Recently, there's been a lot of concern about tire age and how long the serviceable life of a tire is. Federal law requires tire manufacturers provide standardized information permanently branded on the sidewalls of all tires sold in the United States. This includes information about the tire’s basic characteristics, capacities and construction, as well as its U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) tire identification number used for safety standard certification and in case of a recall.
A tire's DOT number is ten to twelve alpha numeric characters that help identify manufacturing location, size, specifications and week and year the tire was made. This DOT number also identifies what production batch the tire was made in. Regulations also require the entire DOT tire identification number be branded on one sidewall, while only the letters "DOT" and the first digits of the tire identification number be branded onto the opposite sidewall (shown below). Therefore, it's possible to see a tire identification number that appears incomplete, yet simply requires looking at the tire’s other sidewall to find the complete numbers.
Our experience has been that when properly stored and cared for, most street tires have a useful life in service of between six to ten years. And while part of that time is spent as the tire travels from the manufacturing plant to the manufacturer's distribution center, to the retailer and to you, the remainder is the time it spends on your vehicle.