Tires are one of the most important parts of your vehicle. They are the only thing that actually comes in contact with the road. Therefore, taking good care of your tires is an absolute must for every car owner. Something that you really need to consider when thinking about tires is their age. Many people think that the tread of the tire is the only part that matters. While tread and tread wear are extremely important, you also need to consider the physical age of the tires.
Studies have shown that modern tires should not be used if they are more than 10 years old. Tires are composed of rubber and many other compounds including sulfur and oil. Over a number of years this oil can actually move to the surface of the rubber and eventually evaporate into the air. This causes the oil smell that you can detect in most tire stores.
This process is quite slow and does not have any significant effect on the tires until they are nearing 10 years old. Around this age, enough oil has evaporated into the air to make the rubber harden. Tires in this condition could potentially crack. This is why many dealers will not sell a car with tires that are more than six years old.
There is a very simple way to check the age of your new tires. Federal regulations have mandated that every tire be labeled with the week and year of its production. All you need to do is check the tire identification number around the inside of your tire.
The tire identification number will begin with the letters DOT and will end with four numbers. The first two of those numbers is the week that the tire was made. For example, those two numbers may be 03 – meaning that the tire was manufactured in the third week of the year. The final two digits of the identification number is the year of production. This number maybe 01, 05, 09, etc.
You may find that your tire is labeled with an incomplete identification number. If this is the case, you may need to remove the tire from your car and check the other side. Some manufacturers label one side with a partial ID number and stamp the other side of the tire with the full ID number.
These regulations have been in place since the year 2000. If your tire is not labeled with in identification number, you can be sure that it is at least 10 years old. If you find yourself in this situation you should replace that tire immediately.
Always make sure that your car is equipped with tires no more than 10 years old. This will ensure the safest ride possible. Still, you must always keep in mind that the tread on your tires is also a very important element. Make sure that the tread on your tires has worn in an even fashion. If you find that you are having problems, such as tire squealing, skidding, or misalignment, then you should visit a vehicle technician immediately.