Imagine this: It’s a beautiful spring afternoon and you’ve decided to take out the new tyres you bought two months ago from your local tyre shop. As you are cruising down the road, humming Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, one of the back tyres explodes. Cursing at the situation while relieved for your quick ability to maintain control and safely maneuver to the side of the road, you wonder, “How could such a thing happen to new tyres?”
The answer may lie in the fact that the tyres might have been expired!
The Toonie Test
New tyres mean smoother rides, but also a big investment for vehicle owners.
For years, many vehicle owners have been relying on the “penny test” to determine how fancy and new their tyres are. There is no need for any expert knowledge or fancy tools. All you need to do is to put a toonie in a tread groove upside down. If the penny reaches the bear’s paws, the tyres are most likely new. If it extends all the way across the silver, they’re roughly half worn. And if it barely gets halfway through the letters, it’s time to call ANP Wheels & Tyres go through their wide selection of high-quality wheels.
However, it is important to note that this “toonie test” solely measures tread depth and not tyre age – more specifically, expiration dates.
Here’s the surprise: Many consumers are unaware of the fact that the “brand new tyres” they’ve purchased might have been sitting on the shelves for years.
Whether you have stored your tyres for a very long time or have driven only occasionally, your tyres will normally age out before they wear out under low-mileage conditions. Storing them in a cool, dark place might retain their original design effectiveness for a few years, however, like it or not, all tyres eventually lose some of their effectiveness with each use and through each passing year.
Usually, a tyre ages due to a chemical process known as oxidation. The oxygen particles in the air cause the tyre’s flexible components to harden and become brittle.
So, even if you bought new tyres –tyres that were never used on a vehicle – they might be several years old. The key is to look at the manufacturing date and evaluate its expiration date (which shall be further discussed below).
Analyzing Manufacturing Date
The estacode states that a Tyre Identification Code or Serial Number should be clearly branded on the side of all tyres. It will be either a code of 10 or 11 digits. If there are only 10 characters, it means that the tyre was born before 2000. For new tyres, it will always be 11 characters, including the manufacturing date. Unfortunately, it will not be as explicate as in your cookie wrapper.
Note that the last four digits of the 11-character DOT code are the most critical ones, with the first two digits representing the week while the last two represent the year of manufacture.
Simple example: Suppose the code is JES US7 2512. The last four digits – that is, 1512, represent the manufacturing date of the tyre. It means the tyre was manufactured on the 15th week in the year 2012.
It is however important to note that some manufactures –mostly those for the “Made in China” brands – do not include the date of manufacture on their tyres.
Now, what about the expiration date?
Irrefutable is the fact that all tyres have an expiry date. However, in terms of years, the debate was never resolved.
Generally, some automotive manufactures suggest changing tyres – meaning the tyres expire – if they are beyond six years. And, it seems that the same goes for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the US. However, disagreement goes with the British Tyre Manufacturer’s Association that highly believes that tyres have an average life span of 10 years.
Extensive research has also shown that the average life span of a tyre from its date of manufacture can also be four years. It all depends on the make and brand.
What you can do as a consumer and responsible vehicle owner is to always look for the tyre’s manufactured date. But, if you really want to ensure maximum protection, I suggest getting the best, fresh and most reliable tyres from ANP Wheels & Tyres.