How to tell the age of a camper tire


When you are buying a used camper, RV or motor home, you should always take into consideration the condition of the tires not only for safety but for the additional cost that might be incurred if the tires are in poor condition.  The condition can be due to the care of the tires as well as the age.  Typically, camper tires will dry rot from age, lack of use or care before the tread will wear out.


When it comes to determining the age of a tire, it is easy to identify when a tire was manufactured by reading its Tire Identification Number (often referred to as the tire’s serial number or DOT tire code).  Unlike vehicle identification numbers (VINs), Tire Identification Numbers are codes that identify the week and year the tire was produced.  The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and 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.Tire Code


Since 2000, the week and year the tire was produced has been provided by the last four digits of the Tire Identification Number  The last 2 digits are used to identify the year with the preceeding 2 digits being used to identify the week.  For example, the picture to the right has a tire manufactured during the 42nd week of 2002.  While the entire Tire Identification Number is required to be branded onto one sidewall of every tire, current regulations also require that DOT and the first digits of the Tire Identification Number must also be branded onto the opposite sidewall. Therefore, it is possible to see a Tire Identification Number that appears incomplete and requires looking at the tire’s other sidewall to find the entire Tire Identification Number.  The use of a partial Tire Identification Number on the one reduces the risk of injury to the mold technician that would have to install the weekly date code on the top sidewall portion of a hot tire mold.


Tires Manufactured before 2000 used a Tire Identification Number that was based on the assumption that tires would not be in service for more than ten years. While they were required to provide the same information as today’s tires, the week and year the tire was produced was contained in the last three digits. The 2 digits used to identify the week a tire was manufactured immediately preceded a single digit used to identify the year.  While the previous Tire Identification Number format identified that a tire was built in the 8th year of a decade, there was no universal identifier that confirmed which decade.  Tires produced in the 1990s usually had a small triangle following the Tire Identification Number to identify the decade.  




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