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“New” tires – blast from the past

Written by maryp posted on Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

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A recent 20/20 segment exposed the fact that tires have a “shelf life”. They determined that a number of large chain tire stores sold tires that were 12 or 14 years old! They were not previously used, and were sold as “new”. They were “new”, but they really are too old to use safely. Rubber and rubber composite materials begin to break down or deteriorate almost as soon as they leave the manufacturing facilities. For that reason, you do not want to purchase tires that are old. Major tire companies believe that 6 years old or newer is the only way to go. So, the segment on 20/20 explained that the old tires were basically coming apart under driving conditions. Obviously, that is a significant reason not to purchase old tires, even if they are on sale!

In other words, even if you have really special BMW, that is not being driven for years, it may be time to change those tires prior to getting it on the road again. And in some cases, if a car sits in the same spot for a few years without being moved, chances are pretty good that the tires will be “out of round”, which means it has flat spots.

The DOT, (U.S. Department of Transportation) numbers on tires will tell the story. The last 4 digits of the numbers on your tires will show the week, (in the year) that the tires were manufactured and the year. Until 2000, the numbers were only 3 digits, after 2000 DOT used 4 digits. So, the first 2 numbers show the week of production, and the last two, will be the year. For example, 1602 means that the tire was manufactured in the 16th week of 2002.

Your DOT tire registration numbers should also be recorded on your invoice at the time you are purchasing any tires. This is done specifically in the event of any recall or problem with the tires that you are purchasing. It is rare, but tragically every so often, there is a problem that seems to be tire related. The recording of the DOT information was mandated in response to such a situation.

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