Tire Date Code: How Old Are Your Tires?

The so-called tire DOT code tells you a lot of valuable information about your tire and is needed when assessing whether or not to get a new set of all-season or winter tires. One important piece of information included in the DOT (short for Department of Transportation) is the tire date code that helps you to calculate tire age. Here’s how to find the tire date code and decide if your car tires need an upgrade.

Where is the tire date code located?

Much like many other codes and markings all car owners should know when getting new tires, the tire date code is located in the tire sidewall. The DOT code marked on the tire sidewall consists of up to 13 characters. Of these, the last four numbers indicate the manufacture date of the tire. Note that this applies to tires manufactured after the year 2000.

If your tire was manufactured before the year 2000, the tire date code is made up of only three digits. However, it’s not recommended to use tires that old as the rubber compound has deteriorated greatly, rendering the tires less durable and safe to drive with.

In addition to the tire date code, the sidewall displays other important details, including tire size, type, speed rating, load index, and the UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grading) markings.

Nokian Tyres One HT tire sidewall
The Nokian Tyres ONE HT's DOT code is shown on the right side of the tire's sidewall.

What is the tire identification number (TIN)?

You can find the tire identification number (TIN) on the sidewall of each tire sold in the United States. The TIN and DOT codes are often used interchangeably but have some slight differences. Whereas the DOT code refers to a specific part of the TIN indicating the tire’s manufacturer and production facility, the TIN is a more detailed set of characters with more information about the tire. In other words, the DOT code is a subset of the TIN.

In addition to the tire manufacture date, you can find the following information in the TIN code:

  • The first characters make up the factory code, i.e. the facility where the tire was manufactured.
  • The next two characters tell you the size of the tire.
  • The third group of characters indicates the type of tire and its manufacturer's code.
  • Finally, you have the four digits, the tire date code that indicates the week and year when the tire was manufactured.

How to check the condition of your tires

Tire age is crucial for deciphering the condition of your tires, but it’s not the only thing that influences tire age. Make sure to check at least the following three factors when assessing your tires: manufacture date and age, tread wear, and tire pressure.

If you find that your tires should be changed into new ones, find your local Nokian Tyres dealer, where you can get new premium tires for your vehicle.

Check the tire manufacture date

The last four digits of the TIN indicate when a tire was manufactured. The two first digits in this set indicate the week of production, and the two other digits tell you the year when the tire was manufactured. For example, the tire date code “3422” means the tire was manufactured on the 34th week of 2022.

The service life of car tires is typically around 6 to 10 years, starting from the date of manufacture. You can prevent premature wear of your tires by storing them in appropriate conditions, checking them for damage and rotating tires  regularly.

Inspect tire tread wear

The week and year of manufacture are not the only factors helping you decide if it’s time to replace your old tires. How much you drive and how well the tires are stored and taken care of have a great effect on tire condition. You can check the safety of your tires by checking their tread wear. The less worn your tires are, the safer they are to drive with. An easy way to test tire wear is using a penny. Read more about tire tread depth to find out how.

Tire pressure monitor

Adjust tire pressure

Correct tire pressure is one way to care for your tires and prolong their service life. You can also save on fuel expenses as appropriate tire pressure lowers rolling resistance, leading to lower fuel consumption. Check your tire pressure regularly and adjust if necessary. The car manufacturer has provided recommendations for the optimal pressure level for your tires.


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