How to Check the Age of a Tyre

17% of motorists know how to find the age of their tyres or when to change them? Tyre age is important, because the performance deteriorates as tyres age, which can cause road handling and safety issues.

Tyres are manufactured to contain anti-oxidising chemicals - a wax like substance that will slow the rate of ageing, but this is only released when the tyres are actually in use. Think of an old rubber band and the way the rubber cracks as you stretch it - that's what happens as your tyres age.

How long does a tyre last?

There are no hard and fast rules on this, with some manufacturers recommending you replace tyres after 6 years, regardless of the tread. Others claim a tyre can have a 10 year lifespan, but will need checking after 5 years. Heat, storage and daily usage can all affect the ageing pattern of your tyres. For example, a spare tyre that has been kept in the vehicle may be exposed to heat and dirt in a way that a tyre kept in a garage is not. 

Signs of ageing

Your tyres will usually wear out before they show signs of ageing. However, if you drive less than the UK average of 8,000 miles a year, then your tyres may become unsafe as they sit in the garage. Tyres can naturally degrade with exposure to UV rays and rain. Ageing damage is more common with vehicles like caravans and trailers that are only used infrequently.
To determine whether your tyres have suffered ageing damage:
- Check the sidewalls for signs of cracking and crazing, especially if your tyres are 4 to 5 years old and the car is normally kept outside
- Check for deformation of the tread, as this can indicate ageing
- Book a free tyre check with Protyre
Just because you've done the 20p test and your car tyres have plenty of tread, doesn't mean that they haven't suffered age related damage. Visually inspect your tyres once a month.

How do I know how old my tyres are?

All the information you need to find out the age of your tyres is located on the tyre sidewall. Look for the letters DOT then a number code. This production code will tell you the age of your car tyre: the first pair of numbers are the week of manufacture and the second pair are the year.
    Example: 2314 = 23rd week of 2014
- Tyres manufactured after 2000 have a 4 digit code
- Tyres manufactured before 2000 have a 3 digit code and should be replaced immediately
- If your tyres are more than 5 years old, consider replacing them

Replace your tyres

Tyres that show signs of ageing can be dangerous, so it makes sense to replace them, however good the tread. Always check the production code on new tyres, to ensure they haven't been stored for some time and never buy used tyres, however good the depth of tread.

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About the author

David Sholicar

David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and ...

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