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Thread: Tire Expiration Date

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    Tire Expiration Date

    The word is out that tires, like food items, have expiration dates, which is what, 10 years, 15 years, or what?. Those now on the car are quite old, maybe 7 years on the rear, and more than 10 years old on the front, AND,the spare I hardly use might be more than 20 years old. I use the 4-tire rotation radial tire system so the spare sits in the trunk and hardly used.

    Right now I'm only concerned about those mounted on the car. Should I replace them even with pretty good treads still on them? Any advice?

    ChevyMan

    Jan. 16, 2009

  2. #2
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Adachi View Post
    The word is out that tires, like food items, have expiration dates, which is what, 10 years, 15 years, or what?. Those now on the car are quite old, maybe 7 years on the rear, and more than 10 years old on the front, AND,the spare I hardly use might be more than 20 years old. I use the 4-tire rotation radial tire system so the spare sits in the trunk and hardly used.

    Right now I'm only concerned about those mounted on the car. Should I replace them even with pretty good treads still on them? Any advice?

    ChevyMan

    Jan. 16, 2009
    This is a fairly common problem for people who own lightly used cars, including antique/classic vehicles. The tread may be 90 percent of what it was when the tires were bought - but what happens is that the rubber itself begins to gradually dry rot/decay. In really bad cases, you can see visible cracking, but even if the tires look ok, if they are more than about 6 years old, at minimum, you should not drive the car at high speeds for extended periods (or subject it to severe loading). A tire more than ten years old should probably be replaced, no matter how much tread it has or how good it looks - with the exception being a very lightly used/rarely driven antique car that isn't going to do more than attend local shows, etc.

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    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Adachi View Post
    The word is out that tires, like food items, have expiration dates, which is what, 10 years, 15 years, or what?. Those now on the car are quite old, maybe 7 years on the rear, and more than 10 years old on the front, AND,the spare I hardly use might be more than 20 years old. I use the 4-tire rotation radial tire system so the spare sits in the trunk and hardly used.

    Right now I'm only concerned about those mounted on the car. Should I replace them even with pretty good treads still on them? Any advice?



    Actually, Larry, I think the position is somewhat more critical than you think.

    DOT Codes and the 6-year shelf life
    As part of the DOT code there is a tyre manufacture date stamped on the sidewall. Take a look at yours - there will be a three- or four-digit code. This code denotes when the tyre was manufactured, and as a rule-of-thumb, you should never use tyres more than 6 years old. The rubber in tyres degrades over time, irrespective of whether the tyre is being used or not. When you get a tyre change, if you can, see if the tyre place will allow you to inspect the new tyres first. It's not uncommon for these shops to have stuff in stock which is more than 6 years old. The tyre might look brand new, but it will delaminate or have some other failure within weeks of being put on a vehicle.
    Reading the code. The code is pretty simple. The three-digit code was used for tyres manufactured before 2000. So for example 1 7 6 means it was manufactured in the 17th week of 6th year of the decade. In this case it means 1986. For tyres manufactured in the 90's, the same code holds true but there is a little triangle after the DOT code. So for this example, a tyre manufactured in the 17th week of 1996 would have the code 176
    After 2000, the code was switched to a 4-digit code. Same rules apply, so for example 3 0 0 3 means the tyre was manufactured in the 30th week of 2003.

    Hope this helps.

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  4. #4
    DonTom
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Adachi View Post
    The word is out that tires, like food items, have expiration dates, which is what, 10 years, 15 years, or what?. Those now on the car are quite old, maybe 7 years on the rear, and more than 10 years old on the front, AND,the spare I hardly use might be more than 20 years old. I use the 4-tire rotation radial tire system so the spare sits in the trunk and hardly used.

    Right now I'm only concerned about those mounted on the car. Should I replace them even with pretty good treads still on them? Any advice?

    ChevyMan Jan. 16, 2009


    In my old RV, it had old tires with a lot of thread. A couple of summers ago, when we drove it across the desert, we could see the thread go down each DAY. These were NOT radial tires (they were very old!). In two days of the trip we replaced all four rear tires. Two days later, replaced the fronts. By then all six tires were very worn. We put on new steel belted radial tires and they looked new for the rest of the trip.

    The RV forum explains, besides the fact that rubbers ages with sunlight, it also ages when not used at all. When rubber is moved, it releases chemicals that help keep it in better shape. So new rubber that's not used is worse than rubber the same age that is used at least some. This subject came up when somebody was buying a not so used RV that has less than 20 miles on it, but ten year old. But was stored INDOORS. It has been in storage since new. Besides getting the gasoline out somehow before starting, it was also recommended that ALL rubber be replaced, including all tires and belts.

    -Don- (Back in SSF, CA)

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    Ken, Eric:

    Thanks for the heads up. I'll be looking to replace all 5 tires since they all over 7 years old.

