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The resulting "dry rot" leaves tire structure brittle and leads to sidewall damage and eventual failure.This isn't "Oh I'll just fill it up and drive on it." No, this is complete loss of function.In a study of 14,000 tires by the RMA, no correlation between the age of a tire and removal rate was found.“There is no scientific or technical data that we are aware of that would establish or identify a minimum or maximum tire service life,” said Dan Zielinski, the RMA’s senior vice president of public affairs, in the Channel 5 report.Under the guise of “consumer protection,” Ben Kramer and three other members of the Maryland House of Delegates have been pushing legislation limiting the sale of tires. Trade Representative has recommended should be subject to an additional 25% tariff, there are some tires on the list.Near the edge of the rim, look for a long serial number starting with the letters "DOT." The code will end in either three numerals (pre-2000) or four (post 2000) and correspond to the two-digit week followed by the one- or two-digit year.For instance, the tire seen above has a code of DOT DA08 JM1R 3011, which would indicate a tire manufactured in the 30th week of 2011.Incident reports often don’t take into account other factors, such as speeding, overloading, and I’ll bring it up again, driver responsibility.In addition, claims rates haven’t increased with the age of a tire, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).
Media reports conveniently leave out any mention of driver fault when it comes to tire aging. Channel 5 claimed tires more than six years old were involved in 252 incidents, 233 fatalities and 300 injuries over the last 20 years. If true, the numbers work out to 13 incidents per year and about 12 fatalities a year, which are pretty low numbers. We really don’t know if tire age had anything to do with the accidents.
The message has always been similar: Common sense tells you that tires have a shelf life.
However, if they are properly cared for, that life is almost indefinite. Tire manufacturers are reluctant to put an expiration date on tires because they don’t know how the tires will be treated after they leave the factory. Consumer advocates, led by Sean Kane, founder and president of Safety Research & Strategies Inc., want to limit tire usage to six years from the date of manufacture. A recent report on tire aging, the third I can remember on ABC, appeared on the television network’s local affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio.
Since tires can sit in a warehouse for years, you'll want to know when the tires were made, rather than purchased, and there's an easy way to tell.
Every tire has a "born-on date" molded into the sidewall and coded according to federal requirements.