How to Read the Tire Production Date on the Sidewall

by Leonardo R. Grabkowski

Since 2000, tire production dates have followed a uniform code that is regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. This code applies to all tires, including those on cars, trucks and recreational vehicles. Learning how to read the tire production date is important, because of the limited shelf life of tires. Tires are not like fine wines; they don't age well at all. Once a tire reaches the five year mark, whether it has been used or not, it weakens and can be dangerous to drive with. This is true even if the thread is still completely intact.

Examine the tire sidewall to find the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number. This number begins with "DOT" and is 10 to 12 digits long. If you do not see the number, it is stamped on the inner sidewall. If the tire is not attached to a vehicle, simply turn it over to find the number. If the tire is attached to a vehicle, use a flashlight to examine the inside sidewall. If the tire is on the front, turn the wheel to allow easier access to it.

Look at the last two digits of the DOT number. Write them down, if necessary. These digits signify the production year of the tire. If the last two digits are "10," the tire was manufactured in 2010.

Look at the two numbers preceding the last two digits. This number signifies the production week. If the number is 09, the tire was manufactured the ninth week of the calendar year.

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About the Author

Leonardo R. Grabkowski has been writing professionally for more than four years. Grabkowski attended college in Oregon. He builds websites on the side and has a slight obsession with Drupal, Joomla and Wordpress.

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