Are Your Tires Safe? - ITS Tactical

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Are Your Tires Safe?

By The ITS Crew

One of our readers recently emailed us over the details of something alarming that we feel everyone needs to be aware of.

An ABC News 20/20 investigation set out to expose the hidden danger in what is being referred to as a tire’s shelf life.

Tire rubber dries out after six years, but many American companies, such as Sears and Wal-Mart are allowed to sell expired tires long after they wear out. “New” tires on sale at these retailers can be up to 12 years old!

If you want to know the age of your tires, look for the Department of Transportation number hidden on the inward sidewall. At the end of the number is a four-digit sequence that shows the week and year the tire was made. (Most newer tires now have this number on the outward sidewall)

Tires with the notation 3502 were made in the 35th week of 2002.  If you only see three digits, get new tires immediately; your tires are from the 90’s and are way past their effective lifespan.

Check out the video below for the lump in Rubber Manufacturers Association Member, Dan Zelinski’s throat at the 4:58 mark. He doesn’t seem very confident in saying that there’s no scientific information to support the shelf life.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention Bill!

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  • OUCH…I’ll be checking out all my tires and wifes when I get home tonight.

    But, just how dangerous is this?

    Also, does climate affect it?

    I may have to do some digging here. If I find anything I’ll let y’all know.

  • I’ll have to check my family’s tires out for them. I’m not too worried about mine since I tend to try out a lot of new models of high performance tires on my car.

  • Storm1

    Nice info thanks for posting!

    Also the automotive industry and many other industries uses the Julian dating system which designates days and not weeks: example: 145B05
    145th day of the year
    B was shift produced on (B=2nd shift)
    05 is year 2005. The shift designation (A,B or C) may not always be present that is entirely up to the manufacturer that is producing the parts/supplies

  • Julian date system is also very common in US commercial ammunition lot numbering.

  • HM2Welch

    I used to work at a popular tire chain. We were always taught the same information. That the rubber in the tires starts to deteriorate at 6 years and we were not allowed to work on any tire older that 10 years. Also, I never saw any tires with Julian dates. Just a 4 digit code WWYY. As far as placement on the tire, there is string of numbers on the sidewall, Occasionally on both sides of the tire. However, the date code is only on one side. It will be the side with 4 extra digits, the last 4 is the date code. The information about it being the inner sidewall is incorrect. Many tires are reversible, allowing either side to be mounted outward. Commonly they will have white on one side and black on the other. Then there are directional tires, tires designed to travel in one direction. This mean that on the left side of the car one side will face out while on the right side, the other side will face out. The last type is an asymetrical tire, and in this case, there is an inside and outside to the tire. Hope this helps.

    • Thanks for the comment, great addition to the article!

      ~ Bryan

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