Although you may be familiar with the general guidelines about tire tread depth, there are many other things that you likely don't know about your tires. In fact, tread depth is only one factor in the safety of your tires. One of the most important things that many drivers don't know is that age is just as important to tires as wear. Here's a look at what you need to know about the age of your tires and why it matters.
Why Does Age Matter?
As the rubber in your tires ages, it can deteriorate due to ultraviolet ray exposure and the effects of the elements. Often called dry rot, tires that deteriorate like this will become brittle and crack. You'll even see weakening in the sidewalls. If you don't address this kind of damage quickly, you'll likely suffer a blowout or a completely collapsed sidewall.
In most cases, tires can be expected to last up to ten years from the date it was produced. If you're living in an area where the air is particularly hot and dry, you should consider replacing them a few years earlier. Understanding when the tires were actually manufactured will help you to identify when you need to replace them.
How Old Are Your Tires?
There is an identification number stamped on the sidewall of every single tire on the market. It usually consists of about twelve alphanumeric characters. Understanding the composition of this identification number helps you find out how old your tires are.
The first three characters of every identification number are DOT. The two digits immediately after those represent the factory number for the plant where the tire was produced. After that, you'll find the digits that tell you the size of the tire and characters assigned by the manufacturer to identify that tire. The last four digits identify the week and calendar year of manufacture. For example, if your tire's identification number ends in 0712, the tire was manufactured in the seventh week of 2012.
What About Warranty?
Your tire will come with a determined warranty period. The warranty starts with the date of purchase, so make sure you keep the receipts when you buy them. If you don't have the receipt, some companies will extend a warranty for a set number of years from the manufacture date instead. That's another reason why it's important to understand that date code in the identification number.
For more information, talk with a tire shop like Discount Tire Centers.