If you've just bought new tires for your vehicle, they ought to be brand new and good for 25,000 - 70,000 miles. Life expectancy of a car tire depends on what sort of roads you drive, your driving style, climate, quality and more.
Suppose, however, that you've just bought a set of new tires and one splits after fewer than 3,000 miles. Splits? Old tires can be expected to split, but when a new one splits, there is reason to be suspicious.
There are federal laws mandating the length of time tires can legally be on store shelves unsold. When they expire, those tires must be discarded and may not be sold. How, then, can a consumer determine the age of his new tires?
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires that Tire Identification Numbers be a combination of the letters DOT, followed by ten, eleven or twelve letters and/or numbers that identify the manufacturing location, tire size and manufacturer's code, along with the week and year the tire was manufactured.
Tires Manufactured Since 2000
Since 2000, the week and year the tire was produced has been provided by the last four digits of the Tire Identification Number with the 2 digits being used to identify the week immediately preceding the 2 digits used to identify the year.
Example of a tire manufactured since 2000 with the current Tire Identification Number format:
In the example above, DOT U2LL LMLR 5107 indicates that this tire was manufactured during the 51st week of the year 2007.
If you believe that you have been sold outdated tires as new, contact the store where they were purchased. If the merchant will not exchange the tires or issue a refund, report the complaint, including manufacturer, brand, line, tire size, component (tread, bead, sidewall), the vehicle the tire was mounted on and the entire date code number(s) at: http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/#tires
Go check your tires, folks and drive safely!