How old are your tires? Check the date code

Annoying shake in the front end around 25-35 mph. While I had the car in for a “post-purchase” inspection I asked them to balance the front tires. One of them was off by 1.5 ounces. It helped but mostly just moved the problem to around 60mph.

Yesterday it occurred to me that I should check the date code on the tires. Should have done that first and saved the money having the tires balanced. They were manufactured in Jan 2002. Looks like I’ll be buying tires sooner than expected. 18 year old tires are simply not safe.

How old are your tires? Tire Tech: Determining the Age of a Tire

I was happy with the Vredestein Quatrac 5 tires that I put on my 2006 Saab 9-3 Aero. I might just get those again.

Where did you find that set of tires?

Just had a 5-year old, low mileage tire delaminate at 70 mph: fortunately, I got it hauled down to 50 before the tire came apart.

Email me for the video of it.

It is entirely a fool’s errand, to drive on tires older than 6-8 years old: it is JUST not worth any savings.

I got them from TireRack but you can get them at Discount Tire as well.

I still have the tires my XJS had when I bought it a year ago, they don’t have date codes, so must be pre-2000! They have plenty of little cracks on sidewalls.

That’s why I stay below 40mph. Also, still restoring car and it’s not freeway ready yet, so I’ll buy new tires when it’s ready, hopefully March.

Another concern is that your insurance policy may well be invalid if your tyres are over, for instance, 10 years old.
Around here a car is not considered roadworthy if tyres are over 10 YO, and in an accident that is a good reason not to get a pay out.

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The date code is only on one side of the tire. It’s possible you need to look on the inside sidewall, the PO may have had the tires mounted that way to avoid having whitewalls/lettering showing. Or in my case the tires are “directional” so I can see the date codes on one side of the car only.


Ok, found my DOT. My tires were manufactured Feb 1999. Maybe I should replace?

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Uh… yes.

And to not exceed any speed for which you are not prepared to experience a rapid delamination.

10 mph sounds like a good high point.

Opinions from tire manufacturers, automobile companies, and government agencies vary widely on how long tires are safe to drive on. Factors affecting tire life include how long they have been mounted, miles driven, road conditions, temperature range, exposure to Ultra Violet light, humidity, specific rubber compounds used, and more.

I believe that most experts (and I am not one) would agree that 20 years is well past safe tire age and that the risk of tread separation or other dangerous failures is high with continued use of those tires.

I have had slow leaks leading to flat tires while driving due to punctures but I have never experienced a tire failure at speed. I have read that they can be violent and result in loss of control and rollovers.

Based on what I have read, I would not recommend further use of your 20 year old tires on public roads even if they look fine to you. Much like old fuel injection hose, it is impossible to predict when old tires will fail and the results can be disastrous.


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This morning I had my 17+ year old tires replaced with some new Pirelli Cinturato Strada All Season
225/60 R16 “H” rated tires. The difference is quite noticeable in terms of ride and tire noise. I’m not a big fan of the low profile tires that were on the car when I bought it.

This particular tire is made by Pirelli for Discount Tire and is apparently a hybrid between their P7 and the Scorpion tires. The price was right and they currently have $70 rebate to go with it.

I’m sure that these tires will also grow old and still look great…don’t anticipate putting enough miles on the car to wear them out.


Good decision.

In the past I never needed to pay attention to the date codes on the tires in our family cars because with lots of busy drivers the tread always wore down long before tire age became an issue.

Now with more cars and fewer drivers I had to make that transition to buying new tires while there was plenty of tread left and the tires still look pretty good. It is tough to know when to replace tires that still appear to have plenty of miles left on them. In the past two years I replaced three sets of tires due to age and will soon be doing a fourth set. The peace of mind is worth the cost for me, especially because of the others driving these cars.

I’d say that at 17+ years you got more than your money’s worth out of those tires.