How to tell when your car's tires will expire

The short answer to the question of tire expiration dates is that yes they do expire, but there is more to learn. It seems today almost everything has an expiry date and that includes your tires. It's a fact! Every tire has a date of birth - when it was manufactured - and expiry date; generally, six years from the time it rolled out of the TBS or Tire Building Machine.  So, that old set of tires that have been sitting in the back of the garage are likely past their "best before" date.

Perhaps not surprisingly, most consumers and even tire sellers are unaware of expiry dates. You might think you're buying a new set of tires when in reality, those tires could have been sitting on the tire rack for years. Generally, automotive manufacturers will advise drivers to replace tires every six years - even if the tires have little or no wear.

The Toonie Test

Toonie Test

For years, vehicle owners have relied on the "toonie test" to determine if a tire needed to be replaced. Put the toonie in the treads. If it reaches the bear's paws, the tires are probably new. If it reaches all across the silver, they're about 50% worn. And if it reaches only about half-way into the letters, it's time to think about new tires. The "toonie test" only gauges tread depth and not the age of the tire, which can be a fatal mistake. It's a simple fact, old tires are dangerous, regardless of tread depth.

How to find your tire's manufactured date

How can you protect yourself? When buying tires, look for the tire's manufactured date. It's typically a 10- or 11-character DOT (Department of Transportation) code, near the DOT stamp, embossed on the sidewall of the tire. Check the last four digits. The last two refer to the year the tire was manufactured, the first two (of the four) represent the week number. For example, 3611 tells you the tire was produced in the 36th week of 2011. This is especially important with tires on flatbed trailers and RVs that may have been parked for an extended period. Driving on old tires is risky, not only for you but also for other people on the road. To get a tire quote, click here.

What happens as tires age?

So, what happens when tires age? Over time, the rubber compound starts to break down. Small cracks begin to form on the sidewalls and inside the tire. Over time, these cracks cause the steel belts in the treads to separate from the rest of the tire. If the tires are under or over-inflated, out of balance or alignment, the entire process is accelerated.

Every tire that's on the road will eventually succumb to the ravages of age. Tires that are rated for higher mileage may have particular chemical compounds built into the rubber that will slow the aging process, but nothing stops the effects of time on rubber. Ditch the expired container of milk and recycle or replace those old and tired expired tires.

To ensure you get the best, fresh and most reliable tires, book an appointment with your local Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centre - your one-stop for qualified advice and affordable prices on tires, brakes, front-end and suspension components along with fast, expert repair. You'll find us conveniently located next to Lacombe Ford, get directions . Life really is better in the Quick Lane.
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