If you have ever been concerned about the age of your tires understanding how to read the DOT date code printed on your tire will help you know how old your tire is.
Tire manufactures print the symbols to stay in compliance with United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety standards. Those raised digits are stamped to give information like who manufactured the tire, where it was made and the week and year when the tire was made. Once the tire has passed DOT testing as well as the NHTSA safety requirements, the tire can be stamped.
The DOT date code can usually be found located on the inner sidewall of the tires, but since DOT doesn’t regulate where the manufacturer has to place it on the tire you may have to scan your tire to locate this information. Once you locate the DOT stamp you want to look for the four-digit numbers that are usually located in an oval. The first two digits represent the week that the tire was made, and the last two digits represent the year the tire was produced. Some people tend to believe that those four numbers represent the week and year when DOT approved the tire, but that information is wrong, the simple fact that the tire has the stamp on it at all is proof that DOT has approved that tire and that it has passed the NHTSA safety guidelines.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you are buying your tire and reading the DOT date code. Even though you are purchasing a NEW tire, it may not have been made in the same year that you are making your purchase. Depending on where the tire was made it may have been stored for weeks, months or even a year before making it to your tire retailer. We here at Truck Tire Depot in Houston Texas store our tires both new and used so that they safe from the seasonal weather conditions that play a factor in the age life of a tire.
An optimal tire age is within five to seven years with some factors to take into consideration, for instance. Let’s say the average driver puts 15,000 miles on the tires per year, you will want to replace those tires every three years, and if your tires were lets say three years old already when you purchased them, you would still be within the optimal age frame for your tire life. But even if your tires have good tread life and are older than seven years you may want to still consider purchasing a new tire, or at least have a professional like one of our trained tire technicians look at them for you because the rubber can get hard and the sidewalls may start to crack.
The safety of drivers is always a top priority for us at Truck Tire Depot, located at 4524 N McCarty Drive in Houston Texas, and we are here 7 days a week if you have any questions on DOT date codes or any questions on tires in general we are always happy to help.