There’s been some confusion in the field about the difference between a tire’s shelf life and its service life. A tire’s shelf life generally refers to when it’s in storage. The tire might be on a pallet in a container, or on a vehicle not being exercised. The shelf life of tires and tires mounted as tire and wheel assemblies is five (5) or six (6) years from the date the tire was manufactured, depending on the tire type, but most types are (6) years. For example, if a tire or tire and wheel assembly has been sitting on a pallet for more than six (6) years from the manufacture date, it’s expired. Not all expired items are disposed of. An expired tire and wheel assembly may be turned in for repair or disposal depending on its supply code.
There isn’t an official Army policy on tire service life. Because service life depends on several factors, including temperature, storage conditions and use, there isn’t a policy for replacing tires at a certain service age once they are mounted on vehicles and exercised. To determine if a regularly-exercised tire is still fit for duty, inspect the tires according to the vehicle’s TMs, guidance from weapon system owners such as Safety of Use Messages (SOUMs) or other maintenance messages and TM 9-2610-200-14, Operators, Unit, Direct Support and General Support Maintenance Manual For Care, Maintenance Repair and Inspection Of Pneumatic Tires and Inner Tubes
(Sep 05). If a tire fails inspection because it’s cracked, damaged or looks unsafe, replace it regardless of how long it’s been in use.
Thanks, gents, for these timely tire shelf and service life tips.