How to Tell the Age of Tires

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The appearance of a tire can be deceiving when you are trying to determine how old the tire is. Tires are designed to be used regularly, and if they are not, they can develop flat spots, especially if they are supporting significant weight. When you are purchasing a tire, make sure you check the date so you can make sure you are getting a fresh tire and not one that has been sitting in the dealer's storeroom for many years.

  • Locate the "DOT" mark on the sidewall of the tire.

  • Count the number of digits that appear after "DOT." If there are three numbers, the tire was made before 2000. If there are four numbers, the tire was made after 2000.

  • Locate the first two numbers after "DOT." This is the week during the year that the tire was made. For example, if the first two numbers are "09," that means that the tire was made in the ninth week of the year.

  • Locate the next number or two numbers. If there are only three numbers, that means the tire was manufactured before 2000 when there was no standard tire dating procedure. For these tires, the last number will represent the year of the decade that it was made. For example, if it ended in "4," it would be made in the fourth year of the decade, which could mean 1974, 1984 or 1994. If there are four numbers, the last two numbers represent the year it was made so "04" would mean 2004.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some tires will have a triangle after the year number to show it was made in the 1990s.
  • Do not buy a tire that is more than a couple years old when you purchase it.

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