Tires: Why The Date Code Matters

There's no hiding age here

Tires: Why The Date Code Matters

Tired of me writing about tires? Allow me one more post for the year...well, for now.

Sometimes we get surprised clients when we inform them that their tires need replacing due to obvious cracks in the rubber. “But I just bought them!” they say. Did you know that the majority of tires have a date code on them which indicates the week and year they were manufactured? So just because you bought the tires last year, doesn't mean they were made that year. And remember that improper storage of tires causes the rubber to prematurely dry and crack. 
Depending on who you purchase your tires from, how they store their inventory and how often it takes for them to sell out and replenish their stock, you may not be getting what you thought you were paying for. And ok, you don't need to buy ones that were made that very month. But we've seen tires that were purchased in 2012 yet the date code says 2010.
While there's no law as to the expiry of tires, I'd personally be weary of anything older than 5 years. How long does a tire last? That depends on your driving habits, mileage, time, tire brand and whether your car is mechanically safe or not.
You may be thinking and shrugging: what's a few cracks here and there. Your car still drives fine, right? That's ok... totally your choice. Your auto technician isn't going to make decisions for you. Just keep this in mind - what happens when you stretch a rubber band beyond its elasticity? It snaps. There's no gradual warning. The same thing will happen to your tire if the rubber is dried out enough.  The cracks are just a symptom of the underlying problem. Now, I'm not one for the scare tactic so understand that I write from experience.  Tire blowouts happen because the rubber is too dry, despite having really thick tread life. Whether the rubber is malleable or not is important because tires expand a bit as you drive (due to increased heat in the wheel area) and they need to be flexible enough to adapt to the changing road conditions.
If you're in the market for used tires (not something I recommend, except for very certain circumstances), it'll be important for you to know how to tell the date code to inspect those 'mint' tires... in addition to checking the tire tread life. 
Look for the last 4-digit code after the DOT series. The first two numbers in the 4-digit code indicate the week it was made and the last two numbers indicate the year. So 4705 would mean that the tire was made in the 47th week of 2005.
Transport Canada tire date code
This tire's date code is 2602: made in the 26th week of 2002. See? Simple and easy!
Visit Transport Canada to learn more about tire sidewall markings.

Storing Your Tires

Yep, There's A Right Way To Doing This

Storing Your Tires

First thing's firstsome clarification:

  • Tires: Google defines it this way: "a rubber covering . . . placed around a wheel to form a soft contact with the road."

Tire image from wikipedia

  • Rim: Also known as "wheel," this is the steel, aluminum, or alloy part on which the tire is mounted. Affectionately referred to as "car bling" in most music videos.

rims image from

Note: When you say wheel in our trade, it doesn't mean tire!

As with all things cars, maintenance is keythat includes properly storing your extra set of tires, be it winter or spring season. Remember that your tires are made of rubber and will age naturally over time. Storing them properly will help prevent premature tire wear. 

If you leave tires for a long period of time in any given position, they'll develop a flat spotthis applies whether the tires are stored upright or on their sidehowever, you'll notice it less when the tires are on their side, because they have better weight distribution. If you have rims with tires, store them with the rim-side up to prevent damaging the rim. For the super organized, you could get a tire stand.

If you have an extra set of tires and rims, another option is to hang them up on your garage wall. Just make sure that the weight is being held by the rim, to avoid pressure on the rubber tires.

Usually we give clients tires back in bags (plastic or fabric totes). It's important to open up these bags when you get home and let the tires and/or rims dry out. Trapped moisture may cause rust, particularly if your tires are mounted on rims.

Since tires are made of rubber, avoid storing them where there's major fluctuations in temperature. Heat is also detrimental to the rubber, causing it to dry out and crack. Tires get good traction on the road if they stay malleabledried out tires are dangerous, because they're unable to flex with the road conditions and will cause a sudden blow out.

If you're planning to throw out tires that are mounted on rims and purchase new tires next season, it's a good idea to keep the old tires anyway, to prevent damage to the rim during moving and storage.

Thinking of getting winter tires for your car? What should you look out for? Click here to find out!

Image via


Winter Tires: What To Look For

Tips To Keep In Mind

Winter Tires: What To Look For

Shopping around for winter tires? Tires in general are a subjective purchase and there are so many options to choose from, like buying 'white' wedding invitationspearl white, cloud white, bright white, super-clean-teeth white. You get the idea.

Here are some tips from Transport Canada to keep in mind when buying winter tires:

  • Look for the peaked mountain with snowflake symbol when shopping for winter tires. Tires marked with this symbol meet specific snow traction performance requirements and have been designed specifically for use in severe snow conditions. There are some tires that are marketed as all-weather tires and may have a snowflake design (see example images below), but if it's not the peaked mountain symbol, it isn't a winter tire.


  • Tires marked M+S (Mud and Snow) or all-season tires may provide safe performance in most weather conditions, but are not designed for snow and ice-covered roads.
  • To assist you in controlling your vehicle in winter conditions, always install your winter tires in sets of four ONLY. It's important to install four matching tires, as mixing tread designs from different makes and models of tires may compromise handling.

Installing only two winter tires is dangerous. It doesn't matter if your car is front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. Winter tires installed only in the front of the vehicle will cause fishtailing, where the rear end of the car has no traction and you will have absolutely no control. Winter tires installed only in the rear of the car affects your ability to steer, because the feedback you get from the tires will cause you to either oversteer (to turn more sharply than needed) or understeer (you guessed it, to turn less sharply than expected).

While the minimum thickness of all season tire treads is 2/32”, we recommend replacing winter tires when the treads are 4/32”. Less than that, there's really not much tread left on the tire for it to cut through the snow and maintain traction on the road.

Click here to learn more about winter tires.