Are Tires Failing due to Age?

The short answer is “yes.”

Steel belted radial tires, the tires that most of us drive on today, are like milk — they expire after time passes.  The problem is, for some unknown reason, the tire industry does not want you to know this.   Consequently, identifying this date is not an easy task.

How Can I Tell The Age of My Tires?

Each tire has a stamp on the sidewall of the tire.  It is a series of letters and numbers that discloses certain things about the tire such as the factory where the tire was manufactured.  You can also decipher the date of manufacture on this code.

Here’s what you need to do.  Look at the sidewall of your tire and search for the letters “DOT.”  After the letters “DOT,” look at the series of numbers and letters that follow.  The last four digits are the date code, identifying the week and year of manufacture.  The first two numbers of he date code identify the week of manufacture and the last two numbers identify the year of manufacture.

For instance, if the date code reads “5007,” your tire was manufactured in the 5th week of the year, 2007.


When you go to purchase new tires, make sure the tires you are being sold are no more than six (6) months old.  Ask to see the DOT code for the tires they have selected to install on your vehicle.  Often times, tires sit around on a rack at a tire retailer’s store for years before being sold.  This could pose some safety concerns for you and your family while driving on those tires in later years.

When Should My Tires be Replaced?

Unfortunately, this is a very difficult question to answer because the vehicle manufacturers and the tire manufacturers disagree on the expiration date for tires.

Many auto manufacturers recommend that you discard your tires if they are older than six (6) years old.  These recommendations can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

On the other hand, many of the tire manufacturers recommend that you replace your tires after ten (10) years of service.  Unfortunately, these recommendations are in the form of “Technical Bulletins” that are circulated to tire sellers and others within the tire industry.  The average consumer is unaware of these recommendations and “technical bulletins” and no one knows why the tire companies chose a length of time (10 years) that is almost double the expiration date chosen by the vehicle manufacturers (6 years).

How Does Age Affect the Safety of My Tires?

A steel belted radial tire has 2 enemies that affect its durability – heat and oxygen.  Over time, excessive exposure to oxygen causes a condition known as oxidative degradation, whereby oxygen permeates into the internal components of the tire and causes the adhesive bond that holds all those components together to loosen, thereby weakening the internal composition of the tire.  This weakening of the tire from the inside can cause a dangerous tire failure, such as a tread or belt separation.

Heat is another enemy.  We see more tread separations in the Southern United States than we do up North.  Therefore, if you live in a state that frequently sees excessive heat, get your tires checked regularly by a professional or certified mechanic.

Why Are Spare Tires Dangerous?

Unfortunately, many of us drive trucks and SUVs that do not have a trunk to store our spare tire.  Over time, this spare, which is stored below our vehicle, is exposed to excessive heat and oxygen.  When we replace our tires, we seldom replace our spare tire, because most consumers do not know about the effects of heat, oxygen and age on our tires.

If one of your tires fails and you have to mount your spare tire onto your vehicle, many times the spare will catastrophically fail – tread separation or blow out – because of the way it has been stored during its useful life.

Have a certified mechanic check the date of your spare tire and its condition to make sure your spare tire is safe if you ever need it.

Why Should I Hire Hill Law Firm if I Have a Tire Case?

If you know someone who has been injured by a defective or aged tire, call the Tire Defect Lawyer at Hill Law Firm for a free consultation.  Our attorneys have handled in excess of 100 tire cases against most of the major tire manufacturers in the following states –  Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. We have the knowledge and experience it takes to protect your rights and seek compensation on your behalf.

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