All you need to know about: DOT on tires

If the cold season has come, I hope you have equipped your car with winter or at least all-season tires. Of course, but save some lives and some money…

During this period you will quite often hear discussions about DOT from all kinds of “experts”, who will give you free and kind hearted advice on DOT and how to choose the right rubbers.

In case you didn’t know, DOT is short for “Department of Transportation” and stands for a unique tire code, which is a series of 7 to 13 letters and numbers printed on the sidewall of the tire (the vertical surface of rubber above the wheel).

How to read the DOT code of the tire?

Knowing how to read DOT tire codes is essential whether you are financing or purchasing your tires. Only the numbers are visible on the tires. All you have to do now is figure out how to get them. Decoding the codes on older tires may be difficult. Continue reading to determine the age of your tire.

This quick tutorial will show you how to identify a tire’s manufacturing date and how tires can tell you the age of the tire using the DOT code. Keeping track of your tires and knowing their age can save you money on repairs and allow you to properly care for your vehicle.

Where can I find the DOT code on a tire?

Finding your tire’s DOT code isn’t always easy. Since there are no rules about where the manufacturer must place the information, you may have to look on several parts of the tires to discover the numbers. Identification information, on the other hand, is normally found on the inner sidewall of tires.

The numbers indicated by the DOT code are placed together and often enclosed in an embossed oval.

Tire DOT codes

Examine the tires from all sides. There should be lots of numbers and letters written on the sides. It may seem confusing. Still, this is useful tire information. Find the number that starts with DOT and then goes through the series from ten to twelve. This code will tell you a lot about your tires. With the help of the unique manufacturer code, you will be able to determine the tire size, year and place of production. You can also hire a wheel flat to get a better understanding of the tires. You won’t have to worry about the year of manufacture once you rent a tire inspection. They will take care of this. To be more useful to you, just search for a tire business.

The first two numbers represent the week the tire was manufactured. For example, the number 35 means “week 35”. The second number is the year the tire was manufactured, i.e. the number 07 indicates that the tire was manufactured in the year 2007. So the tire was manufactured in the thirty-fifth week of the year 2007. For tires that were manufactured in 2000 and after, the last four digits indicate the week and year the tire was manufactured. The first two digits identify the week and the other two identify the year. The place of manufacture of the tire is indicated by the phrase “Made in…”, which is also on the sidewall. The numbers shown directly after the DOT code specify the factory that produced the tire. Below are examples of codes for different factories:

  • A5 – Factory TC Dębica S.A. from Debica – Poland;
  • B5 – Michelin factory in Olsztyn – Poland;
  • J3 – Matador AS Factory, Puchov, Slovakia;
  • HW – Barum Factory, Otrokovice, Czech Republic;
  • 8C – Firestone French Factory – France.

Why is the DOT tire code important?

Just because tires are labeled “new” doesn’t guarantee they were recently manufactured. After being shipped from the manufacturer, tires may take a long time to reach tire stores. The DOT date code on your tires will tell you when they were made and how long they’ve been around. It is important to note that tires are sometimes rented for months or years at a time, so the DOT code on the tires may not be from the same year you bought them, which is not a problem.

As long as you know the DOT code of your tires, you can easily answer the question “How old are my tires?”. Be sure to check your tires regularly to prevent unpleasant driving experiences.