Date of Manufacture - Felipe Carvalho/Car Hunter - Felipe Carvalho/Car Hunter

My first job was at one of those big fast-food chains, the one with the famous golden arches. I learned a lot there, and one of the things I still carry with me is the custom of checking the expiration date on food products. Here at home they even make fun of me. For my wife and daughter, I’m the boring guy who is hunting for expired products in the cupboards and who always argues when he finds one, especially when there’s a newer one that’s already being used.

This addiction to dates also applies to my current profession as a Car Hunter. Whenever possible, I look for the manufacturing date of the used vehicle parts I review. Not that you want to know the expiration date on them, something that doesn’t exist like food. But I think it’s important to attest to the parts that are still the same as when the car was manufactured and those that for some reason have already been replaced.

For example, it is desirable that parts that do not wear out, such as headlights, taillights and windows, have the same year of manufacture as the car. As for those that suffer from the action of time or use, such as tires and shock absorbers, it is perfectly understandable when they are younger than the vehicle.

Anyway, this habit from the past still helps me today and is still a differential in the evaluations, since I can have subjective opinions, based on dates of parts and maintenance that were carried out.

Tire validity

Now, getting into the topic of the column, the expiration date of a car’s tires is one of the most controversial things in this environment. A five-year magic number is the most widespread, but depending on which side people are on, the opinion can be different to suit a self-interest of that moment. It is worth making it clear that I am referring only to wear by time, and not by use.

People selling a car tend to be more tolerant of tire age, as they don’t want to invest in a new game or have to discount the sale price for the next owner. For the seller, if the tires appear to be in good condition, the shelf life is longer than five years.

That same person, but as a buyer, tends to be less tolerant of the age of the tires and will require some repair from the seller if the tires are five years old or older.

What Manufacturers Say

To “kill” the controversy once and for all, there’s nothing like consulting the tire manufacturers. To the surprise of some, I have not found any that claim to be able to stipulate a maximum expiration date. See that it would be advantageous for them, from a commercial point of view, if in fact there was a specific deadline to encourage the purchase of new tires. Therefore, there is no way to discuss a possible commercial interest.

But there are some recommendations, and they are probably the ones causing the confusion. I consulted the website of the main manufacturers and I suggest that the reader do the same. There, they converge on the recommendation to pay greater attention to tires that are more than five years old, even if they are visually good.

After this period, they ask that they be analyzed by a technician, who will check for signs of drying out of the rubber, or pieces that are coming off. Let’s face it, it’s something easy to be checked by anyone. When it reaches 10 years of manufacture, even though it is still visually good, the recommendation becomes replacement, as the structure may be compromised, even if this cannot be proven.

How to know the date of manufacture of the tire

On at least one of the outer sides of the tire sidewall, the production date is printed by the manufacturer. It is a group of four numbers, which appear right after the inscription “DOT”. The first two indicate the production week, from 00 to 52, the maximum number of weeks in a year. The last two indicate the year of production. For example, 4421, indicates that the tire was manufactured in the 44th week of the year 2021.

Manufacturing date

Image: Felipe Carvalho/Car Hunter

how is it in practice

The idea of ​​writing about the topic has to do with the purchase of my current car, which took place in March of this year. It is a vehicle manufactured in 2012, model 2013, which had about 35,000 km at the time of purchase, a low mileage for the age of the car.

The tires were still the ones that left the factory with the car, with DOT 5112, and because they had run a little, they still had almost 5 mm deep in the grooves, well above the 1.6 mm limit required by Contran (National Traffic Council ).

So they looked good, but on closer inspection they were a little dry. There was no way, I had to negotiate with the former owner a discount on the purchase of the car, since the set of tires of the car I bought is close to R$ 4 thousand.

As soon as I bought the car, I still drove about 2,000 km very cautiously because I was aware of the dubious quality of the tires present there. Earlier this month, just before traveling with my family, I actually decided to replace them with new ones. I kept the old ones with me, which will be used in training, but I leave here some photos so that the reader can see what a tire with little use, but a long time of life, looks like.

We can conclude that, in fact, the maximum durability is around 10 years, as recommended by the manufacturers.

Rubber Peeling Off - Felipe Carvalho/Car Hunter - Felipe Carvalho/Car Hunter

rubber coming off

Image: Felipe Carvalho/Car Hunter

Groove Depth - Felipe Carvalho/Car Hunter - Felipe Carvalho/Car Hunter

groove depth

Image: Felipe Carvalho/Car Hunter

Compromised internal structure - Felipe Carvalho/Car Hunter - Felipe Carvalho/Car Hunter

Compromised internal structure

Image: Felipe Carvalho/Car Hunter

Dry rubber - Felipe Carvalho/Car Hunter - Felipe Carvalho/Car Hunter

dry rubber

Image: Felipe Carvalho/Car Hunter

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