Car owners should buy new tires every 5-6 years to stay safe – since the maximum lifespan of a tire is 10 years. This rule applies to every sort of vehicle, from sedans, vans, and trucks to farming equipment and busses. However, for those who have owned their vehicles for a while, it can be difficult to remember exactly how old their tires are. Here’s a guide to checking the expiration dates of your tires according to DOT date codes, as prepared by the car towing experts here at Tow Cars.

DOT Date Codes

DOT date codes are on every commercially bought tire – they allow tire owners to keep track of their tire’s age, and identify when the tires need to be replaced. Tires naturally deteriorate over time – even when they are not in use. DOT date codes allow you to figure out whether the tires were sitting in storage before they were installed on your car, vital information in determining when they need to be replaced. DOT codes can also help identify causes of tire malfunctions that potentially lead to accidents, an important aspect of the insurance process.

Reading DOT Tire Date Codes

DOT date codes are on the side of every tire. They contain numbers and letters, clearly marked with the letters ‘DOT.’ The rest of the characters will detail the week and year the tires were made, where they were made, the size of the tire, as well as a unique code from the tire manufacturer. The last four digits of the code are the most important ones, as they have the tire’s age – the week and year the tire was created. For example, if the code reads ‘0812’, the tire was made in the 8th week of the year 2012.

Making your Tires Last Longer

It’s advised that tires should be replaced between every 6 and 10 years of their existence after their manufacturing date; however, extra steps can be taken to make your tires last longer. We recommend parking your car or even storing your tires away from extreme weather or the elements – so if you live in a very hot or very cold area, try to park your car in a climate controlled garage. A MUST is that vehicle owners regularly visually inspect tires over 5 years old for any tread wear, hairline sidewall cracking, or white rubber – all signs that the tire is worn and must be replaced for safety’s sake.

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Checking if your Tires have Expired Dates