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Tire Age: How Old Are Your Tires?

Tire Age: How Old Are Your Tires?

Whether you bought your tires yourself, or they came on a new car you just purchased, you should know how old they are. But if you did not purchase them yourself, or you do not remember when you did, is there a way to find out the tire age of your tires?

The Department of Transportation and the Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires a code be stamped on the sidewall of every tire sold in the United States, like those offered by MTS Express in Springfield. This code gives you information about where and when the tire was manufactured.


Why Tire Age Matters

You may be wondering what the big deal is about how the age of your tires. After all, if they hold air and have decent tread, they should be good to go, right?

Unfortunately, that is not even close to the truth. Tires are made of rubber, which breaks down over time. So once the tire is manufactured, the clock starts ticking until the rubber will give way.

When the rubber gives way it causes a catastrophic failure of the tire. In a best-case scenario, you may find a flat before leaving. However, in the worst-case scenario, these failures lead to fatal accidents.

Generally, manufacturers recommend replacing tires at least every six years. You can see why the age of your tires is so important.


Signs of Aging Tires

Outside of the manufacturer’s stamp on the tire, there are signs that you can watch for that indicate your tire is starting to age. Keep in mind these signs do not indicate the manufacturing tire age, but rather the stage of degradation of the rubber material.

One of the most obvious signs of tire age on your tire is cracks. These may be small and nearly imperceptible in nature. They may occur on the sidewalls, near the tread, or even across the tire tread.

The climate in which you store your vehicle may cause your tires to wear more quickly. For instance, if your tires are stored outside, and they receive a lot of sun and heat, it will cause the rubber compounds to separate. This can happen more quickly than the expected six years, even with little driving.


Tires Manufactured Prior to 2000

First, you need to know what to look for on the sidewall. The code you are looking for starts with DOT and is then followed by a set of three alphanumeric characters. The numbers you are specifically interested in are the last three digits.

The first two indicate the week of the year the tires were manufactured. So if the number is 47, you know the tire was manufactured in November. The last digit tells you the year in the decade the tire was manufactured.

The problem with this particular method of dating is that it assumes that a tire is manufactured, installed, and then replaced within 10 years of when it was manufactured. This means there is no way to tell if a tire was made in 1989 versus 1999.


Tires Manufactured After 2000

Recognizing the problem with this approach the coding was changed in 2000. Since then, every tire now has four digits stamped into the sidewall. Like before, the first two digits indicate the week of the year the tire was manufactured. The second two digits indicate the two-digit year. This may pose a problem if we find tires are lasing more than 100 years, but with current technology that is not likely.

You should keep an eye on the condition of your tires in Springfield. When they start showing signs of aging, call MTS Express to evaluate their safety.

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