 MPH. Do you think they are safe to drive on.I don't have $700. to buy a new set. Thanks Mark
They look safe enough to me for 25 mph. My old ones were almost that bad and I had no problems. Give the tire a sideways shake to make sure they don't move. Don't corner hard at all. I only changed mine because I was worried about the wrong type of cop seeing them. You know what is really unsafe? Dealing with the stress of not enjoying your T
Do like the movie, The worlds fastest Indian, and fill them with shoe polish and drive 200mph.
Just kidding, the gum cracks in it's self is not so much the problem but it lets in water and slowly rots the cords of the tire, that's when you have blow-outs!!!
You are going to need new ones eventually, so you might as well bite the bullet now. If that $700 really runs you short, park the car until you can get them. My body is worth more than $700. I suspect yours is too.
While you are changing the tires check your spokes, felloes, and rivets and make sure they are sound.
What Ted said......
If you can stay out of traffic and be prepared for a blow out at any time you might get another 40 years out of them. I have been driving on some 50 year old Firestones but had one blow out a few weeks ago. I would hate to hear you were hurt.
There's a bit of a duality here.
Keeping the tires inflated to the proper 60 pounds will lessen the flexing of the tire, and that's good, because it lessens the back-and-forth bending of the rubber which is probably hard by now.
On the other hand, that puts maximum stress on the cords, which may be rotten, as Frank said.
All in all, I'd say it's better to keep them up to 60 pounds.
If your use of the car is such that you could sustain a flat, and you have a workable spare and the necessary tools with you, and you have the time to change it, well, you might get another month or another decade out of the tires. No way to tell.
One other thing, though. When you do get the new tires, you'll probably want to strip, sand, and paint the spokes and felloes and rims. That's mostly labor, as opposed to materials, but if you find loose or rotted spokes, etc. you may be biting off more than you bargained for. As said before, though, your personal safety........ and so on.
I don't know. For the most part, due to materials used and quality of manufacturing. I like 30 to 50 year old tires better than new ones.
The most important factor, is what is the casing cord made of???? Cotton cord ROTS! Cracks let water seep inside, the cotton rots, and I have a nice looking 40 year old Olympic tire that I can rip the sidewalls with my bare hands! On the other hand. Nylon cord does NOT rot due to water (it breaks down due to UV in sunlight). As long as the cracks do not get so bad that sunlight gets to the cord, or the rubber holding the casing together is gone, a tire can look really bad and still be quite strong.
The problem is, many tires don't tell you what the casing is made from. My Olympic doesn't.
I do have a Firestone similar to yours. They won't let me run it on the SCVMTFC Endurance Run. I really can't blame them for that. But the rest of the year, I run it on my speedster.
Another thing that bothers me. I do know that a lot of people have had blowouts in model Ts resulting in serious accidents. That makes me concerned. However, I have had blowouts in model Ts. I can hardly tell from the feel of the car. The "let-down" is so small, and I just don't seem to have any trouble controlling the car. I would prefer a blowout on the rear rather than the front from a control standpoint. And on an early car, the wishbone is a point to consider (I noticed your wood felloes).
The smart money is on getting new tires. I am not so sure. But then, maybe that is why I am broke.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Mark, the decision is yours to make but I would put some thinking into it.
Lets say you're tooling along Magnolia street at 25 and have a blowout, your T swerves to the right just enough to jump the curb, and lets say a kid is riding her bike on the sidewalk just as that happens...odds are you'll miss little Sally...
Hey it's a '14 runabout. what is it worth? What is your neck worth? What is some bodies kid worth?
Take out a loan and buy new ones PLEASE!!!
My T is currently on tires that were put on before 1965. There are surface cracks and I have 4 new tires on the shelf in the garage. I didn't have time to change them this summer so I am kinda waiting until they wear out All I can say is that I am not worried about the ones that are on the car.
In your case i would use a t would use a tire dressing - not tire dress - to protect the cords and begin saving up for new tires.
