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Tire DOT codeDrivers will keep their tire pressure in optimum parameters, and make sure that the threads are still good, but most often than not, we overlook the other factor that tells us how good the tire is at holding the car on the road, its freshness.

As tires are made of rubber compound, and rubber tends to get stiffen over time, fresher tire will always yield better grips. As a rule of thumb, never buy tires that are manufactured more than 6 years ago, sitting on the shelves all these while.

Fortunately, the tire manufacture date is stamped on every tire as part of the DOT code. Look out for the 4 digit code (if it is 3 digit, your tire is already way too old, manufactured before the year 2000) stamped on the sidewall of the tire. The first two digits denote the week of birth, and the last two digits describing the year of birth.

In the accompanying picture, then, 3902 means this particular tire was manufactured on the 39th week of 2002. Dividing 39 by 4 (4 weeks a month) gets us 9.x, so it was produced sometimes in September, 2002. Simple as that.

So, next time when you put in new tires, make sure they are still new. If your current set of tires still has good threads left but are already over 6 years since it was produced, consider replacing them.

More info can be found on wikipedia Tire Code

Discuss : Tire DOT Code – knowing the age of your tires

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  2. QueenMab

    This is a great post – people always underestimate the importance of tire maintenance.


    I just went out and looked for the manufacture date of my Goodyear RS-A 17″ Tires which I purchased 2004. What a surprise – one tire had the manufacturer’s info, but the manufacture DATE was missing; on the other three tires there wa NO manufaurer’s data at all, just blank spots where the info should have been. The one tire with the INFO but with the missing DATE is probably the tire I had to replace a couple of years ago. Why is there NO Manufacturer’s INFO on my tires? Have I been ripped off and been sold OLD tires with the Data removed? If so what is my choice of action (if any)?

  4. Mary Sicard

    My husband put new tires on my car. There is a DOT code on the outside of the tire but no code telling me the year. I made calls to Uniroyal and got three different answers. I called Michelin who bought out the Uniroyal and they said the tire I had was not made before September 2007 but they don’t put the year code on the outside of the tire. I was told I had to go back to the dealer and have them take the tire off to see the code on the inside of the tire. This should not be happening today and I don’t have any comfort knowing when the tire was really made.

  5. I have a BF Goodrich tire with only 8 digits after the DOT they are AP72 FB21 what does that mean?



  6. Darth Vader

    I had similar problems too when I recently bought a new set of tires from Goodyear. Apparently, the newer tires put the 4-digit code for the year in the inside part of the tire. This is done so that we will not know the true “vintage” of the tire. The manufacturer does not want us to know.

  7. snpperhd

    My Michelin Pilot Sport RunFlats are matched pairs (17″ on the front & 18″ on the rear), only one tire in each set has the date code. The pairs each have the same first 8-digit code, but the 4-digit date codes are only on the passenger side tires. Not sure if many tires are build in pairs, but that could definitely affect your date code search if only a single tire was purchased. Good luck.


  8. The date code is stamped on one side of the tire only. If you have directional tire thread (ie. Michelin Pilot Sport), it will only appear on one side of the car when installed. If you don’t see it from the outside, the date code is on the other side facing into the car.

  9. It is possible that the dates on the tire not match with real dates ? I’ve got a Dunlop 190-65-15 but it does’n match . Please answer me ! Thank you !

  10. It is very important to know the ages of our tires, because they can cost the life..all the original tires are the code stamped, so if they don’t have any code don’t buy it..

  11. Jon Overby

    I bought a BF Goodrich tire that has raised White lettering on one side. I had them installed with the blackwall showing. The DOT last 4 stamp is “L211”. Does that mean anything? Is the DOT numbers that indicate the age of the tire only on one side of the tire?

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    Interesting article, i have bookmarked your site for future referrence 🙂

  13. very interesting article with a lot of useful informations i din’t know before, it is good thing to learn something new.

  14. The tire date code is only on the inside of the tire. You might be able to see the code on inside of the front tires if you turn the tire all the way left or right.

  15. i use dunlop tire SP10 and dot code is EU9P what does it mean

  16. Interesting stuff. But how did the DOT code calculate the year pre 1980? If 033, is 3 week of 1983, 033 tri is thrid week of 1993 and 0303 is third week of 2003, was there a DOT code on 1970’s tyres?

  17. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  18. Lapel Pins

    Good information. My buddy bought a set of used tires and I told him they looked old, checked the dot code and sure enough they were…

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    Thanks for this really great info.

  21. jium Krebs

    I have BFG Long trails. Two yrs on vechivle.

    Dot code is AP 72 FB 21

    What does this mean?


  22. It amazes me at how dumb people are. If you have a tire on your vehicle that was purchased in the US then it has a DOT number including the date code. If it’s not on the outside then it’s on the inside. Some people should not be allowed to breed.

  23. FemmeEnergy


    I’ve just learned that tires have a shelf life. Anyone know what DOT WBRV “e20” what week and yr this means? 2nd week 2010, or is this a fluke with a bad tire? Someone enlighten me ASAP.


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