How Do I Find The Expiry Date Of My Tyres?

By David Sholicar

Tyres inevitably wear out, suffer punctures and damage, or various other events that might lead you to replace them. But what many people are not aware of is that tyres may need replacing due to old age.


Generally speaking, the lifespan of a tyre is reckoned to be about five years, however, in some circumstances, they may age more quickly. When they are manufactured, tyres are made containing anti-oxidising chemicals which are designed to slow the rate of ageing. This addition can help, but it works best when the car is in use and the tyres are doing their job, flexing with bumps, and getting warm from friction with the road surface, in turn causing the chemical to be released into the tyre compound.
In cars that only do a low mileage, such as classic cars that go out very occasionally, the tyres are likely to age more quickly. Even though they have plenty of tread, these low mileage tyres might need replacing.

Spotting the signs of ageing

As a tyre ages, small cracks will start to appear in the sidewall. These are caused by UV light which causes the rubber to oxidise and dry out. Therefore, if you’re storing tyres, or have a classic car that isn’t used much, it’s best to keep them in the dark.
Once a tyre gets to five years old you should keep an eye on it for signs of ageing and consider changing it even if it has plenty of tread. But how do you know when a tyre is five years old? It’s easy enough if you bought the car new, but if you bought a used car you may not know if the tyres have been changed, or when.
Fortunately, the tyre manufacturers have thought of this and they put a code on the sidewall that tells you when it was made. Many people don’t know about this, or don’t know how to read it, but it’s really quite easy if you’re in the know.
Look at the tyre sidewall and find the letters DOT. Following this will be some letters and a number - it’s the number that we’re interested in. There will be a four-digit number, something like 2316. The first two digits are the week and the second two the year, so in our example, the tyre was manufactured in the 23rd week of 2016.
If your tyre has only a three-digit number, that means it was made before 2000 and almost certainly needs replacing now.
If you aren’t sure about this, or can’t find the code on your tyres, you can always bring the car to your local Protyre garage where our tyre professionals will be happy to carry out a free tyre check. This looks at not only the date but also the overall condition of the tyres so we can advise as to whether they need to be replaced. We can supply new tyres from a range of brands including Pirelli and Falken so there’s something to suit all needs and pockets.

Book a free tyre check

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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