The evidence is clear: tires should have an expiration date.
Older tires are substantially more likely to fail than newer ones.
Expiration dates for tires manufactured before 2000 were based on a 10-year scale because the expected life-span of a tire was 10 years.
Current guidance suggests that tires should be expected to last a maximum of only six years. A tire manufactured-date code, shown in the yellow box, may appear on the outside of some tires.
This is because tires are made mostly of rubber, and rubber degrades with age.
Fortunately, you can crack the code on the side of a tire to determine a tire’s actual age. The Tire Safety Group offers a free tool for consumers to check their tires to instantly determine whether a tire is expired or recalled.
Tire tread life has quadrupled over the last forty years and some currently sold tires promise 100,000 miles of tread life. Many auto manufacturers have taken small steps to warn consumers by placing warnings within the owner’s manual of newer model vehicles.
As tread life becomes less of a factor in the service life of a tire, oxidation becomes a more serious concern— particularly in hotter climates, like Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana which are routinely the hottest states in the United States. However, due to the cryptic code tire manufacturers use on tires, the warnings are of only limited use to consumers.
The last two digits refer to the year the tire was produced, and the first two digits identify the week number within that year.
The tire shown in Figure 1 was manufactured on the 36th week of the year 2001.