When it comes to your tires you probably know the basics. You know the importance of a properly inflated tire and healthy tread depth. But what about how to tell the age of your tires? It is not uncommon for consumers to see what looks like a brand new tire and take it at face value. The truth is that a tire can sit on a shelf in a warehouse for a decade and still look brand new. At Your Buddy Steve’s we always put the safety of our clients first and that includes their tires.
The next time you purchase a new set of tires or a new or used vehicle, used this guide to make sure those tires are safe.
What’s Wrong With Old Tires?
A tire that has been sitting on a shelf for years may not seem like a bad thing, but tires are rubber and rubber is prone to dry rot. When tires sit, they often begin to dry rot from the inside out making it easier for them to fail and blow out. These tires may look great and completely fine, but once the pressure of the road is applied they are basically ticking time bombs.
How Old is Too Old?
Most manufacturers recommend that you not drive on tires that are older than six years. Tires that are over six years old should be discarded and should certainly never be put on a vehicle.
How Can You Tell the Age of a Tire?
The United States Department of Transportation requires a DOT number to be put on every tire during the manufacturing process. This number can be found on the sidewall of your tire and says DOT followed by a series of letters and numbers.
It may look like a jumble of unbreakable code, but it actually has all the information you need to know about when and where the tire was made if you can read it.
What Does It All Mean?
Unless you are just dying to know where your tire was made, our main concern right now is finding out when it was made. To find the age of your tire, you just need to look at the last three or four digits in the series. If your tire was made after the year 2000, the last cluster of numbers in the series should be four digits. Tires made before 2000 only have three digits in the final cluster.
For tires made after 2000, the first two numbers in that final series represent the week of the year that the tire was made. The last two digits symbolize the year itself. For example, if the last four digits in the series are 0219, then you know that the tire was made in the second week of 2019.
Tires made before 2000 are a little trickier. If your tire only has 3 digits in the final grouping, you already know they are too old to put on your car. But for fun, let’s learn to read those, too. The first two numbers of the final digits still represent the week of the year, but only the final number signifies the year. And there is no way to know the decade. So if the number is 088, you know that it was made in the eighth week of the year, but was that year 1988 or 1998.
Your safety is important to the team at Your Buddy Steve’s. We hope this handy guide will help you buy smarter when it comes to tires. If you are in the market for new tires, give us a call and take advantage of our comprehensive tires services and auto repair expertise.