How Old Are Your Tires?

We all want to know how old our used tires are because we want to know when we have to save money to buy new ones, right?

If you ever really look at how to determine the age of a set of usedtires, it’s easy to identify when those tires were actually made by reading its Tire Identification Number - most used tires stores and other people refer to them as the tire’s serial number. Different from the car’s VIN number, the Tire Identification Numbers are really batch codes included on new & used tires to identify the week and the year that that specific used tire was made.

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will require that the Tire Identification Numbers on new & used tires be a specific combination of the letters “DOT”, followed by either 10, 11, or 12 letters and/or numbers that can be used to identify the place that the used tire was made, the size of the tire, and the producer’s code. These used tires wheels also have the week and the year that it was manufactured.

Crazy how someone like Michelin Used Tires can get so specific with things like this, huh?

Anyway, since 2000 (can you believe that it’s already been 11 years?!), that’s when different Tire Manufacturers and used tire suppliers started adding the week and the year of production on the tires. It’s identified as the last 4 digits of the Tire Identification Number; the first two digits of the last four numbers identify the week and the last two digits identify the year. If you have any questions, you can go back to the same used tire supplies that you bought your used tires from and I’m sure that they’d be more than happy to help you.

At the same time that the Tire Identification Number has to be on the sidewall of every single tire that’s sold by different used tire suppliers, there are some current rules that also mandate that DOT and the first few digits that come from the Tire Identification Number have to be branded onto the opposite sidewall of the new & used tires. As an obvious result, you’ll see a Tire Identification Number that’s incomplete on one side and then one that’s complete on the other side - it’s the same number.

The main reason why they have an incomplete Tire Identification Number on their new & used tires is because it reduces the risk of injury to that mold technician that has the job of installing the weekly date code on the top sidewall part of a hot tire mold.

Make sense? I sure hope so.

Let’s say Michelin Used Tires made tires before the year 2000, the Tire Identification Number was then based on the expectation that their new & used tires were not going to be used in ten years - which is a good assumption. Even though they were require to provide the same information as they do today, the week and the year that the tires were produced was held in the last three digits. The two digits were used to identify the week the tire was made and then the last number was there to identify the year.

Here’s something else: most tire manufacturers will guarantee their tires for about four years from the date of when you bought them or five years from the week the tires were made. If you lose your receipt, then this doesn’t apply to you.

Now, hopefully you know how old those used tires wheels are.