Friday, May 22, 2009

Determining the Age of a Tire

I read this article and thought it would be useful to all of you when buying new tires or RV's and want to know the real age of the tire.

source; TireRack.com
When it comes to determining the age of a tire, it is easy to identify when a tire was manufactured by reading its Tire Identification Number (often referred to as the tire’s serial number). Unlike vehicle identification numbers (VINs) and the serial numbers used on many other consumer goods (which identify one specific item), Tire Identification Numbers are really batch codes that identify the week and year the tire was produced.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires that Tire Identification Numbers be a combination of the letters DOT, followed by ten, eleven or twelve letters and/or numbers that identify the manufacturing location, tire size and manufacturer's code, along with the week and year the tire was manufactured.

Tires Manufactured After 2000: Since 2000, the week and year the tire was produced has been provided by the last four digits of the Tire Identification Number with the 2 digits being used to identify the week immediately preceding the 2 digits used to identify the year.

Example of a tire manufactured since 2000 with the current Tire Identification Number format:

In the example above:

DOT U2LL LMLR 5107
DOT U2LL LMLR 5107 Manufactured during the 51st week of the year
DOT U2LL LMLR 5107 Manufactured during 2007

While the entire Tire Identification Number is required to be branded onto one sidewall of every tire, current regulations also require that DOT and the first digits of the Tire Identification Number must also be branded onto the opposite sidewall. Therefore, it is possible to see a Tire Identification Number that appears incomplete and requires looking at the tire’s other sidewall to find the entire Tire Identification Number


Tires Manufactured Before 2000:The Tire Identification Number for tires produced prior to 2000 was based on the assumption that tires would not be in service for ten years. While they were required to provided the same information as today’s tires, the week and year the tire was produced was contained in the last three digits. The 2 digits used to identify the week a tire was manufactured immediately preceded a single digit used to identify the year.
Example of a tire manufactured before 2000 with the earlier Tire Identification Number format:
In the example above manufactured before 2000:

DOT EJ8J DFM 408
DOT EJ8J DFM 408 Manufactured during the 40th week of the year
DOT EJ8J DFM 408 Manufactured during the 8th year of the decade

While the previous Tire Identification Number format identified that a tire was built in the 8th year of a decade, there was no universal identifier that confirmed which decade (tires produced in the 1990s may have a small triangle following the Tire Identification Number to identify the decade).

And finally, hold on to your sales receipt. Most tire manufacturer's warranties cover their tires for four years from the date of purchase or five years from the week the tires were manufactured. So if you purchase new tires that were manufactured exactly two years ago they will be covered for a total of six years (four years from the date of purchase) as long as you have your receipt. If you lose your receipt, your tires' warranty coverage will end five years from the week the tire was produced (resulting in the tire manufacturer's warranty coverage ending only three years from the date of purchase in this example).


20/20 RUNS SPECIAL REPORT ON DANGERS OF OLD TIRES
On Friday, May 9, 2008, the ABC news show 20/20 ran a special report on the dangers of old tires. The news show used undercover reporters to purchase "new" tires from various retailers and tire stores. Some of these so-called new tires were anywhere from four to 14 years old!

The report said these old tires are "ticking time bombs." As rubber ages, it increases the risk of the tread separating from the tire, causing a sudden blowout and loss of control of the vehicle.

The average consumer assumes that when they buy new tires for their vehicle, they are getting new tires, not old unsold tires that may have been sitting in a warehouse for years.

The date code is not obvious, and if you don't know how to read it, it is just a meaningless number on the side of the tire.

The 20/20 report said that because there is no expiration date on tires, it creates a potential hazard for consumers who buy new tires but are actually getting old tires that may be too dangerous to use.

The 20/20 report said some experts are now recommending an expiration date of only 6 years from the date of manufacture, whether a tire has been in use on a vehicle or has been sitting in a warehouse.

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