Buying New Tires? Check That Date!

If you’re like me, you want a good, safe tire between you and the road.

A quality set of tires provides a nice ride and feeling of security while driving. But these days, tires are expensive, and you want to make sure you get the best value for your money. Buying tires that are old and have been sitting on the rack too long is not a good investment. Located on the sidewall of each tire is a build date that indicates the week and year a tire was built. Take a look at the example below.

Tire Date Location

The ending group of the DOT numbers indicates this tire’s build date is as follows:

39 = Indicates the week the tire was built

09 = Indicates the year the tire was built

In this instance, our tire was built in the 39th week of 2009. Industry standards generally indicate a tire has a useful service life of 6-10 years; however, most tire tread on a commercial truck will wear out long before that.

Many OEMs recommend replacing a tire that is under 6 years old regardless of the tire tread and sidewall wear. NHTSA studies indicate:

  1. As tires age, they begin to weaken and fall apart.
  2. The tire aging process starts whether a tire is mounted on a vehicle or stored in a temperature-controlled room.
  3. Around 5 years from the build date, most tires will begin to degrade significantly.

Tires are a major part of your budget. Keep them safe by following proper air pressure checks and rotation. Perform a quick visual check daily to spot any areas of concern, and always check the build date when purchasing new tires.

Knowing that your tires are safe and in good condition will reduce the risk of an accident and provide you with peace of mind.

Further information:
TPMS & Tire Maintenance a Must for Today’s Trucks
How to Maximize Tire Life Expectancy
NHTSA: Being Tirewise
NHTSA: Tire Buyers’ FAQ

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About the Author

Bruce Cansler

Bruce Cansler started his automotive career in 1973 as a technician for Datsun. He retired from the U.S. Navy as a Seabee Construction Mechanic with 20 active years of service and 10 as a reservist, then spent time working in Ford, Lexus and Caterpillar dealerships. Bruce has obtained ASE certifications in both cars and medium/heavy trucks and has worked with the Commercial Vehicle Group at Mitchell 1 since 2009.