The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number stamped on the tire’s sidewall makes it easy to determine the age of your tires. This DOT number is usually a combination of letters and numbers. You need the last four numbers, often located in a raised oval. These last four numbers numbers signify the week and year of the tire’s manufacture (e.g., a tire stamped with 1515 would show the tire was manufactured on the 15th week of 2015).
Understanding the Shelf Life of a Tire
Many people do not realize that tires have a shelf life. Even if your tires have plenty of tread life left, most car owner manuals recommend replacing tires every six years. To ensure you replace them in the recommend amount of time, you need to know when the tire rolled off the production line at the plant. Simply tracking how long it has been since you bought the tires is not a good option, since they may sit in a warehouse or on a store shelf for weeks or even years before purchase.
Knowing the week and year of your tire’s manufacture can also play an important role in identifying if there is an open recall on your tire. Some recalls only affect tires made during a certain period or at a certain plant. By checking the manufacture date, you can ensure your tire is safe.
The Dangers of Aging Tires
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tires are more prone to failure as they age. Rubber degrades with heat and age, causing it to dry out and crack. This breakdown in the rubber can possibly lead to tread separation and other tire failure issues.
It is important to note that even when a tire is not in use, time and certain environmental conditions can cause the rubber to degrade. Since you cannot guarantee the manufacturer, distributor, and seller kept the tires in a storage facility with environmental controls — and since it is unlikely you keep your vehicle in a climate-controlled garage around the clock — it is important to follow the manual that came with your car to know when you should replace your tires.
Replacing Your Older Tires
Most automobile manufacturers warn drivers to replace vehicle tires after six years. This has become the industry standard.
Depending on how much you drive, you may never run into a tire that requires replacing before its tread life runs out. However, even if you only drive 100 miles a week, your tire’s age is still a big factor. For this reason, it is important to note the age of your new tires as soon as you get them and replace them based on your car manufacturer’s recommendation.
Tire Aging and Defective Tires
Like other car parts and related products, tires can have defects that can cause serious issues. Tread separation is the most common way tires fail. Tread separation usually occurs on older tires, although new tires can fail as well.
Other factors that contribute to tread separation include driving at high speeds and on hot asphalt. The heat that builds up in the tires under these conditions can exacerbate weakened rubber and other problems with the tire.
While replacing your tires every six years or according to your owner’s manual will help reduce the risk of tire failures because of age, it is also important to check tire recalls regularly to ensure there is not an open recall on your tires. The combination of older tires with a major defect could be deadly to you or other motorists.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Accident if Tire Failure Played a Role
Call us if you believe a defective tire caused your accident. The team at Newsome Melton can review the facts of your case and determine if we believe you have a valid claim for compensation. If we feel you have a strong defective tire case against the manufacturer, we can navigate the claims process on your behalf and potentially recover compensation to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repair or replacement, or other losses.
Call us today at 888-808-5977 or contact us through our online chat. We offer free reviews and handle many of these claims on a contingency fee basis. This means we do not recover compensation unless you do.