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Tires are some of the most essential components of your modern car. New-age tire technology is grippier and more sure-footed in inclement weather like snow than ever before. Still, you need to keep an eye on how old your tires are if you want a trustworthy set for your vehicle. Here’s how you check the date code on your tires and how often you should replace them. 

How do I check how old my tires are?

Other than keeping tabs on your tire purchases and their mileage, you can verify the age of your tires by checking the Tire Identification Number (TIN). The Tire Industry Association says the TIN is a code that the Department of Transportation (DOT) mandates so owners and technicians can confirm the tires pass the DOT’s standards, the manufacturer identification mark, and the age of the tire. 

Old car tires should be replaced to avoid dangerous issues after tires hit advanced age.
Old car tires | Sean Gallup, Getty Images

If you want to verify the age of your tire, you should look for the last four digits of your car tire’s DOT TIN code. The first two digits indicate the week of the year, and the second two represent the year of manufacture. For example, a DOT code ending in “3518” means the manufacturer made your tire in the 35th week of 2018. 

At what age should tires be replaced?

Tire age ranges are important because manufacturers can issue recalls or defective product notices and verify with age codes. However, car tire age codes are also necessary because once tires get too old, they lose their dependability. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most tire manufacturers recommend replacing your tires after 6 to 10 years. 

Why are old tires a problem?

As with any other rubber product, tires are prone to deterioration and cracking. If tires get too old and develop issues like that, driving on them could be more than costly; it could be dangerous. Old car tires can burst or fail at high speeds, causing collisions or dangerous impacts. The NHTSA says that 1 in 11 crashes involve inadequate tires, whether it be age, pressure, or tread life. 

What can be done with old tires past their best age?

If you have older rubber in your garage and are unsure what to do with them, consider some of these options. First, you can check out your local recycling center for options to recycle your old tires. Furthermore, Wheels For Wishes says you can use old tires for a number of cool projects. For instance, you could turn a large tire into a dog bed with a good clean, a coat of paint, and comfortable material. 

Tires of old age need to replaced with newer tires.
A stack of new tires | Andrey Rudakov, Bloomberg via Getty Images

If you don’t have a pet or don’t like the bed idea, tire stacks can provide a modular base for a table in a workshop or garage. For example, you can clean them, paint them (if you want), stack them, and cover them with a wood topper. Moreover, classic options like a swing or dock siding are great uses for aged tires. 

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