SAFETY SOLUTIONS: Do You Know How Old Your Tires Really Are?
Well Winter is here and with it brings a variety of weather conditions. Here in Arizona, we are in a drought while other places have severe winter weather of rain, sleet, black ice and snow just to name a few of these road conditions.
This brings to my mind a topic that I have not written about in a long time and this subject is protecting your family and others when you drive. Imagine cruising down the road returning home after a long day at work when suddenly the back tire of your vehicle explodes. Luckily, you maintain control and safely maneuver to the side of the road. Your tires are new, you purchased them a few months ago from a local tire shop. How could this happen to new tires?
Well it did happen to me. I recently purchased a used truck that looked like it had new tires on it. As I was driving it home, it felt like the tires were out of balance so I went to my tire shop where I was informed by the tire mechanic that the manufacturing date on the tires had been rubbed off. Rubbed off? Who could do such a thing? How could anyone put someone at risk of being injured? All of these questions crossed my mind. But it was a fact, someone did it and nobody cared about the safety of others.
Do you know how old your tires are? The fact is that all tires have an expiration date. Surprisingly, many consumers and sellers of tires do not know about tire expiration dates. An uninformed consumer thinks he or she purchased brand new tires when in reality those tires may have been sitting on the shelf for years. Even though the tires were never used on a vehicle, they are still several years old. Every tire has a birth date—the day it was manufactured—and an expiration date that is six years from that manufacture date. Most automobile manufacturers warn drivers to replace vehicle tires after six years. To wait any longer than that is a gamble with tire integrity and is risky for drivers.
So, what can you, as a driver, do to protect yourself, your family or others sharing the road with you? When buying new tires, ask for the newest tires available and look at the tire’s manufacture date. For consumers, determining the age of a tire can be a daunting task. The date of production can be found in a unique code at the end of 11- or 12-digit identification number on the tire’s sidewall.
But instead of the standard month/year display, the tire industry uses a week/year display. For example, a tire produced in early June of 2010 (in the 21st week of the year) would be displayed as 2110, instead of the more common 06/10 that most consumers are accustomed to seeing. Tire age degradation is part of a first-of-its-kind special investigation launched by the National Transportation Safety Board into the hundreds of deaths each year from "tire initiated events."
Please start the new year out right and check the dates on your tires. Remember, you can buy new tires off the shelf as people did at leading tires stores to find out later that the tires that they purchased were over 4 to 8 years old.
Should you ever have any questions on safety, health or environmental issues, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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