In addition to infrequent use, exposure to sunlight and warmer climate, poor storage and poor maintenance also contribute to tire aging. Tire aging is a greater concern in the more southern parts of the Sun Belt states, as illustrated in the map on the right.
- Conduct monthly maintenance inspections, focusing on proper tire inflation pressure, treadwear and tire damage, along with recurring tire rotation, and balancing and alignment services.
- If your car has a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), pay attention to it! All passenger cars, light trucks, and vans that are model year 2008 or newer come equipped with this feature. If the TPMS symbol lights up on your dashboard, it means at least one tire is already significantly underinflated—you should take immediate action.
- You should stop using tires for several reasons, including if a tire’s tread is worn down to a minimum depth using the penny test, signs of physical damage (cuts, cracks, bulges, etc.), or signs of irregular wear or other damage due to under inflation or overloading. Don’t use your spare as a replacement for worn tires.
- Consumers are strongly encouraged to be aware of not only their tires’ visual condition but also any change in how they perform. If you notice any tire performance issues, such as failing to maintain proper tire inflation pressure, noise, or vibration, consult a tire service professional.
- As tires age, they are more prone to failure. Some vehicle and tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires that are six to 10 years old, regardless of treadwear. You can determine how old your tire is by looking on the sidewall for your DOT Tire Identification Number (TIN) . The last four digits of the TIN indicate the week and year the tire was made. If the TIN reads 0308 it was made in the third week of 2008. Look on both sides of the tire. The TIN may not be on both sides.