How To Tell The Age Of Tires – In addition to knowing tire basics like pressure, tread depth, and tire type, you should also know how old your tires are.
Like other tire wear and performance factors, age affects the performance of your tires, which in turn affects the overall safety and performance of your vehicle.
How To Tell The Age Of Tires
Not sure how old your current tires are? Don’t worry, we’ll show you how to find out easily.
Easy Guide To Evaluate Your Tire’s Health
Scan the sidewall of the tire clockwise to find the letters “DOT” (meaning the tire complies with US Department of Transportation laws and regulations).
Just to the right of “DOT” (clockwise) is a series of letters and numbers followed by a surrounding set of four numbers in close proximity – these are the numbers you need.
On this Michelin tire, the date code is “2118”. This indicates that the tire was manufactured in 21
Tires are made from many organic, natural materials. Like other organic materials, the rubber compound in tires degrades over time. Exposure to the oxidizing “elements” of the environment, sunlight, weather, all of these lead to the slow but inevitable degradation of the materials that make up the tire.
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A general rule of thumb is that the maximum lifespan of a tire is around ten years. Starting at age five, tires should be checked annually for condition and signs of age-related degradation.
“As a precaution, Michelin recommends replacing tires with new tires if they have not been replaced 10 years after their date of manufacture. Even if they appear to be in serviceable condition and have not worn out on the tread wear index. This also applies to spare tires.” – MichelinMan.com What happens to tires that are too old?Is there a visual sign?
Yes definitely. Dry rot and cracking are common in aging tires. As tire materials degrade, they will show visual signs of cracking.
Check the sidewall and tread of the tire for punctures, discoloration (drying-related lightening), or cracks/cracks.
Broken Belt In Tire
However, while over-aged tires can sometimes provide visual clues to their damaged condition, this is not always the case. This is especially true due to the superior quality and durability of modern tires, as well as the advanced anti-aging materials used in their manufacture. Even if your tires show no signs of failure, tire age should be a priority. Do not use tires past their maximum useful life, even if they still look “good”.
In some cases, drivers experience a decrease in performance and traction associated with tire aging. If your tires still have adequate tread depth and show no visual signs of degradation, the age of the tires may still be contributing to the perception of reduced traction.
Yes, old tires can provide reduced, inadequate performance, especially if they are rotted to dry, pitted or cracked. These are signs that the rubber compound has lost its elasticity and therefore cannot interact properly with the road surface.
Tires are often thought of as rigid, rigid objects, but they are not. A tire’s agility, flexibility and tread-road interaction as it rolls is critical to its grip and performance.
Your Tires Might Look Safe, But Are They? Beware As The Years Go By
Most likely. Tire tread wear associated with typical driving and use can occur long before the tire fails due to aging.
Exceptions include vehicles that are used only occasionally, such as classic or show cars. And don’t forget the spare tire, they usually don’t get replaced throughout the life of the vehicle. Under normal spare tire storage conditions (such as in the trunk), these unused tires may be fitted in an emergency several years after the normal life of the tire. However, especially if your vehicle has the spare wheel mounted on the outside of the vehicle, it is a good idea to check the condition at least once a year.
The best solution for occasional use is to store your tires indoors, which avoids degradation from environmental factors such as UV rays, ozone and extreme temperature fluctuations. If you’re familiar with the seasonal freeze-thaw damage that happens on the road, the same basic process happens to tires in the cold and hot summer temperature range.
Tires stored in temperate conditions away from direct sunlight and ozone will degrade less than parked (loaded) tires subject to fluctuations in temperature, humidity, direct light, etc.
Do My Tires Need To Be Replaced?
If it is not possible to remove the wheels and tires before long-term storage, do your best to check the environment in which your vehicle is parked. Avoid direct sunlight, exposure to rain and of course avoid parking/standing in wet conditions.
Make sure you are looking at the sidewall of the tire, the sidewall facing the “outside” of the vehicle. The sidewall of the inner tube also shows DOT information, but usually not the date the tire was manufactured.
If you are sure you are checking the correct tire sidewall – under very unusual wear conditions or when you repeatedly “wear” the tire sidewall while driving, the tire age data may have worn down to the point of being unreadable . Check any of your other tires for a cleaner print.
Most modern tires come with a “labor and materials” warranty that covers abnormal, premature degradation of the material. For Michelin, this warranty extends for six years from the date of purchase.
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“Your tire may be allocated under this warranty for replacement during the useful life of the original usable tread or six (6) years from the date of purchase, whichever occurs first.” – MichelinMan.com Make sure you activate your tire warranty and keep your proof of purchase.
In the unlikely event that premature tire aging occurs, a warranty can be claimed. Your proof of purchase (emailed to you with any purchase) will support your warranty claim – not to mention a rough indication of the tire’s age if you can’t inspect the tire’s sidewall yourself.
Now that you know the age and maximum lifespan of your tires, isn’t it time to get a new set of tires?
Plug in your vehicle or tire size information and buy a new set of tires. Or, give us a call at 866-961-8668 and we’ll be happy to help you find some good quality, durable and affordable new tires for your vehicle.
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It’s not fun, it’s not cool, it’s not even exciting. But once you know what it is, it can be very useful.
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If you thought tire storage was as easy as stacking tires in the garage – check out these helpful tips. This copy is for personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation copies of Toronto Star content for distribution to colleagues, customers or clients, or to inquire about rights/permissions, visit: www.TorontoStarReprints.com
How Long Do Tires Last And When Should I Replace Them?
How long have those tires been sitting in the back of your garage or stacked in the corner of your basement? What about those in your RV, trailer or RV? While tread wear should be considered when determining whether a tire is safe, so is its age, as it will wear over time and its rubber will harden and become brittle from lack of use . How do you know when your tires were manufactured?
“I think it’s a good question, especially in Canada, where there are winter tires as well as all-season tires,” said Russell Sheppard, director of technical communications for Michelin North America. It’s actually pretty easy to tell the age of a tire, he said. On the sidewall of each tire is an identification number, a series of letters and numbers that contains useful information about the manufacturer and owner of the tire.
While the actual code is quite long, only the last four digits really matter. For example, a row ending in 4215 will tell you that the tire was manufactured in the 42nd week of 2015, which is about five and a half years old. Shepherd said the code on an old tire can end in as few as three numbers. This is due to the millennium when the calendar changed from 1999 to 2000, so the early 2000s are represented by single digits. “This is just to make sure the tire is really clean when it’s manufactured,” he said.
Shepherd said the Canadian government currently has no regulations regarding the age of tires, but Michelin recommends that their tires are good for 10 years from the date of manufacture. “If you’re looking at a tire and it’s less than 10 years old, we recommend getting your tire serviced regularly and having it checked by a professional,” he said. “It’s been a good tire for 10 years [of manufacture].”
Interpreting Dot Tire Codes: Where And When Were Your Tires Made?
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