Friday, May 16, 2008

Do you know how old your tires are?

I am not talking about when you bought them. Most of us know that. I am talking about when your tire was made, manufactured? Did you know that each tire has a special code on it, a code that will tell you what week and what year that tire was made.

I didn't know any of this until I watched a special on 20/20 that aired last Friday. When I finally sat down to watch it on Sunday(thanks DVR) I was shocked. I made Joe come in and watch it and he also thought it was very informative.

The segment that aired was to inform owners that when you go to the store to buy a brand new tire that it may not actually be a brand new tire. Yes, new in the sense that it has never been driven on but perhaps it may have not been made that year. A tire that is over six years old whether it has been driven on or not starts to deteriorate. The inner layers start to dry out.

Here is what 20/20 and ABC had to say.

Aged Tires: A Hidden Danger on the Road?
Contrary to popular belief, you can't judge a tire by its cover. Researchers and most experts agree that along with tread depth and proper tire maintenance, tire age is also crucial to your safety on the road.
This tire was bought as new -- it has never been on the road -- but was nearly 14 years old when purchased. Despite its deep treads, this tire's inside layers have been slowly decomposing and drying out, what experts say make it like "a ticking time bomb."

Attorney Roger Braugh shows Brian Ross that aged tires have a higher potential for dramatic tread separation, which in many cases has led to tragic endings for unsuspecting motorists. Braugh says his lawsuits on behalf of dozens of victims have uncovered a pattern of corporate neglect and government inaction on the issue of aging tires.

This graphic breaks down the various codes in the Department of Transportation's serial number for tires. A cryptic code of four numbers at the end of the 12-digit DOT serial number can tell the consumer which week and year a tire was manufactured. Can you tell when your tires were made?

This tire's DOT code indicates that it was made in the 41st week of 1994. Tires made in the 1990s have three numbers at the end of the DOT code, while tires made after 2000 have four numbers.

This tire is more than seven years old. It was made in the 13th week of 2001. According to experts like Sean Kane, who runs a private auto safety research firm, tires older than six years get increasingly more dangerous regardless of how long they've actually been on the road.

Here is a video: there is a quick advertisement and then the segment.

Please go out and check how old your tires are, and the next time it's time to buy new tires make sure to check the code.


johnandvic said...

Cool.. I have heard about this before but blew it off..I don't know why?!?!? .. I went out and checked and ours on the van says 1307..(13 week in 07) and we got ours in May of 07. What does yours say?? Thanks for the info :)

Anonymous said...

Dawn, these are the numbers I have..
S-60-6U E 0234705 then BIG PRINT I have: 195/60R15 88H

What does that mean? Now that I"ve read your article I'll go check my tires again with a better understanding of what I'm looking for.