Every tire has a “manufactured” date or as Budweiser would call it, a “Born-On” date. Like beer, tires have a shelf life too. It is very important that you know how old tires are before you buy them. Since tire rubber deteriorates over time if its stored under less than optimal conditions. Drinking old beer can pose a health risk or to a lesser extent, bad taste in your mouth. Installing an older tire on the other hand, can pose a very serious safety risk, even death.
Industry standard suggests that a tire should be removed from service if its older than 6 years. If stored properly, a tire could be used even if it’s two years old. Remember this is under the assumption that the tire are stored properly. In warm states (where the potential of tires’ “drying out” is high), you probably want tires that are less than one year old. So read each tire carefully BEFORE you have them installed. The last thing you want is to have a four year old tire and then drive on them for another three.
To learn how to read the sidewall for the “manufactured” date, find the DOT (Dept of Transportation) Markings on the sidewall of your tires. The DOT markings help track the tire in the same way food is tracked. Circled in the image below, you will see the last for digits of the DOT markings on one of my tires. The first two numbers are the week (08), and the last two are year (08). So my tires were “born” on the 8th week of the 2008 calendar year or February 2008. Not bad since I got the car three months later.
Back in May 2008, there was a story on this same topic on ABCNEWS. Check it out!
I hope everyone takes the time to check their tires and get new ones if needed. I know they can get expensive, but life is priceless.