Car Tire expiration dates ?

Just saw this piece on ABC news about tire expiration dates. Those who know me have always heard my mantra about buying a good quality tire, after all it’s the only thing that’s between your car and the road. According to this piece on ABC news, the rubber compound in tires dries out over time and becomes brittle after 6 years or so. This can lead to blowouts, nasty rollovers and to the premature pushing up of the the old daisies! The scary thing is that potentially dangerous tires are sold as new at major auto outlets like Sears. Legally they are new, having never been used and having no tread wear at all. A pal of mine just bought new tires for $20 each, so I’m suspecting that they may be old tires, yikes! (Note to self, don’t go on extended road trip in car with $20 tires)

How to figure out how old your tires are – Determine the manufacture date

All tires have a manufacture date stamped on the side of them but this number was never meant to be easily read by the general public as it’s somewhat criptic to decipher:

  • Date will be most likely be on the outside rubber wall of the tire but I found that on my winter tires I had to look on the inside wall of the tire
  • Dates are normally 3 or four digits long and stamped in a recessed roundish rectangle on the sidewall of the tire
  • Before 2000, the date code had three digits so if your little code only has 3 digits then you’re already in trouble, your tires are a minium of eight years old and could potentially be deadly.
  • For tires that have four digits the last two are normally the year this is what you need to look at
  • First two digits are the week so 0504 is fifth week in 2004

Just looked at the tires on my ride and the code I see says 0504, this means the tire was made in 2004 so I’m ok and shite, these are high performance Z rated tires @ $200 + each so I’m happy there haven’t gone stale yet. So peeps it’s time to grab a flashlight and go and check the age of your rubber, EVEN IF YOUR TIRES ARE NEW or the tread looks good!

Some examples from the tires on my Audi

Here are the dates from my rubber! Starting out with my summer tires (firth week of 2004):


My winter ties (35th week of 2005)


Counter view?

Alarmism or under reported? Seems like from a science point of view rubber can break down with age and think about the loss to the tire companies if they have to recall all the new tires older than 6 years. Comments below the video please?