Comments and points well taken, Thanks. Ted the bazaar way my mind works since my stroke, I thought you were talking about the body on your Model T was worth more than $700. Well, Christmas is coming. Maybe I will put a bug in the family's ear . OR I might take out a larger loan and Buy Another Model T. I have been down to only one for a few years ago. I will Garage Queen my T for now.
I've seen and driven on worse and I've made it to within 20 years of 100.
I had a front blowout at about 20 mph n barely noticed it but it sure sounded like a shotgun going off. No big deal. Had a rear blowout n did not know what it was until the tire rolled down the street alongside the car. That time I was going 30plus. No noticeable loss of control of the car. I have friends that drive until the tread is gone n a lot of the cord is showing.
All depends on what speed u drive n where u drive. To each his own.
Maybe look into some good used tires.
Hard rubber has no traction.
I'm no tire expert, but I'm with Royce on this one. That looks scary to me.
I was driving a TT flatbed home one day with 60 plus year old tires, I had passengers on back. We were about 2 miles from the house when we heard a big boom and a cloud of dust. Stopped the truck walked around and saw a piece of rubber hanging off the inside wall of the right rear tire but the tire was still standing straight up. I got back in and drove it home. It took 2 days before the sidewall started to collapse from the weight.
Picture this scenario.
A car is driving down the road an is involved in a serious accident in which someone unfortunately loses their life.
The coroner investigates the accident scene.
What will the action be when he determines that one of the vehicles was unroadworthy with faulty/dangerous tyres?
Personally I wouldn't run the risk. I would put the car in the shed till I got some new tyres for it. They might be expensive, but they would have to be up there as the single most important parts of a car.
I have to agree with most of the posts here. With all of the safety features out T's came without, i would think that tires/spokes/brakes/front end would take top priority. You can't enjoy yourself if you always have that doubt in the back of your mind that you haven't done your best to keep yourself, and your passengers as safe as you possibly can.
I would buy new tyres. The contact patch is not very good to start with. Based on the cracks in the photo those tyres look dangerous.
I lost a rear tyre on my Model A in Sydney peak hour a month ago. I was doing about 60 kmh. I had to drive about a kilometre on the rim to get to a safe place to change the tyre. It was in torrential rain and my spare was flat. I was lucky it happened while I was going in a straight line . I'm not sure what the outcome would have been if it happened on a curve.
I replaced all the tyres after that. I think the tyres, tubes and bands were probably older than me. They looked in better shape than the one in your photo.
Here in New Zealand we have a 6 monthly 'Warrant of fitness' test. Without passing that test your vehicle is not allowed on the road. That tire would definitely fail.
If you never haul passengers, do what you want. I would not put my wife and [or] son on tires.
should read those tires - Duh !
Someone will always be able to point to something that is unsafe. That goes for anybody, any scenario. Do they need changing? Yes. Will it cause a catastrophic accident next time you take it out? Maybe, but probably not. I'm not telling you what to do, but I would buy one now and replace the worst one. Next month, I'd buy another. And so on.
Here are some problems that I see. A penny saved is a dollar wasted if you roll the car it could cost more. If someone is injured it could cost more.
With the non demountable rims, if you get a flat tire, you would need a spare and change it right on the road which could take considerable time. You would need a good pump and it is hard to get 60 lbs pressure with a hand pump. Or you could call a tow truck which would cost you.
Anyway, you are less likely to get a flat tire if you put on the new ones. That doesn't mean it is impossible to get a flat, but less likely if they are properly installed.
Buy new ones, they are one of the most important things on any automobile !
I don't know if their safe or not but have you broken one down and looked at the inside? Bud.
Sure you can run tires like that. Just be sure that your insurance is up to date and all your affairs are in order.
Are there flaps in those tires? Bud.
I've driven on worse, but I wouldn't recommend it.
I would suspect if you hunt around this winter, you will find some used but much better tires. be safe and swap 'em out.
