My friend Aaron took his Jeep Cherokee in to get his alignment checked.
While he was there, the manager recommended he get four new tires. Right now.
Aaron scoffed. He’d bought the tires three years ago. He had maybe 22,000 miles on them. They should be good for 60,000 miles at least.
But the manager walked with Aaron around his vehicle, pointing out splits in the rubber of all four tires. Dry rot, he said. Any one could blow.
And then the manager pointed out something else.
There’s not much Aaron doesn’t know about cars. He taught my son how to change a tire and the oil and take apart an engine. Aaron keeps a notebook with the date, price and quantity of each fill-up, dates and description of every maintenance and repair.
But Aaron didn’t know this.
On the side of each tire is a Department of Transportation code. It starts with the letters “DOT” and a four-digit code. The first two numbers are the week it was made. The second two are the year.
The code on two of the tires Aaron bought in 2016 was 3510. The 35th week of 2010. They were six years old when he bought them. The other two were dated 2012, four years old at time of purchase.
Experts say not to purchase tires manufactured more than six years ago. But there are no laws or regulations in Arizona prohibiting the sale of oldertires.
Tires can sit in warehouses for years, which particularly in the Arizona heat can degrade the rubber.
So check the dates, Aaron told me. “This could affect your safety immensely,” he said.
I last bought tires in 2015. One is dated 2015, the other three 2014. I’ll need new ones soon.
The place where Aaron bought his tires is out of business now.
He picked up new ones, actual new ones, dated 2018 and 2019.