Tires are one of the most important safety aspects of any car and to give us some pointers we have our tire expert, Matt Edmonds. Matt, welcome back to Goss’s Garage.

Matt Edmonds: Pleasure to be here, Pat.

Pat Goss: Alright now, I gotta tell you something. I got a deal on this tire. I went on the internet and bought that brand new sucker for 25 bucks.

Matt Edmonds: Well, it looks brand-new, but we cheated a little bit. We looked at the born on date on that tire. Hate to tell you, but those are 18 year old tires.

Pat Goss: Ok. So that means that tire wouldn’t be a good bet to put on a car.

Matt Edmonds: Well this tire’s exceeded its life not through wear but through aging and those last four digits of that DOT number told us it was built in the 43rd week of 2000. So almost 18 years old.

Pat Goss: Wow, ok. Alright, center tire.

Matt Edmonds: Center tire. This is a tire that someone has really gotten the full life through wear on the tire by really maintaining this tire properly. Watching their air pressure, rotating the tire, making sure they have good alignment. A beautiful example of just even wear across the tire.

Pat Goss: Ok, this one.

Matt Edmonds: Well, this one here. A little uneven wear. I mean, looks like has a lot of usable tread depth. But certainly on the shoulder, that inside shoulder, alignment wear. That’s something that if you stay on top of, you can rotate your tires and wear it put evenly. But if you don’t, I mean it becomes an issue and you end up replacing a tire before it’s worn out.

Pat: Ok now, one of the things with this aging process is that as the rubber ages, it loses some of its grip.

Matt Edmonds: well, and the rubber loses some of its capacity to grip. Uh, the compounds tend to get hard as some of the chemicals come out of them. Uh, this is why we say tires really should be used within 10 years of their born-on date. Or, six years maximum in service. So, once you put the tires on your vehicle,  you know it may be two years old when you put the tires on, at eight years, that tire has reached the end of its life. But, you should at that point have worn through its use as well.

Pat: Ok now, when we talk about traction, collector cars, things like this Ford GT. Uh, that can be an issue.

Matt Edmonds: Well, and the Ford GT  here that we have only has 2400 miles on it. The tires are 12 years old. So you wouldn’t want to be pushing these tires really to the limit, exploring the performance limits of this car and certainly the limits of this tire because that tire now has reached the point where it should be replaced.

Pat Goss: Ok now, one of the most important things I think here, come away from this is to learn how to read that DOT code and pay attention to it.

Matt Edmonds: Absolutely, those last four digits of that DOT code give you that, as we said earlier the week and the year that that tire was manufactured. And, when go to buy tires, I mean, check what the DOT code is on the tires. I mean, your reputable tire dealers are gonna have you taken care of and make sure that you’re getting tires that will serve you well.

Pat Goss: Ok Matt, thank you. And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line, right here at MotorWeek.