10 year old full-size spare...

My 97 Camry is heading toward it's 10th birthday, had a flat tire last month and noticed that my full-size spare is virtually brand-new. My question
is...can I use this tire as a normal tire when I purchase new ones and use one of my better looking used tires/rim as my new spare. Is my full-size spare OK after sitting unused in my trunk for 10 years? It's a pretty nice Michelin tire.
Thanks
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My policy has always been to buy new tires in a set of four - but once, when money was tight I used the full sized spare that had been in a well in the trunk, just like the Toyota spare is stored, and had no problems with it. My opinion -- it is the sun that rots tires. There's been no load on it, no belt separation, no blistering in the sidewalls -- as a matter of principle, I like to use a set of new matched identical tires. The only thing I can see with the older tire, is that the rubber may have hardened somewhat, so the sidewalls may not flex like a fresh tire, so there could be some differences in handling, but when I swapped in the spare, it was a matter of economics (no money at the time). If you can afford a set of tires, that's the better way to go, not because you'll avoid some disastrous result, but they just work better being all exactly alike at all four corners - same brand, model and date of manufacture.
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Tires go hard and slippery, simply stick your fingernail in it and feel it, it should be hard compared to a new one, that makes it unsafe in bad weather and thats when you need grip. If it is soft like new use it, sun rots tires but I think age is rulling it a hard spare. My 4 yr old michelins rears got hard compared to 2 new fronts and ive had a few close calls, spinouts, this week im getting 2 new ones. Miles is not the only thing to make a tire bad ive learned, time does it as well
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That would have been a good idea -- IF you had included the spare when you rotated the tires from when it was new. Well, you'd have gotten extra mileage out of five tires that you wouldn't have out of just four. Now I think it's a bad idea because your spare is old and hard, not new and supple like the new tires will be, so there'll be a mismatch among the tires. A BAD situation.
Next time you have a new car with a full-size spare, include the spare in the rotation (I prefer to cross-rotate the tires for uniform wear, and you CAN do that with modern radials, unlike the radials of yore) so you'll be getting all the wear you can out of all the tires you have.
-Don (doing just that on his '06 Camry)
--
"What do *you* care what other people think?" --Arline Feynman

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    I have had mixed results on this issue. I had an old Mercury Comet (' 71) that had a factory spare in it when I bought it, from the original owner. He verified it and was quite proud of that fact. I drove the car for about two months in 84 which made it approx. 13 years old. then had to use the spare. It made about two or three miles and threw all the tread..........all of it. you know those pieces you see off semi's?........that kind.........still held air though. Needless to say, it hadn't seen much air or sun either. Just aged.     My second experience was much different,(almost the same age tire though) and the tire made it no problem for a few weeks. However, I just had a bad memory of the old comet tire, so I felt better for replacing it with new.     As an aside, I gotta hand it to whoever built Montgomery Wards' tires. My dad had a '49 Plymouth that had tires put on it in 1961, those tires ( all but one) were still holding back in 2001 when he sold the car. Just to add to that scenario, I had a guy give me a '65 dart convertible back in the late '80's and that car had montgomery Wards tires that had been on it since '71 or '72, had grass growing in cracks in the sidewalls and they held air for most of a year while I worked on that car and drove it daily to work and back.     Basically , I guess I'd recommend against using that spare for anything other than a spare............

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Thanks everyone for all the great advice....the spare will stay in the trunk.

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