How to Tell the Age of Tires

How to Tell the Age of Tires

The age of tires can be worked out from the date of manufacture which will always be printed on a tires sidewall.

How can you tell how old a tire is? This is a question that many people have, and it’s not always easy to figure out. The date of manufacture is usually stamped on the sidewall of the tire, but it can be difficult to see. In this blog post, we will discuss how to read the date code and tell the age of your tires!

How to tell the age of tires

If you’re ever wondering how to tell the age of your tires, how old your tires are, or if they need to be replaced, there are a few simple ways to tell. We will discuss the main way to determine the age of a tire and how this may vary slightly from tire to tire.

It is important to be able to determine the age of tires as knowing how old your tires are is important for a few reasons. It can help you determine whether they have expired or if they need to be replaced.

Secondly, tires have a huge effect on your cars performance, and planning ahead you will know roughly how long before you need to replace them – so it’s worth knowing!

DOT codes

The most common way to tell a tires age is to look at the DOT code.

All new tires will have a DOT code printed on them, which tells when it was manufactured. DOT codes are usually 12 digits in length

The numbers that follow the DOT symbol on the tire’s sidewall help to determine the details of the tire including the tire size, the manufacturer, in which factory the tire was made as well as when it was made.

DOT stands for the U.S. Department of Transportation but this number can also be called the Tire Identification Number or TIN.

The current system used to determine the age of the tire is a 4 digit code that is normally circled and is the last 4 numbers of the 12 digit DOT code. Of the last 4 digits, the first two numbers represent the week, and the last two numbers represent the year.

For example, the DOT code “2618” means that the tire was manufactured in the 26th week of the year 2018 which is the middle of June 2018.

Tires that were made before 2000 used a 3 digit DOT code number to tell the age of the tire and when it was manufactured. The first 2 numbers again represented the week and the last number determined the year of the decade.

It is illegal in some states to drive on tires that are manufactured before the year 2000!

As this system is not able to define which decade exactly the tire has been made in, it was scrapped and replaced with the current 4 digit system.

The other letters numbers that make up the first 8 digits of the 12 digit DOT or TIN code are also to give unique batch codes to tires. This is used to facilitate recalls for any faulty batches of tires.

Be sure to check both sides of a tire when looking for the DOT code. While it is law that all tires have a DOT code imprinted on it, sometimes a shortened version is printed on the inside of a tire.

Do tires become too old?

Yes, tires do expire and this is on average after 6 years. This means that if your tires are more than this, we would recommend having them replaced.

There are instances where tires can last longer if they have not been used very much and have been properly cared for, but even in this is the case, tires will deteriorate naturally and will eventually need to be replaced.

Always check the condition of your tires periodically to ensure that they are safe and suitable before beginning your journey.

Also remember to check the spare tire in your vehicle to make sure that it is not too old and is in a roadworthy position. This will ensure that if you ever need to change a tire, your spare tire is in a condition to be used.

The dangers of aged tires

Telling the age of tires is important as it can be dangerous to drive on expired or old tires. Aged tires are more susceptible to flats and blowouts and can cause accidents.

Aged tires are also much more likely to have their tread worn down and this will result in less grip and less resistance to aquaplaning.

There are a number of reason why aged tires deteriorate and harden as they age. These include:

Sunlight – UV rays from the sun cause the rubber compound of tires to break down faster. This causes the tire to crack and dry out, potentially causing dry rot and sidewall cracking

Drying out – As tires age, the rubber dries out and hardens. This makes the tire less flexible and more susceptible to flats and blowouts.

Temperature – Extreme changes in temperature can also make tires age faster. This is why it’s important to not store tires in excessively hot or cold conditions

Heat cycles – Tires heat up when they are used. This repeated heating up and then cooling down after use causes the rubber to expand and contract. Over time, this causes the tire to weaken and can lead to cracks forming in the sidewall.

If you’re unsure about the condition of your tires, check out our other guides on tire damage. Alternatively take your vehicle to your local shop for a professional mechanics opinion. It’s always best to err on the side of caution when unsure.

A professional will let you know if they need to be and replaced. Newer tires will always provide better grip and handling and we always advise buying the best tires your budget allows.

If you’re looking to replace your tires, then click this link for the best price on GoodYear Tires.


So, there you have it. These are the basics of how to tell the age of a tire and why it is important to do so. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your safety on the road – and the safety of others!

We hope you enjoyed this article and found it informative. If you have any questions then please leave a comment below or get in touch via email or through social media and we will read and respond to every comment, email or question. Thanks for reading!

Are older tires cheaper to buy?

Manufacturers often bring out new models of their most popular tires every 5 -7 years. This means that retailers will have old stock of the older tire. However, this does not translate to cheaper prices for the older model of tire.

Can you drive on tires that are out of date if they have never been used before?

Once a tire is older than 6 years old, no mater whether it has been driven on before, it is not advised to drive on the tire. This is because over time the rubber compound will break down and no longer provide the necessary grip, making it unsafe to use.

Leave a Comment