    Larry

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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post


    In my old RV, it had old tires with a lot of thread. A couple of summers ago, when we drove it across the desert, we could see the thread go down each DAY. These were NOT radial tires (they were very old!). In two days of the trip we replaced all four rear tires. Two days later, replaced the fronts. By then all six tires were very worn. We put on new steel belted radial tires and they looked new for the rest of the trip.

    The RV forum explains, besides the fact that rubbers ages with sunlight, it also ages when not used at all. When rubber is moved, it releases chemicals that help keep it in better shape. So new rubber that's not used is worse than rubber the same age that is used at least some. This subject came up when somebody was buying a not so used RV that has less than 20 miles on it, but ten year old. But was stored INDOORS. It has been in storage since new. Besides getting the gasoline out somehow before starting, it was also recommended that ALL rubber be replaced, including all tires and belts.

    -Don- (Back in SSF, CA)

    Thanks to you too, Don.

    Larry

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Adachi View Post
    Ken, Eric:

    Thanks for the heads up. I'll be looking to replace all 5 tires since they all over 7 years old.

    Larry

    You bet!

    PS: I mentioned antique/classic cars because you'll see one every now and then with its original (or "period correct") tires. This makes the car more interesting as a historical artifact, which is why they're not replaced with new ones.

    Sometimes, the tires are 20-30 years old or even older.

    You can get away with this if the car is only driven very occasionally, for short distances and at lower speeds, etc.

    The smartest thing to do is either have an extra set of rims with up-to-date tires on them for driving around - and keep the old set on the original rims for car shows, etc.

    Exact reproduction tires for many old cars are sold by outfits such as Coker Tire, but of course, that's not quite the same as still having the original stuff that came on the car from the factory.... to a collector car enthusiast, anyhow!

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    "You can get away with this if the car is only driven very occasionally, for short distances and at lower speeds, etc."

    Well, the ones now in use are 7 yrs and the other 11 plus yrs old, i.e., the dates they were purchased and mounted , and car only travels about a hundred miles or so a MONTH, usually driven around the neighborhood to go shopping etc. and I'm a very slow driver never exceeding 55 MPH on the freeway.

    You've heard of tires blowing out now and then and they probably were tires very old and the car driven on the freeways?
    Ken mentioned DOT tire codes but I couldn't see any 3 or four digit numbers, except one: 102S which I doubt is a code ? Anyway I'll be buying new tires soon. Better be safe than sorry.

    Larry

  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Adachi View Post
    "You can get away with this if the car is only driven very occasionally, for short distances and at lower speeds, etc."

    Well, the ones now in use are 7 yrs and the other 11 plus yrs old, i.e., the dates they were purchased and mounted , and car only travels about a hundred miles or so a MONTH, usually driven around the neighborhood to go shopping etc. and I'm a very slow driver never exceeding 55 MPH on the freeway.

    You've heard of tires blowing out now and then and they probably were tires very old and the car driven on the freeways?
    Ken mentioned DOT tire codes but I couldn't see any 3 or four digit numbers, except one: 102S which I doubt is a code ? Anyway I'll be buying new tires soon. Better be safe than sorry.

    Larry
    If you just drive around your neighborhood, never on the highway (or at speeds much above 45 mph) it's probably no big risk to drive on those old tires. A catastrophic failure (tire coming apart at speed; sudden - and complete - blowout, etc.) is unlikely and even if it did happen, at low speeds all it would mean - probably - is it's time to call AAA. The main danger is the tire could fail in the middle of a corner, or when you're braking hard - but again, speed is the big factor here.

    I have BFG radials on my Pontiac that are about 7 years old. But the car is like yours. I take it out once or twice a month for a 20-30 minute drive on local roads. To be absolutely safe, I suppose I should replace them, but in weighing the risk vs. the expense and hassle have decided my threat exposure is pretty minimal.

    It sounds as though yours may be, too.

    Again, the big thing is - no high-speed/highway driving, especially for extended periods. That is what's most dangerous because of the heat build up and because if a failure does occur, the car is moving at a fast clip and will be much more apt to suffer loss of control - and if you hit something at 65 mph, it's going to do a lot more damage to the car (and you) than a 25 mph fender bender....

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Adachi View Post
    "You can get away with this if the car is only driven very occasionally, for short distances and at lower speeds, etc."

    Well, the ones now in use are 7 yrs and the other 11 plus yrs old, i.e., the dates they were purchased and mounted , and car only travels about a hundred miles or so a MONTH, usually driven around the neighborhood to go shopping etc. and I'm a very slow driver never exceeding 55 MPH on the freeway.

    You've heard of tires blowing out now and then and they probably were tires very old and the car driven on the freeways?
    Ken mentioned DOT tire codes but I couldn't see any 3 or four digit numbers, except one: 102S which I doubt is a code ? Anyway I'll be buying new tires soon. Better be safe than sorry.

