I learn something around here every day. This story is really an eye opener for those that use their cars as their office. Even family, friends and clients that drive. Our lives rely on our tires! Please be sure to read this and check your tires today.
When my family met in Grants Pass Oregon for an annual gathering, my brother's motor home had two tires that virtually exploded on his way South. He was pretty upset about it, not because of the cost, time and frustration, but because the tires really weren't that old. Or so he thought. What my brother was told at the service station is that when he bought those "new" tires, they weren't really new.
So of course I wondered how "new" my tires were when they were installed. There is a cryptic code at the end of a string of letters and numbers on each tire that will tell you. My tires said 0806 which means they were manufactured in the 8th week (08) of 2006 (06) or Feb/06. When I pulled out my vehicle records, I found I had those tires installed "brand new" a year and a half later in Aug/07.
This surprised me because when I went to this very busy tire shop, the tires I needed weren't in stock. I had to wait a week for them to be delivered. Where were those tires stored for one and a half years?
There is a belief that a tire should have a shelf life because they dry out and lose their elasticity. Many feel (our auto industry included) that the shelf life should be 6 years, and any tire in use OR ON A STORE SHELF 6 years after it's manufacture date should be replaced. ABC's 20/20 did an undercover investigation of the growing problem of old tires being sold as new, I highly suggest you watch their story.
Want to know how old your tires are? Look for the letters DOT (Department Of Transportation) on the side of your tire and follow to the end. The last 3 or 4 NUMBERS will tell you the manufacture date. Here are examples ...
- 414 - manufactured the 41st week in 1994
- 4202 - manufactured the 42nd week in 2002
- 231 - manufactured the 23rd week in 1991
- 3507 - manufactured the 35th week in 2007
If you can't find your DOT code, you will need to get a flashlight and crawl under your car, the tire manufacturers were at one time allowed to put these numbers in the INSIDE side of the tire.
If you are driving on OLD tires, REGARDLESS OF WHEN THEY WERE INSTALLED, you could be endangering the precious cargo that you haul around everyday. Your clients, your kids, your grand-kids. Please check your tires today before the holidays begin ... it could save your life.