Know your tyre and its expiry date

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Often, when buying new tyres for a vehicle some of us end up quickly buying the cheapest one available due to ‘pocket state’.

Some companies or dealers also put the tyres on special value, and we might be the first ones to snatch it – thinking we are getting the best deal. But it is important to note that every tyre has an expiry date, after which it is supposed to be replaced lest it risks a blow-out!

The average life-span of a tyre from the date of manufacture is averagely four to five years from time of manufacturing, though it also depends on the make and brand as well.

Just imagine cruising in town or travelling for a beautiful occasion or even funeral on quite a long journey – and then suddenly a tyre of your vehicle explodes. You must maintain control and safely manoeuvre to the side of the road. The tyres might be new, purchased a few months ago from a local vulcaniser or tyre shop. I know you’ll wonder how this could happen after the purchasing tyres and thinking of the approximate duration they should have lasted.

The fact is that all tyres have an expiration date. Astoundingly, motorists and sellers of tyres also do not know much; and so they intentionally import time-expired tyres without taking consideration of what could happen to passengers and motorists.

An unacquainted consumer thinks he or she has purchased brand-new or what we call ‘home-used’ tyres, when in reality those tyres may have been sitting on the shelf for years – even though they may look new or just removed from an accident vehicle.

Every tyre has a birth date—the day it was manufactured—and an expiration date that is four to five years from the manufacture-date. Most automobile manufacturers warn drivers to replace tyres after five years of buying brand-new ones.

So, what can you as a driver do to protect yourself? When buying new tyres, ask for the newest tyres available, and look at their manufacture-date. The manufacture-date is a Department of Transportation (DOT) code of 10 or 11 characters embossed on the inside of the tyre (see image attached). For new tyres, the code is always 11 characters. However, tyres manufactured before the year 2000 have a 10-character code. Expiration dates for tyres manufactured before 2000 were based on a 10-year scale because the expected life-span of a tyre was 10 years. Current guidance suggests that tyres should be expected to last a maximum of only five years.

The last four digits of the DOT code represent the manufacture-date of the tyre. The last two digits refer to the year the tyre was produced, and the first two digits identify the week number within that year. The diagram shown indicates a brief of knowing your tyre.

It is unclear whether trailer tyres should be replaced every five years, since they do not receive the same daily punishment as other automobile tyres.

The majority of people who take the gamble of keeping outdated tyres do so to save money. Driving on outdated tyres is risky – not only for the driver of the car having those tyres, but also for other drivers and passengers. So, kindly take the initiative to check vehicle tyres’ age to defuse a potentially dangerous situation.

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