University of Missouri Extension

Buying Tires

Planning to buy "new" tires? It pays to know how to read the codes on a tire’s sidewall. Among other things the codes tell you the date of manufacture.

According to the Consumers Union, you shouldn’t buy a tire that’s more than a couple of years old. Rubber degrades over time, so a "brand new" tire that has been sitting in a warehouse (especially if it’s been exposed to heat or light) could be a poor value - and a safety risk. For safety, performance and durability, check the date before you buy a new tire.

You can find the tire’s date of manufacture at the end of the Dept. Of Transportation serial number that appears on every tire. The date code is the last three digits. An example code of 228 indicates that a tire was made in the 22nd week of 1998.

Source: Tail lights. (1999, November/December). USAA Magazine, back cover.

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