Keeping Your Tire in Top Shape: Gauging the Age of Your Tire
Tire age is a big factor in maintaining your vehicle, especially because tire performance deteriorates the older tires get. If your tire is old, it is more prone to breakage and damage, making it more unsafe for you on the road. That’s why you need to ensure that they’re in tip-top shape and always ready for travel.
How do tires age?
As tires age, they begin to dry rot from the inside. Because most driving is done outdoors, your tires are exposed to elements that weather them down as time passes. The bond between the steel belts and tire rubber gets weakened, which causes the rubber to crack. These cracks can sometimes appear on the surfaces of your tires, but they may also pop up in less visible areas.
Normally, people rely on the tread depth of their tires to see if they’re still suitable for travel. They do the “penny test”, which entails placing a penny upside down into the groove of the tire tread. If the penny sinks deeply into the tread, it means that the tire is still good to go.
However, the penny test is not enough to ensure the quality of your tires. Regardless of the depth of your tires’ treads, old tires are still unsafe. Here are two things you must consider when it comes to assessing the usability of your tires:
· If you have old tires that have been in use for over five years, you must replace them with new ones.
· Even if your tires’ treads still look thick and durable, if the sidewalls are dry and cracked, they will still need to be replaced.
· Treads must be at least three millimeters in height for tires used in the summer, while they must be four millimeters in height for use in the winter. Take note though that these requirements vary per country.
How to determine the age of your tires
It’s easy to figure out the age of your tires. All tires are printed with a Tire Identification Number, also known as their serial number. Tire Identification Numbers signify the week and year the tire was manufactured.
In the United States, The U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires that all tire serial numbers be made up of eight to thirteen characters composed of the following details:
· The location where the tire was manufactured
· Size of the tires
· Manufacturer’s code
· Week and year of manufacturing
Where to find the Tire Identification Number
There are no regulations for where manufacturers should stamp the serial numbers, so you might need to check around the tire. However, you can usually find these numbers on tires’ inner sidewalls.
Checking your new tires’ age before purchasing them is important because while you may be buying “new” tires, it doesn’t mean that they were manufactured recently. Being aware of your tires’ serial number lets you see how long they’ve been stored and how long you have left to use them safely.
Tires sold in-store aren’t always recently made, and they may have been manufactured years before them being displayed in the shop. Additionally, hot and moist store conditions may lead to quicker deterioration of the tires.
If your tires have a three-digit number in their Tire Identification Number, that means it was manufactured before the year 2000. If this is the case, it would be more prudent to replace your tires. As mentioned, tires become more prone to breakage over time, which makes them easier to blow out and prone to causing accidents.
Tires must have been manufactured a maximum of five years before purchase to be considered suitable for your vehicles. Consider working with professional auto mechanics to check if your tires are still in optimal condition.
Keep your tires in top condition with OEM Wheels Direct
Our team at OEM Wheels Direct has years of expertise in assessing and providing durable and high-quality wheels. We strive to give you the best customer service and cater to all of your needs to ensure that your vehicle is in tip-top condition at all times.
Contact our team at OEM Wheels Direct to get the best car parts today!