Our 2006 Lotus Elise needs new tires. We’ve covered some of this ground before, but here it is two-and-a-half years later and we have yet to deal with the issue.
The SCM Elise now has about 22,000 miles showing. It has been driven less than 1,000 miles since I suffered my stroke in 2019.
Editor-in-Chief Jeff Sabatini recently put nearly half of those miles on it when he took it to the nearest dealer, Park Place in Seattle. The car’s computer had suffered a glitch and had forgotten its own VIN number, making it impossible to run the car through DEQ.
With that problem solved, and the car now legal to drive, we’re having a chicken-or-the-egg situation.
The Yokohama Advan tires on the car have date-coded out, as the fronts are from 2007 and the rears are from 2010. They are also out-of-round from sitting and a vibration can be felt through through the Elise’s non-assisted steering.
The sidewalls are not cracked and the tires have plenty of tread — that’s not the issue. The car has never been parked outside overnight, and it has spent its life in a climate-controlled garage.
If it is to continue its life mostly sitting parked, there’s little reason to fit new tires. But nobody wants to drive the car in its current state.
Even if we do replace the tires, the car is unlikely to accumulate more than 1,000 miles a year, and I worry that the new tires will also get flat-spotted from sitting in storage.
The good news is that replacement tires have gotten a little more affordable since the last time we looking into it, with a set of four now only about $800, which is 30% less than they were in 2021.
An enormous fog of information and misinformation surrounds the topics of tires and ageing. I thought I would reach out to you for your real-world experiences.
After how many years do you replace your tires? Does it matter if the tires have been shielded from UV light? Do you overinflate your tires before storage? Does it help if you put your tires in little cradles to help keep them from getting flat-spotted? And does the use of nitrogen make any difference?
If you were in my place, and owned a sports car that was being driven less than 1,000 miles a year, how would you manage its tires?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.