Monday, May 6, 2013

Are Your Tires in Dangerous Condition?

Good tires are one of the most important aspects of safe driving.  Hands down.  Sean Kane, president of Safety Research and Strategies, Inc. explains an aging tire to an old rubber band. "If you take a rubber band that's been sitting around a long time and stretch it, you will start to see cracks in the rubber," says Kane, whose organization is involved in research, analysis and advocacy on safety matters for the public and clients including attorneys, engineering firms, supplier companies, media and government.

Cracks in the rubber develop over time and can appear on the surface and inside of the tire, as well.  This cracking can cause the steel belts in the tread to separate from the rest of the tire. Improper maintenance and heat can accelerate the process.

How Long Does a Tire Last?

Lifespan differs and there is no guideline on tire aging, but tire manufacturers like Continental and Michelin say a tire can last up to ten years, provided you get annual tire inspections after the fifth year. There’s no way to put a date on a tire because there are several factors that affect the life of the tire:

  • ·      Heat
  • ·      Storage
  • ·      Conditions
  • ·      Use

How to Determine Your Tire’s Age

All you need to know is the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number.  Tires manufactured after 2000 have a four-digit DOT code.  The first two numbers represent the week, while the second two represent the year.  If a tire has the code 1109, it was made in the 11th week of 2009.   After finding the tire’s birthdate take a look at the rubber.  Look for tread distortion, hairline cracks in the sidewall, and vibrations in the dynamic properties of the tire, could be cause for alarm. 

For more information, come in and see us.  We’ll do an extensive tire inspection and let you know the exact status of your tires.

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