How old are my tires?
Have you ever wondered, just how old are my tires? It is easy to identify when a tire was manufactured by reading its Tire Identification Number (or serial number).
Unlike vehicle identification numbers (VINs) and serial numbers used to identify one specific item, Tire Identification Numbers are more accurately batch codes that identify the week and year that the tire was produced.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires that Tire Identification Numbers be a combination of the letters DOT, followed by eight to thirteen letters and/or numbers that identify the manufacturing location, tire size, manufacturer’s code, and the week and year that the tire was manufactured.
Tires Manufactured Before 2000
The Tire Identification Number for tires produced prior to 2000 was based on the assumption that tires would not be in service for ten years. While they were required to provide the same information as today’s tires, the week and year the tire was produced was contained in the last three digits. The 2 digits used to identify the week a tire was manufactured immediately preceded a single digit used to identify the year.
Example of a tire manufactured before 2000 with the earlier Tire Identification Number format:
In this example: DOT MDU4 DMA 032
Manufactured during the 03rd week of the year
Manufactured during the 2nd year of the decade
While the previous Tire Identification Number format identified that a tire was produced in the 2nd year of a decade, there was no universal identifier that confirmed which decade.
Editor’s Note: To identify tires manufactured in the 90s, a decade symbol (a triangle on its side) is located at the end of the DOT serial number.
Tires Manufactured Since 2000
Since 2000, the week and year the tire was produced has been provided by the last four digits of the Tire Identification Number with the 2 digits being used to identify the week followed by the 2 digits used to identify the year.
Example of a tire manufactured since 2000 with the current Tire Identification Number format:
In this example: DOT R800 DDJR 2815
Manufactured during the 28th week of the year
Manufactured during 2015