Tire age is the most important factor to consider when buying new or used tires. Just because a tire is brand new does not ensure that it is safe to use on a vehicle. As tires age the rubber breaks down and begins to crack, which can result in devastating car wrecks. For optimum safety, do not buy tires manufactured more than six years ago, learn to decode tire identification numbers, and always determine tire age before you buy new tires.

Step 1

Look for the Tire Identification Number branded on the sidewall of the tire to determine the tires age. The Tire Identification Number is preceded by DOT, which stands for Department of Transportation, and is 10 to 12 digits in length. You may have to check both sides of the tire to find the complete Tire Identification Number.