Last Updated on September 10, 2022 by John K. Clifford
Are you wondering how old your tires are? Well, this is the article you want to read till the end. The tire manufacture date is easy to find, and all you need to do is check your tires.
To know the tire manufacture date, look at the last four numbers of the DOT code. The first two numbers tell you the week of manufacture, and the last two are the year. So, if the code is 2216, your tires were made on the 22nd week of 2016.
Manufacturers don’t mention the specific date. But you have seven guesses once you know the week when the tire was made.
Why seven guesses? Well, weeks have seven days.
Using the same example of 2216, we see that the 22nd week was between May 30th and June 5th. That means that manufacturers made the tire at that time.
And that’s all you can know about the tire manufacture date.
Now, in this article, you’ll learn the following:
1. The DOT Code and How it Works (Tire Identification)
2. How Long Are Tires Good After Manufacture Date?
3. Do Tires Have Expiry Dates?
4. What Factors Reduce the Lifetime of Tires?
5. How To Increase The Life Of Tires
Let’s get on with it!
The DOT Code (Department Of Transportation)
For tires to have the DOT code, they have to pass the standards set for US tire sales. So that gives you confidence in the tires you buy.
And what if some tires record negative issues? Something like tire failure following impact with road hazards? Well, the manufacturer and the government use the DOT code to recall the defective tires.
If the DOT code is absent or incomplete, it could mean:
1. That the current regulations only allow for a section of the code.
2. Or the tires are not fit for sale.
Examples Of Tire Manufacture Date
Since we’re focusing on the dates, here’s a table that translates some DOT codes:
|Last Four Digits Of DOT Code||Week Of Tire Manufacturing||Year Of Manufacture||Possible Dates Of Manufacture|
|5200||52nd||2000||Dec. 25th to Dec. 21st|
|1217||12th||2017||Mar. 20th to Mar. 26th|
|4115||41st||2015||Oct. 5th to Oct. 11th|
Tires Made Before 2000
Before 2000, the DOT tire manufacturer codes appeared differently on tires. The numbers had three digits.
For example, a tire could have the code 307:
1. The first two digits (30) are the week of tire manufacture.
2. The last digit (7) was the year, but that wasn’t very clear. That’s because the 7 could mean 1977, 1987, or 1997.
Since the date was not clear, people used other details to determine the specific decade. These details included size, brand, or the entire tire identification code.
For example, if the tire had 307 but carried the label P215/75R/15, it was a 1987 make. That is because P-metric sizing was popular in the 1980s.
It is only after 2000 that tire identification became clear.
Figure: DOT code of a tire made on the 40th week of 2016, courtesy of CokerTire.com.
How Long Are Tires Good After Manufacture Date?
Many carmakers say that your tires are good for six years after the manufacture date. After that, you should replace them. The more time you spend with old tires, the riskier your driving becomes.
Michelin and Continental say their brands can last for up to 10 years. But, you will need to take them for annual inspections after the 5th year of driving.
Do Tires Have Expiry Dates?
Tires only have manufacture dates and don’t have expiry dates. It isn’t easy to set an expiry date since other factors affect their lifetime.
But generally, tires expire after five years, six years tops.
What Factors Reduce The Lifetime of Tires?
Some factors that can dramatically decrease your tire’s life include:
1. Poor care and maintenance
2. High levels of heat and humidity
3. Improper Storage
Let’s look at each aspect.
Care And Maintenance
Tires are arguably an essential part of the car, so they need good care. Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself:
1. Have I inflated my tires with the right amount of pressure? If you underinflate your tires, they will wear quicker. Also, they put you at risk of getting into an accident.
2. Have I hit curbs too many times? The more you hit a curb, the more you cause an impact on your tires. Soon enough, they won’t serve you efficiently.
3. Do I drive the car much? If you only spin your wheel on weekends, your tires will last longer. But if you crank your engine each day, don’t be surprised when you need to replace them after three years.
4. Have I repaired punctures many times? The more you puncture your tire, the less likely it’ll live longer. Also, repairs weaken the structural integrity of a tire, so always check the road. And if you see anything that could poke your rubbers, drive past it.
Researchers at NHTSA found that in warmer climates, tires age quicker. Also, conditions like coastal climates and sunlight speed up tire aging. So, if you live in warmer areas like Florida, don’t expect to drive your Michelins for ten years.
And the opposite is true. Tires in colder climates live longer, and drivers don’t have to worry much about their wheels.
This factor applies to your spare tires. If your spare tires sit in your garage for long, they will age but slower.
If you want your spare to last, get tire covers from Amazon. That way, you’ll prevent dust and humid air from acting on the rubber.
How To Increase The Life Of Tires
All tires wear out, and all tires need replacement. But you can always delay retiring them by following these steps:
1. If you have winter tires, remove them when summer comes. If you use winter tires during summer, you’re decreasing their life. So, always make the appropriate choices and fit the best tires.
2. When you swap out tires, store them well. Place them in a space free of dust and wetness. That way, you’ll delay the aging process.
3. When cleaning your tires, use soap and water only. Use a tire brush to remove all the brake dust, grime, and dirt. Then, ensure that they dry well before you start spinning them again.
If you use strong bleaches, you may break the tread and weaken the tire. And that’s not something you want happening.
5. Avoid placing the tires on the bare floor. Instead, get clean pieces of wood and use them to raise the tires.
6. Also, do not stack your spare tires on each other. Since tires are heavy, placing them horizontally introduces stress to the rubber material. That may distort their shape and render them useless.
7. Before you install spare tires, let a professional inspect them. That way, they’ll know their condition and see if they’re roadworthy or not.
It does not matter how old the tires are. What is important is maintaining them regularly and inspecting them properly.
Now, you know how to check for the tire manufacture date. The DOT code runs on the tire’s sidewall, and it has everything you need. You’ve seen that you can even guess the day it was made. How about that!
Tires don’t have expiry dates, but they become less valuable after 5 – 6 years. After that, you may need to replace them. But if you want more time with your tires, maintain them well.
With all the factors in mind, you’ll know what to expect when you buy your Michelins. And if you adopt the tips given here, you’ll enjoy your tires for years.
Now, why don’t you share this article? I’m sure many other drivers are waiting for it, and they’ll be happy to hear from you.