Aged, like an old tire?


While behind the wheel, be aware of more concerns type of precipitation is falling on the road.

How old are your tires? Do you know how to tell when they were manufactured? Are you aware of the risks of tires that are beyond a certain age? Many students are unable to answer these questions.

According to a piece produced by ABC News Undercover, tires have a shelf life and ignoring that could kill you.

It isn’t the tread depth or the fact of whether or not the tires have been used before. Tires can sit on store shelves for years without being used or sold, and still appear new and roadworthy.

According to Sean Kane of Safety Research and Strategies, Inc., “As tires get older… they begin to dry out and become dangers after six years of age.” Kane’s private auto safety research firm, according to ABC News, is at the forefront of the aged tires issue.

International governments have laws put in place for tire expiration dates, none of which are more than six years from the tire’s manufacture date. The United States has no laws regarding tire expiration. Sean Kane and other private safety research companies are working toward the creation of this law.

In 2006, during the International Tire Exposition and Conference, Dr. John M. Baldwin of Ford Motor Company discussed the “Tire Aging Update.” Within it Ford asks the federal government to impose a six-year age limit or expiration date for tires. To date, nothing on the federal level has been completed regarding this issue.

What’s the big deal? It’s just a tire. Your tires are part of what keeps you and your loved ones on the road, safely. In multiple tests done by independent safety firms, including Sean Kane’s company, tires over six years of age have a high rate of blow outs on the road. Many of the tests conclude fatal or near-fatal conditions while maintaining an average speed of 70mph. As the tires dry out and the elasticity gives way, the tread literally peels from the tire at which point most vehicles have a loss of control that ends with a wreck.

Protect yourself, your families and your loved ones by taking some time to research the Department of Transportation (DOT) codes on tires. The last sequence of numbers (usually 3 to 4 digits) in the DOT series is the week and year the tire was manufactured. Two digits for the week and usually have 1 or 2 digits for the year. Tires made in the 90’s have 1 digit, while those made in the 00’s have two.

An example of a DOT code would be 1208 which is deciphered as the 12th week of 2008. 414 means the 41st week of 1994. 0604 means the sixth week of 2004.

There are multiple codes, digits, and numbers on the insides and outsides of tires. Usually the DOT code appears on the outside of the tire, but in some international tires, it is located under the carriage of a vehicle as it appears on the insides of some tires.

Do not let looks deceive you. When you are going to purchase new tires, the DOT code is the only way to accurately date a tire. Taking a few seconds to look over each tire could prevent a future fatal incident. Drive safely.

Rachel Olivia Kobylas

Staff Writer

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