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TIL My tires are original!


100Timelord

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I used to think I only really had to look at tread depth. Boy was I wrong.

So I was (serendipitously) driving to buy a set of 4 spare tires/rims for a great deal. It was the first highway drive I was going on, and as soon as I hit 70 for the first time, I knew something was off. The truck was SHAKING, all over. Like I was driving over gravel. Eventually it settled down, and eventually I settle down and put my mind on other things.

An hour later I meet up with the guy, and as we're talking Rangers I mention the shaking. He goes, "could be your tires". Pish posh I say, the tread depth is great!

I get home, and start to look over the 4 tires/rims I just bought. "I wonder how old they are," I think to myself. I Google it and learn about DOT numbers. Half of the four are from 05'. In the words of Dyatlov, "Not great, not terrible." The other two are from 2019. Cherrio.

"How old are the tires on there now," I wonder. And there is the rub. I look at the DOT number.

There are three digits. Three.

2. 9. 7.

This Ranger was manufactured in 1997. The tires have never been changed, or if they were, are still 24 years old.

Excuse me, as I get to switching out all the tires.

[To make this substantive--the tires on there now are 215/75/R14. The new ones are 225/70/R14. Are these on the same size rim, or are the rims different? In terms of width, not diameter]
 


alwaysFlOoReD

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Its not a big jump in width, likely the same rims.
 

100Timelord

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Its not a big jump in width, likely the same rims.
Yes, this is about what I thought but just wanted to make sure. I had planned to swap out the tires on these spares I just bought for winter tires, but when I had the "duh" moment of realizing my tires were ancient, I just slapped them on muh truck. Of course my whole purpose being on this forum and wrenching on my Ranger is to learn, and part of that is making dumb mistakes. Like not realizing your tires are dated 1997. Still, they held air very well, so that was impressive.
I am sort of relieved, too--I had noticed the shaking/vibrations and assumed something was terribly wrong with the suspension. Nope. Just driving on four Hockey pucks! Of course I will still have to get the 05' tires replaced, but I have some peace of mind for now. As I find more and more things wrong with my truck, I become all the more impressed at the abuse these things take. The Ranger lives to die another day!
 

100Timelord

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Actually, continuing this thread--since I am in need of some good 225/70R14 tires, where can I get them? Especially winter tires in that size. I'm not looking for off-roading or mud tires, but a good pair of all-seasons and a good set of 4 winter/snow tires. My local Discount Tire/Tires Plus seem to have pretty disappointing selections.
 

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I usually look at the Tire Rack website... they seem to have most tire from about every supplier.

The selection for that size is pretty dismal.

I know a few people have switched to 15 inch wheels to get a better selection.
 

Blmpkn

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I've always got substantially better deals on tires from ebay than tire rack or any of those websites.
 

Uncle Gump

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I wasn't saying to buy from them...

Just that it was a good resource to check availability.
 

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HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST TIRE RACK!? RAAAHHH!
 

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Are your 1997's tires Firestones? The reason I ask is I have 3 1997 Firestone tires and one 1992 on my Ranger. The tires have lots of tread (like yours) and no checking or signs of deterioration, so I also had no idea of how old they were till I ran the DOT numbers. Going to replace the ASAP. The good news for me is my truck has 91K on the odo and I was a little worried that it might have been 191K, but with the age of the tires I'm pretty sure they were replaced in 97 and the original spare was put on around the same time, based on tread. I still can't get over how good the tires look for their age.
 
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100Timelord

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Are your 1997's tires Firestones?
They were not Firestones, no. I don't remember the brand off the top of my head. The spare is a firestone though, so it's possible the truck came with firestones from factory.
 

55trucker

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The spare may very well be a Firestone FR480, those were the defacto tire mounted to Ford trucks back then.

I still have the original spare hanging under my truck.
 

100Timelord

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The spare may very well be a Firestone FR480, those were the defacto tire mounted to Ford trucks back then.

I still have the original spare hanging under my truck.
Huh, good to know! Is that tire worth replacing, or since it may rarely (if ever) be used is it just not worth it?
 

55trucker

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It has approx 75 miles use on it....looks good under the truck, as for reliability?.....that's debatable.
 

Bgunner

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I still have my Firestone fr480 as a spare and have used it when I had a out of round tire. Still holds pressure over time and I'm not replacing it till it dry rots.

As for tire selection for 14 inch rims. The selection for the 225/70's is absolutely horrible. Forget about getting new snows in that size as they are not made anymore. I had to swap to 15's for my winter set because there are none for that size for winter tires. As for all seasons I think you can still get the Cooper cobra gt's in the 225/70R14 though but no snows.

For winter size I went with 225/70R15 which are 1 inch larger than stock. For summers I run 215/75R14 which are about a half inch taller but 10mm skinner. The 215's are a lot easier to get by the way.
 

racsan

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I have the original spare from my 93, has about 100 miles or less. very weather cracked though even though it spends time out of the direct sunlight. The problem with older tires (even if they look good) is that something breaks down with the rubber over time, They wont be as grippy and can blow on you for no apparent reason. 2 cases in point:
(1) many years ago I bought a mint 93 taurus, only had 20K miles on it, original firestones. in wet weather you couldnt hardly get stopped without sliding tires and it didnt take much to lose traction from a stop. Absolutely horrible in winter, couldnt get a grip. after that first winter I put new tires on, made all the difference in the world.
(2) I had bought a used ranger for $500, at the time I was driving a ‘92 2wd with wheels that looked absolutely horrid, alloys that had seen a lot of salt and little to no care took of them, this 97 I had bought had decent deer-hoof rims, had been told it was vandalized once and the guy put junkyard tires on it. I didnt give it much thought as they held air and the tread looked good. I swapped the deer hoofs onto the 92 and a week or so later I was on the outskirts of town on a interstate, normally a 65 mph road. I was going around a semi when the left front let go- at about 65/70. Some how I completed the pass, got over to the side to change the tire (very little left ) Both fronts were the same so I took a good look at the date code, I knew they were old, hadnt seen uniroyal tiger paws in years. Turns out those fronts were new in 1986. Very old.
So be cautious about running old tires, I know my winter tires for the ranger are about 10 years old now but slip easily on wet pavement. tread looks ok, not weather cracked, decent brand too (bridgestone blizzacks) But I feel the rubber is hardning with age and they just dont grip like they used too.
 

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