Did you know that your car’s tires have the week and year that they were made stamped right into the side of them? Pretty cool right? On the side of every tire made after the year 2000, there is an oval with 4 digits in it (as pictured above). The first two digits are the week of the year, and the second two digits are the year itself. On this 2005 Mazda Rx8 tire, you can see “1009”, which means it was built during the 10th week of 2009. Not too shabby.
Now, if your tires were made before the year 2000, things were a little more wild and crazy. They still told you the week and the year that they were built, but they did it with three digits instead of four. (What?!) Tire manufactures assumed that nobody would have tires more than 10 years, so the numbers could potentially repeat themselves once each decade. Let’s have an example, shall we? Pretend you have a super rare, silver 1992 Dodge Spirit R/T 2.2L Turbo. It’s all original right down to the tires, and with over 220 horsepower on tap, you are looking to burn the meats off in grand fashion before replacing them with M/T ET Drag Radials. Dangit! You’re shoelace is untied again. You bend down and catch a quick glance of the oval on the tire with “211” stamped into it. You’re a clever cat, so you obviously know that the first two digits mean that the tire was made during the 21st week, and the “1” is the 1st year of that decade, which was 1991. You quickly lace up your high-tops, hop in the Spirit, pop your MC Hammer tape in, rip the e-brake, and proceed to shmammer the tires as your friends cheer you on in fits of joy.
…annnnnd back to reality for a quick moment – This tire dating knowledge is not just a great way to impress the ladies, but it is a good piece of info to have when buying new (or used) tires. Naturally you want the latest and greatest rubber between you and the asphalt. Whether you can see it or not, old tires just don’t grip like a new set does.