Used tires have been the subject of growing concern by automakers and safety advocates. While the tire industry has fought efforts to require clear manufacture dates be printed on tires, car manufacturers and regulatory agencies such as NHTSA have begun taking steps in the right direction. To determine the age of your tire, here is what you need to know:
1. The DOT serial number is on a tire’s sidewall near the wheel rim.
2. For tires manufactured in 2000 and after, there are four numbers at the end of the serial number. The first two numbers identify the week (from 01 to 52) and the last two numbers identify the year. If your tire has 4604 as the last four digits of your DOT number, it indicates the tire was manufactured in the 46th week of 2004
3. For tires made in 1999 and before, there are three numbers. The first two numbers indicate the week, the last number indicates the year, for example, the code 105 would indicate the tire was made in the 10th week of 1995, or in March 1995.
If you determine that your tires are 6 years or older, you may be at risk of a tire related failure or tread separation as a result of its age, and you should consider changing your tires immediately as a safety precaution.
Other Helpful Hints for Tire Safety:
- Check the tread. The tread will tell you a lot about the tire’s age and life left. To check tread depth, insert a penny into a groove in the tread upside down. If you can see Lincoln’s head, the tread is too worn.
- Look for wear and tear. A tire’s tread may check out OK, regularly checking for trouble spots is key to tire safety. Are the tires worn on the inside or outside? Are there any scrub marks that indicate the driver has hit a curb? Any type of damage can age the tire, even a small amount.
- Feel for dry rot. Even if the tire looks brand new, push on it. This will help determine if the tire has begun to dry rot. If dry rot has set in, the rubber can shred and cause your car to go out of control.