Aging tires. For years, United States automobile manufacturers have been sending warnings to their customers about the problems with old tires. So concerned are these companies, that one, Ford, has requested that the federal government mandate a six-year age limit on tires. Of course, this raises the question: exactly how do you tell when your tires were manufactured? Until last year, this required a car lift or belly-crawl with a flashlight to look at the inside wall of your tires, as this was the location of the “DOT number” – a type of serial number. Newer models have this number on the outside, where it is more accessible.
After locating your DOT number, focus on the last three or four numbers – at the very end of the serial number. Tires manufactured prior to 01/01/00 will have three numbers; those manufactured later than this will have four. Regardless, the first two numbers indicate the week in which the tire was manufactured. For example, if a tire has “036″ as its last three digits, it was produced in the third week of 1996. “4604″ means it was manufactured in the 46th week of 2004. According to safety experts, all motorists should perform an age check on their tires, and immediately replace any tires six years old or older, regardless of mileage. Follow this rule of thumb for best and safest tire performance.
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