Have you ever taken a look at your tire’s sidewall? It tells an important story. But all the numbers and codes can be confusing. So, in this week’s “Your Drive,” Audra Fordin deciphers the real sidewall story.

AUDRA FORDIN: Tires come in all different sizes.  Whether you have a small ten or a big twenty…bicycle tires, motorcycle tires, if you’re riding on rubber, eventually they’re going to wear down, break down, and need to be replaced, as that tread gets thinner. Take a look at the sidewall of your tire: It’s like a storybook.  You think it’s written in hieroglyphics, but actually there’s great, important information molded into the sidewall of the tire. 

The tire size is on the sidewall of the tire, and you can the tire size and pressure on the sticker on the driver side door jamb. Also, molded into the sidewall of the tire is a DOT stamp. It’s got four digits on it, and that represents when the tire was born. Did you know your tire has a birthdate? This tire represents 11-18, which means it is born the eleventh week of 2018.  Also on the sidewall of the tire, you can see it’s the thinnest part of the tire, which means if there’s any bulges, cracks or tears, that would mess with the tire’s integrity, making it a prime candidate for a blowout. So be mindful when you’re looking at your tires, if you see any wrinkles or crinkles in there, you want to go to the shop to have it replaced. 

You also see, on the sidewall of the tire, it mentions what I call the “T’s”: The temperature, the treadwear and the traction. The higher the temperature, the higher the traction, the higher the treadwear… that all means you have a great tire that can withstand all different kind of weather changes.  In addition to that, on the sidewall it also says what model tire that is.. meaning is your tire good for mud and snow? Is it better in the winter, or is it better in the summer? Another thing you can do with your tires when you’re all finished with them and it’s time to move them on to the next life, from the cradle to the coffin you can do recycling. There’s so many upcycling things like making mats, wheel chocks, playgrounds.. they’re using it for streets.

So, cement and paper companies use tires to burn for fuel because it’s hotter and cleaner than coal, which means.. make sure you recycle your tires. Questions or comments? Reach out to us, right here at MotorWeek.