    Larry
    The pic below show your US style markings. I hope you can see it as it is a blow up of a poor print. I'll see how it turns out and will post further explanation if needed.

    Ken.
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    I just bought new tires today. Date codes were 3307 (August 2007) and 0406 (January 2006). I wanted a matching set, but they weren't able to do that.

    While two of them are now three years old, I'm not too worried, as this will likely be the last set of tires this 9 year old Honda will ever have.

    Went with the Goodyear TripleTreds again. The last set lasted 60,000+ miles and had excellent traction right up until the time where they were "worn out" (the wear bar was getting pretty close). Only drawback with these tires is that they're a bit noisy.

    First thing I noticed is that steering effort is much reduced with the additional tread.

    Chip H.

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiph View Post
    I just bought new tires today. Date codes were 3307 (August 2007) and 0406 (January 2006). I wanted a matching set, but they weren't able to do that.

    While two of them are now three years old, I'm not too worried, as this will likely be the last set of tires this 9 year old Honda will ever have.

    Went with the Goodyear TripleTreds again. The last set lasted 60,000+ miles and had excellent traction right up until the time where they were "worn out" (the wear bar was getting pretty close). Only drawback with these tires is that they're a bit noisy.

    First thing I noticed is that steering effort is much reduced with the additional tread.

    Chip H.
    Did you get any kind of discount for them selling you tires that are 2-3 years old?

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    Yes, I got $50 off. Plus the existing $40 mail-in rebate from Goodyear.

    Chip H.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    The pic below show your US style markings. I hope you can see it as it is a blow up of a poor print. I'll see how it turns out and will post further explanation if needed.

    Ken.
    What does U2LL stand for?

    The tires I bought today says:MKMI

    What do you make of it?

    Larry

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    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Adachi View Post
    What does U2LL stand for?
    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Adachi View Post

    The tires I bought today says:MKMI

    What do you make of it?

    Larry


    The whole number 'DOT U2LL LMLR 5107' is the complete tyre identifier and, I would guess, identifies the manufacturing plant, line and batch number as well as the manufacturing date. Only the 5107 part is the date code which is the most important part as far as fitting/using is concerned. I think our UK codes are slightly different from yours.

    Ken.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiph View Post
    Yes, I got $50 off. Plus the existing $40 mail-in rebate from Goodyear.

    Chip H.
    Chip, the Goodyear P23570R15 tires I bought and had installed says: DOT MKMI and nothing else unless the date is placed elsewhere on the tire in smaller number or on the other sidewall?. Got me heck of a lot confused.

    Larry

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    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Adachi View Post
    Chip, the Goodyear P23570R15 tires I bought and had installed says: DOT MKMI and nothing else unless the date is placed elsewhere on the tire in smaller number or on the other sidewall?. Got me heck of a lot confused.

    Larry
    Hey Larry. On the example I gave, 'DOT U2LL LMLR5107' would be on one sidewall. The other sidewall would only show 'DOT U2LL' which is, I reckon, the equivalent to the 'DOT MKMI' you can see. If I'm right then the full coding for your tyre will be on the sidewall on the other side of the tyre. I hope you can check as I would like to know if I am right.

    HTH.

    Ken.
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    Ken.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    Hey Larry. On the example I gave, 'DOT U2LL LMLR5107' would be on one sidewall. The other sidewall would only show 'DOT U2LL' which is, I reckon, the equivalent to the 'DOT MKMI' you can see. If I'm right then the full coding for your tyre will be on the sidewall on the other side of the tyre. I hope you can check as I would like to know if I am right.

    HTH.

    Ken.
    You were ABSOLUTELY RIGHT Ken. I DO see the DOT date following the MKM1 on the inside sidewall. My tires has raised white letters "Goodyear Eagle GT II" which one can see when mounted on the car. So all I can see is "DOT MKM1" on the outside wall. My DOT code is 4008 seen on the other side near the tire rim.

    Thanks a lot.

    Larry.

    P.S. I applied for a rebate but they only offer $20 on four tires for the GT II tires.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Adachi View Post
    You were ABSOLUTELY RIGHT Ken. I DO see the DOT date following the MKM1 on the inside sidewall. My tires has raised white letters "Goodyear Eagle GT II" which one can see when mounted on the car. So all I can see is "DOT MKM1" on the outside wall. My DOT code is 4008 seen on the other side near the tire rim.

    Thanks a lot.

    Larry.

    P.S. I applied for a rebate but they only offer $20 on four tires for the GT II tires.

    Thanks for the update, Larry. Your tyres have a good 5 years 3 months of life left in them - unless you wear them out in the mean time, I change my tyres when they are down to 3mm of tread which usually gives me 18 months to 2 years, maybe more now as I don't do so many long journeys.

    Ken.
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