Driver Tips

How to check the expiration date on your motorcycle, car or truck tire

Tire wear is something very important to evaluate. From boosting its worth at the time of sale to avoiding accidents, all vehicle owners should pay attention to the tire’s expiration date to ensure that it is always in good shape. After all, no one intends  to buy a used car if the tires appear to be in bad condition, right?

Like the vast majority of all products we consume, tires also have an expiration date. This means that, even if it appears to be in good condition, the manufacturing date may indicate that it is time for an exchange.

Continue reading and find out more about the tire’s expiration date, why you should change it and where on the material you can find this expiration date!

What is the tire’s expiration date for?

Imagine that you drove your car very little during all the years you owned it. Consequently, the wear that the tires show is small and light. You discover that the tire’s expiration date is approaching and you wonder if there is even a need to replace it.

It is, above all, a period for the safety of the driver. After all, the aim of expiration dates, regardless of the product under consideration, is to notify the person that soon after this limit, the product will not serve its purpose properly or that the quality is compromised.

Being a combination of dozens of different rubbers, both in natural form and synthetic, plus other ingredients such as steel, polyester, and nylon, the friction and shock with the ground are worn out a bit on these materials. Besides, over time and with temperature variations, it also contributes to its deterioration.

To better understand how the expiration date works in practice, imagine that two cars were purchased on the same day. One of them stayed in a small town, while the other, in a coastal city.

After 5 years of use, the second one will probably show a worse state of conservation, as the sea air tends to affect the vehicle’s elements. The tire is one of them, for example. When a tire’s compounds deteriorate, it loses its original flexibility and can end up drying out. This is why tire validity is important: by changing the material at the right time, possible accidents caused by this wear and tear are avoided.

How to find the tire expiration date?

Unlike other products, tires do not have a specific date that indicates their expiration date. However, discovering this information is an easy and simple task.

Looking on the side of the tire, you will find a series of numbers and letters. This sequence will give you all the necessary information such as: dimensions, type of construction, performance characteristics and the weight and speed limit of the product.

In addition to the 11 digits, you will also find the word DOT (Department of Transportation). This was the body that instituted the type of marking. The last four components of the 11-digit sequence are numerals that show when the tire was made.

How to read and understand these numbers correctly?

But, as said before, these numbers do not make a specific representation of the date. That is: they will not come in the format of day, month and year of when the tire will no longer be valid.

For you to understand better, imagine the number 4212. The first two refer to the week of manufacture and the last, to the year. This way, we know that that tire was manufactured in week 42 of 2012.

Note that these numbers do not indicate when the tire’s validity ends, but rather when it was manufactured. Knowing the week in which this manufacturing took place, add 5 years. The result will be an average of how long the product will last.

What happens if I don’t change the tire after the tire expires?

Like any other product that has passed its expiration date, the tire will no longer have its original characteristics after the expiration date. If someone chooses to continue driving their vehicle with expired tires, they will be taking some risks such as loss of grip capacity and greater fragility against impacts and potholes, for example.

Furthermore, the material is more prone to bubbles and holes, and is at risk of bursting at any time. Its structure can also move more easily, directly interfering with the tire’s rolling.

However, the vast majority of drivers need to change their tires due to wear and tear. This means that it is rare for someone to replace tires because they have reached their expiration date. A big sign of wear is when the depth of the grooves becomes less than 1.6 millimeters.

But, don’t worry if you don’t drive your vehicle much. This means that you will probably be one of the small number of drivers who must pay attention to the expiration date. After all, by the time your tire shows any signs of wear, the date will probably have passed.

In the case of people who want to buy a used car, analyzing tire wear alone is not enough either. Observing its manufacturing date is important to know whether it is worth negotiating or not. If the exchange date is close, it will be another expense that will come out of your pocket.

What types of tires are there on the car market?

Firstly, the tire must respect the type of vehicle. Motorcycles, buses, vans and tractors, for example, use a different type of tire than those used on cars. However, even those that are intended for the same type of vehicle have differences between them.

After all, each one is developed according to a specific function to play different roles. The main categories we find on the market are: on road, off road and mixed.

On the road

Tires intended for cars that will be driven most of the time on paved roads and asphalt. Its grooves are not wide, which means that the surface has greater direct contact with the ground. As a result, we have greater grip.


In these models, the grooves are wider, since these tires are intended for non-asphalt terrain such as tracks with a lot of mud or dirt. As they are very resistant and robust, they should not be used on asphalt. This will make it wear out faster.

However, if your idea is to drive your vehicle on roads with lots of holes, mud or trails, just the type of tire is not enough. Keep in mind that to do this, you will need a car suitable for this purpose, such as a 4X4 , for example.


Finally, we have mixed tires. These are those aimed at people who use the same car on two different types of terrain. In other words: you don’t need to alternate between on-road and off-road tires.

Despite its versatility, however, it pulls more towards the asphalt side. Therefore, although its grooves are wide, they do not reach the same length as an off road one.

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