Kenneth, Yes there are flaps in the tires. From what feed back I'm getting looks like touring is out of the question. I mostly drive solo. If I take my T out it will only be up and then back down my block,and at about 5MPH, just to keep things lubricated. Looks like the money I was saving for my heart transplant will be going to new tires, tubes and flaps. HA HA HA. Thanks for all of the T Members input. Mark
Mark, you could save some money by not buying un-necessary flaps! Not having to fit them will also give less heart problems!
Allan from down under.
Those are getting a bit past their best before date. Almost would not drive on them. i have a some used tires that are better than those, i was given them because they are not legal here. Someone in your country might have better tires for sale for much less than new cost.
Back then the cords where cotton. When wet the rot and that was a problem.
Todays cords are nylon. They do not rot.
I am a vehicle inspector for our club. If you brought that to me I would not issue a certificate to have that car on the road. Those tyres are well beyond their useby date and are dangerous.
Invest in some new ones.
Wayne is right; cotton rots. -A phone call to Universal Tire revealed that of the brands they manufacture (Universal, Firestone, Montgomery Wards Riverside), all have a 4-ply, nylon cord (and, for a given size, all have the same load rating). -If your tires were manufactured within, say, fifteen years, I'd guess the above applies, in which case it's unlikely you'd be very much endangered by cotton cords rotting out from under you. -If, however, your tires are much older than that, all bets would be off—unless you were riding on original Montgomery-Ward Riversides*, but your tires are Firestones.
There's a self-righteous part of me that wants to wag a finger in the air and exclaim, "Never compromise with safety!" -Oh, what baloney! -Operating a Brass-Era automobile is an exercise fraught with hazard even if the tires are brand new and the car, freshly restored. -But yes, the risk is less that way.
Every new tire is a time-bomb set to explode at some undetermined point after X-miles of wear and X-years of decomposition. -The trick, of course, is recognizing when you're shaving the safety margin sufficiently thin to say, "Okay, that's enough, " and invest in a fresh set of time-bombs. -I suspect you may be in that dangerous neighborhood. -If, like me, you can't invest $700 in a full set of new tires, perhaps you might replace just the two front tires (The odds of the car tumbling, in the event of a blow-out, is reduced if the tire failure is at the rear). -That would cut your cost and, theoretically, your blow-out risk in half—and perhaps you can buy the other pair of tires next year.
If you do decide to buy some new tires, be advised: Universal Tire admits that though their Firestone NON-SKID clinchers are made from the same recipe as their other black tires, they do wear out faster because of the tread design. -Not a good thing for a tire that's about twice the price of the others. -I used to have the NON-SKID tread incarnation of the Firestone tire on my front wheels and two sets wore out in rapid succession. -I finally wised up and replaced them with regular-tread Firestones.
Compared side by side, you can easily see that the regular-tread Firestone is about two inches taller than the NON-SKID Firestone. -Regular Treads handle better and wear much longer.
I buy my tires from Lang's because they drop-ship them directly from the manufacturer (as opposed to pulling aged, dried-out tires from the shelves of a warehouse), which means the rubber will be very fresh.
*The original, made-in-USA incarnation of the Montgomery-Ward Riverside tire is reputed to be the longest-lasting Model T tire ever produced. -But that was years ago. -Riverside's reputation for durability no longer applies because nowadays, all Model T clincher tires, including Riversides, come from the same factory in Vietnam and the same, much softer rubber recipe is used for all of the black tires. -I read somewhere that the new Ward Riversides don't last quite as long as the other tread designs because of a slightly smaller footprint, but that's baloney. -I measured both brands of tread and they're the same size.
So with Universal, Firestone, and Wards Riverside all made in the same factory from the same formula, the choice among them is based on price, which tread design is likely to last longest, and aesthetics. I have a pair of NON SKID front tires I got at an auction somewhere, but Bob's experience tells me I won't be buying any new ones, and if I put these on my car it won't be for serious driving.
T Drivers are bad, too. They're shaped like a bike tire, and have a small footprint until they're almost worn out. I wore out a pair in 2000 when Coker Excelsiors weren't available. I got only 6,000 miles from them on the rear, and my Cokers have lasted almost twice that.