Ahh, the smell of burning rubber. Don’t you just love going into a tire shop and getting new tires? No? Me neither. Especially now that I have learned that a lot of the tires in those shops could be up to 12 years old already and still being sold as new. Know what happens to rubber as it ages? It starts to break down, which is exactly what you don’t want it to do while you are going 75 down the highway. And even if the tire looks fine when you buy it, the tread could actually become separated from the tire itself, causing you to get into a very bad accident. Luckily, I caught a TV show this weekend and learned to tell just how old my tires are, which will enable me to make sure I get new rather than “new” tires from now on when I go shopping. Turns out that accidents caused by old tires seem to be quite common, and I don’t want to be riding around on tires that are just waiting to shred.
We all know that the code on the sidewall of tires has the numbers for tire size, proper inflation PSI, etc, but there is also a secret code on there that will tell you the week and year that your tire was made. It is at the end of the line on your tire that starts with DOT. Here is the tire from our Subaru, and where the code is:
Just so you can see exactly what I am talking about, that piece of code that says “2607” is what tells you how old your tire is. This tire shown here was made in the 26th week of 2007, so it is a fairly new tire and probably perfectly fine as far as tires go. So the next time you go buy tires, make sure you are getting one that has not been sitting for years and years waiting for you to take it home; even though the tread still looks shiny, if it is an old tire, it could be waiting to cause a serious accident somewhere down the line.
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