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Hidden tire codes could save your life

Posted on Wednesday, November 12th, 2014   

A warning has been issued about tire safety to drivers across the country. Tire aging poses a serious threat, as old tires could rip apart at any minute and put any driver in a life-threatening situation this holiday season. However, tires actually possess a hidden code that could save drivers from a tire blowout due to old tires. Very few people know about this hard-to-find code, but when car owners are examining the condition of their tires, this hidden number could potentially save them from life-threatening car accidents.

Unfortunately, even tire shops and companies are often unable to locate this code. Sean Kane, president of Safety Research and Strategies, thinks “in terms of informing customers, [the code is] terrible. It doesn’t work, no one would know that’s a data code.”

Why the negative opinion? Well, tires are actually marked by an 11 character number, followed by 4 digits that signify the week and year they were manufactured. Kane believes this code is unrecognizable, and lobbied the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to switch to a standard date featuring the month and year that the tires were manufactured, which is far more recognizable to consumers.

“Tire aging represents an invisible hazard,” says Kane. Major vehicle manufacturers like GM, Ford, and Chrysler currently urge drivers to replace tires six years after their manufacture date. However, drivers are often completely unaware of how old their tires are, and this code could be a life-saving way to alert drivers that their tires are getting old and should be changed.

“Tires can become brittle, crack and break apart like a rubber band,” says Kane. The NHTSA also found as many as 90 fatalities and 3,200 injuries associated with tire aging from 2005 to 2007. Ultimately, tire age could be the difference between a smooth trip and a fatal crash for drivers. If drivers are more aware of a readable code on the tires, they could save themselves by replacing their tires when necessary.

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