Do tyres have expiry dates?Tyres don’t last forever, and old tyres can be a serious safety risk. As tyres age, cracks may form beneath the surface, causing the tyre to fail under load. If you haven’t done so recently, it could be time to check how old the tyres on your vehicle are, and if they need replacing. Read on to find out how to check the age of your tyres and stay safe on the road.
What happens to old tyres as they age?
Tyres are made of various types of textile, steel and rubber compounds that have properties that evolve over time. As the rubber in a tyre gets older and is exposed to the elements, the strength of the bond between the rubber and the steel belts is reduced. When an old tyre is put under load, cracks in the rubber will begin to form.
These cracks may appear on the tyre’s surface, but they can also appear out of sight within the structure of the tyre. Eventually, the cracking can even cause the steel belts in the tread to separate from the rest of the tyre. Driving on such a tyre is a serious safety risk.
How can I check the age of a tyre?
Check the age of a tyre by looking for the 10 to 12 digit serial tyre identification number, found on the tyre’s sidewall. This identification number is usually preceded by the acronym “DOT”, for example: DOT ELCB DKE 1800.
Tyres manufactured after 2000
If the tyre was manufactured after the year 2000, then you can determine its age by looking at the last four digits of this number. These represent the week the tyre was made, followed by the year. In the case of the serial number used above, the “18” would indicate the 18th week, and the “00” would indicate 2000. So, the tyre was manufactured in the 18th week of 2000.
Tyres manufactured before 2000
If the tyre was manufactured before the year 2000, things get a little more complex. For these tyres, age is indicated by the last three digits. Take for example the serial number DOT XYZ WT1 188. In this serial number, the 18 indicates the week the tyre was manufactured, while the 8 indicates the year of the decade. So, in this case, the tyre was made on the 18th week of the 8th year of the decade. During the 1990 – 2000 decade some tyres were marked with a triangle pointing to the last digit of the serial number in order to distinguish them from previous decades.
Still not sure of the age of your tyres?
Driving on old tyres can be a serious safety risk. If you’re not sure how old your tyres are, pop into your local Bridgestone store, and ask one of our friendly staff for help.
Do tyres have an age limit?
Tyres should be removed once they reach ten years of age, regardless of appearance, mileage or actual wear. However, most tyres will need replacing before they reach the ten year mark. That’s why it’s important to keep a close eye on the condition of your tyres.
Take the time to regularly check your tyres' visual condition and inflation pressure. If you notice any visible damage or performance changes, such as cracking, increased air loss, or additional noise or vibration, it’s time to have your tyres checked by a professional.
Along with your own regular inspections, we recommend that all tyres beyond five years old be inspected by a qualified expert at least once a year. Our staff can let you know whether or not your tyres are safe to continue using. If the tyres were original equipment on the vehicle, you should also follow the vehicle manufacturer’s tyre replacement recommendations when specified.