My Precious Pennies

I will be AWAY until late February as we do this moving thing...again.

Ginger from Attention Target Shoppers & Tricia from 1stopmom
will be holding down the fort in the meantime - thank you so much, ladies!

Monday, August 11, 2008


BEWARE: Your "new" tires could be old and unsafe.

Update: We just checked the tires on our car, and all four tires had the numbers 3406, meaning they were manufactured in the 34th week of 2006. This is great because I won't have to go and get new tires this weekend (which would be a disaster to our budget), but it's just proof that it's not unusual for tires to be sitting on shelves for 2 years. We purchased our car used from Honda in April of this year, and as part of their process they replace all four tires, meaning that our tires were on some shelf for 2 years before being put on our car. And now we know that we will need to replace our tires by 2011, instead of 2012. So check your tires, even if you don't have to replace them - at least you will be informed!

I received an email from my dad this afternoon containing a link to a clip of a 20/20 report on Aged Tires. I encourage everyone to watch it, and then tell as many people as you possibly can.

Basically, the 10 minute clip warns about using aged tires and the fact that many retailers all across the United States are selling these aged tires as brand new. They might be new by the fact that no one has used them, but they are certainly not new if they've been sitting on the shelf for years. As a tire's age increases, its safety decreases, and most experts suggest a 6 year expiration date on tires. Those "new" tires you bought last week could very well be 3 years old already.

The clip teaches you how to read the DOT (Department of Transportation) number on your tires to find your tire's birth date. I also found this website that illustrates the serial numbers. The only part you need to pay attention to is the last 3 or 4 digits, because that is the manufacture date. At first glance it's only 3 or 4 numbers that seem to mean nothing at all, but the way to read it is to take the first 2 numbers as the week of the year, and the last number as the year. Here are a couple of examples from the ABC clip:

231: 23rd week of 1991
2202: 22nd week of 2002
0604: 6th week of 2004
459: 45th week of 1999
1301: 13th week of 2001
466: 46th week of 1996
4302: 43rd week of 2002

Basically, if you only see 3 numbers at the end of your DOT number, that tire belongs in the trash because it was manufactured before 2000, making it at least 8 years old. Judge when to replace your tires by when they were manufactured, not by how long they've been on your car.

Now, I don't claim to be some tire expert or anything, but it just seems to be common sense to me. Unless it's a bottle of wine, I can't imagine anything performing at a "new" standard after sitting on a shelf for years. I'm sure all of us have found old things in the attic that we've forgotten about that no longer works at its previous state due to time.

And this is a car we're talking about, not batteries or some item of clothing. If our tire gives out at 60mph on the freeway, we pretty much have NO say whatsoever whether or not we're going to be walking away from it. Even if a tire is safe after it's 6 years old, it's a chance that I am not willing to take.

Unfortunately my husband currently has the car so I can't tell you how old the tires on our new car is. We purchased the car used, but they only started making the Honda Fit in 2007, so I'm hoping that our tires will only be a year or so old. The moment he gets home, I'm taking a flashlight and checking the car.

Please pass this information on to your family and friends. I'm all about being frugal and saving money, but I will spare no penny when it comes to our family's safety. So if it means spending money to replace what the mechanic is telling me is a set of perfectly good tires, I'll do it anyway. If he wants to take that risk with his family, that's his problem, but I certainly won't jeopardize the safety of my family to save a couple of dollars.

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