To read the date code on motorcycle tires, you must find the 4-digit part of the DOT code on the sidewall of a tire. The first pair of numbers means the week, and the second pair means the year.

Location of a date code on motorcycle tires
source: pitstoparabia.com

In the code, DOT is an abbreviation from the US Department of Transportation, which is responsible for traffic safety and regulations. So, if you are wanting to determine the age of a tire with the code 3507, you should read its manufacture date as the 35th week of 2007. This is the standard form for every date code on motorcycle tires made since 2000.

How Many Years Do Tires Usually Last

Motorcycle tires usually last for 5 to 10 years, but the golden age, according to most manufacturers, ends at the 6th year of a tire’s frequent usage. The aging process depends on the environment and usage conditions, type of rubber, purpose of the tire, etc. But, make sure to remember a tire can be stored in a shop for 2 years or even more. The date code on motorcycle tires will help you choose a set that will last for as long as possible.

Interesting Facts About Date Code on Motorcycle Tires

Tire Codes Before 2000

Tire code before 2000
source: quayle-co.com

Before 2000, the date code was written in three digits, and was considered logical, as no tire would serve for longer than a decade. The first pair meant the number of the week, the third number meant the year of the decade.

It was more difficult to tell how old a tire was, as 469 may have indicated the 49th week of ‘96 or even ‘86. It was much easier with the tires that were manufactured in the 1990s, though. Aside from the 3-digit code, there was a small triangle placed on the sidewall.

Awareness of the Date Code on Motorcycle Tires

Potential tire problem awareness survey results
Frequencies and percentages of participants who reported each response category as a potential tire problem. (source: http://www.hfes.org/Web/HFESNews/tireaging.pdf)

 

According to the results of a survey published in 2006, only 4% of consumers are actually aware of the dangers tires pose when aging. The study was conducted because of a series of crashes due to tread separation in the early 2000s, which made many major companies, including Ford, recall a number of their tires. This was the main indicator of people’s unawareness of the importance of tire codes. After that, manufacturers started to put the hazard information in their manuals, encouraging people to check the date code.

Date Code Importance

For consumers’ convenience and attention, the code is now required to be put on both sides of a tire. This new rule touches on all other parts of the whole tire code, including the sizing of the tire, its load index, speed rate, etc. Initially, the date code on motorcycle tires was written mostly for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Such codes were supposed to make it easier to recall certain tires if a defect or any other problem was found. Nowadays, they are also becoming important for bikers and drivers, as the knowledge about determining tire age is needed.

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