Where and what does the DOT number stand for?

ADAC summer tire test_Contidrom_September 18-19, 2012

Where is the DOT number?

The so-called DOT number is on the outside of the Tire wall to find. The abbreviation “DOT” stands for “Department of Transportation” and, to put it simply, indicates the date of manufacture of the tires.
Where the first two digits are the Production week and the last two digits indicate the year of production.
For example, if a tire has the imprint “DOT 1514”, it means that the tire was manufactured in the 15th calendar week of 2014.
Nothing lasts forever and that is also the case with car tires, which is why tires should be replaced after 8 years.
The age of the tyres can be easily recognized by the DOT number!

The origin of the DOT number

The United States Department of Transportation introduced the so-called DOT number back in the 70s.
Over time, the DOT number has become the standard and can now be found on all tires.
The “DOT” is made up of four components, so in addition to the factory abbreviation you can also specify the tire size and the production period read off.
With the help of this number you can see when and where the tire was produced.
With some tires it happens that the DOT number consists of only three digits.
In this case you know that the tire was manufactured before the year 2000, only the last of the three digits indicates the year of manufacture of the tire.
For example, if the DOT number “346” is printed, this indicates a production date in 1986 or 1996.

The age of the tires

It doesn't make a big difference whether tires are used permanently or stored for a longer period of time.
Over time there are also signs of age on stored tires, which are caused, for example, by light and heat.
If the place where the tires are stored is too light or too warm, this can affect the premature aging of the tires.
Premature aging is noticeable through cracks or porous material.
If you store your tires without rims, then it is ideal if you store your tires upright.
However, tires with rims can also be stacked on top of each other, whereby tires without rims should be turned over once a month.
Moisture is also not so well tolerated by the rubber of the tires and causes the tires to age faster.
The most important factor in terms of tire safety and drivability, however, is the tread depth.
The technical condition of the tires should also be checked from time to time.
The abrasion of the treads, the strength and regularity of the load and different temperatures have the greatest effect on the tires.
Even if the material (the rubber) of the tires usually lasts for more than 10 years, tires have to be replaced beforehand due to the defective tire profile.

When should tires be replaced?

As a rule, experts recommend replacing the tires after 10 years at the latest, this applies to both summer as well winter tires.
However, tires can age much earlier, as you can see from the examples above.
It is therefore recommended that six-year-old tires be checked regularly for damage and cracks.
Using the DOT number, you can see exactly how old the tires are!

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