UNDERSTANDING THE SERVICE LIFE OF YOUR M/T TIRES
DETERMINING THE AGE OF A TIRE
The manufacturing date of a tire is incorporated into an 11 digit code, called a TIN (Tire Identification Number) located down by the bead of the tire. The only exception would be most Pro Drag Radials, which do not incorporate traditional TIN's. On street legal tires, the TIN is preceded by the letters DOT.
The last four numbers of the TIN represent the week and year of manufacture. In the Example below, this tire was produced the 35th week of 2008.
EXAMPLE: CY1JM5FJ3508 (3508 = date code)
THE SERVICE LIFE OF YOUR M/T TIRES IS NOT ENTIRELY DICTATED BY CHRONOLOGICAL AGE.
All M/T tires are designed with conscience efforts to maximize tire life with maximum performance. That being said, the useful life of a tire is a function of its use, application, and storage conditions. Since these elements can vary widely, and are not controlled by the manufacturer, accurately predicting the life of any specific tire based on calendar age is near impossible.
However, with that understanding Mickey Thompson does recognize the benefit of a uniform approach regarding the service life issue. Accordingly, M/T has come up with the following age criteria for removing tires from service. These dates are based from the manufacturing date.
- Race Tires – 4 years.
- Bias Truck Tires – 8 years
- Radial Light Truck Tires – 10 years
- Passenger Tires – 10 years
Under no circumstances should these recommendations be consider as an "expected" service life. Most tires will need to be replaced before these time limits are met due to service conditions.
Tires can be removed for several reasons, such as:
TIPS FOR MAXIMIZIING THE LIFE OF YOUR M/T TIRES
- Tread worn down to the minimum depth
- Signs of damage (cuts, cracks, punctures, impact damage, etc)
- Abuse (Long sustained burnouts, overload/under-inflation, improper repair etc)
- Weather checking
- Performance levels falling off.
- Proper inflation pressure and rim widths. This will help evenly distribute the load across the contact patch and even out wear.
- Inspect the tires for damage such as cuts, leaking valve stems, or punctures.
- If the vehicle is not frequently used, keep the tires out of direct sunlight.
- Proper balance and alignment.
- Rotate the tires as often as you can. If they feather too much in one direction, they may take a run or two to come back. This also means they should be rotated more often.
- Never let the tires sit flat or at low inflation pressures while under load on the car. Put the car up on jacks, or remove the tires and store them on their side.
- Tubes at times can help extend the tire life.