I started writing this as part of another post but quickly realized my rant was starting to take off to a point where I felt it necessary to make this the subject of its own post. I only hope the information I share will someday be helpful to you when you shop for “NEW” tires.
We’ve been traveling the country for more than six months pulling a 25’ travel trailer. Currently in beautiful Colorado, I felt it’s time to replace the tires on our truck. After 41,000 miles the tread was wearing thin and I was beginning to feel uncomfortable towing the camper. I wanted the same Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure tires as I had. I’ve been please with these tires. I called a tire shop in Delta and they said they would have them the next day. When we arrived the next morning, I asked to see the tires before they were installed. It’s a good thing I did. The DOT code on the tires showed a manufacture date from 2017. “Those are three year old tires. That is not acceptable”, I told the salesclerk. I made it clear I would not accepted any tire more than a year old. The salesclerk apologized and immediately called the supplier who promised to make it right.
Tires manufactured, starting in the year 2000, have a four digit date code on them. You can find it by looking to the right of the raised “DOT” on the sidewall of the tire. The first two digits will be a number from 1 to 52 and it indicates the week the tire was manufactured. The last two digits indicated the year it was manufactured. For example, a tire with a DOT4519 means the tire was manufactured during the forty-fifth week of 2019.
Does the age of the tire matter? It certainly does. The rubber compounds in a tire degrade over time. Think about that old rubber band you found wrapped around a folder lost in the back of the file cabinet. Oxidation of the organic compounds manufactured in tires (and rubber bands) cause a slow but unavoidable degradation compromising tire performance and safety. Dry rotting and cracking are common with aged tires. Even an aged tire that looks new should be cause for concern. Some car manufacturers are recommending replacing tires after six years regardless of the wear on the tire. You might want to look in your owners manual for that warning.
Certainly tire storage is a factor. Is the tire wrapped and out of the sunlight? Tires protected from the sun’s UV light and stored in climate controlled warehouses will degrade at a slower rate. But do we really know how a tire was stored? Tire retailers downplay the importance of the tires age. They will say things like” the warranty starts from date of purchase, not from when they were manufactured.” or “ The life of a tire is 10 years.” Apparently, there is no law preventing a tire retailer from selling an older tire as new, so it’s “Buyer Beware.” I have to ask though, if you are paying for new tires for you family car, what do you want the manufactured date to be?
The following morning I showed up again at the tire shop in Delta and asked to see the second set of tires. They were still on the delivery truck and I had to wait for them to be unloaded. This time there was one tire dated in 2019 and three tires dated 2018. Okay, I was done with them. I left there and drove to the Ford Service Center in Montrose for a routine service, oil change, filter, etc, etc.
I told the service representative about my experience at the tire shop and he said, “no problem, we stock those tires. Let me get you a price and we’ll get you all set up.” The price was nearly the same as the other tire shop so I agreed to have them installed with instructions to check the date code and insure they were less than one year old. It wasn’t too long that the service rep came back and apologized, “I’m so sorry but we went through all our Goodyear Wrangler tires and can’t find anything newer than 2018.” What the heck is going on here? Doesn’t anybody check the dates on their tires? The service rep promised to find me four new tires and would call me when they arrived. Okay, surely Ford can get newer tires.
The next day I received a late afternoon call from the servive rep at the Ford Service Center, “I’ve got your tires. Can you be here before closing time?” So I dropped what I was doing and arrived around 5:30 p.m. I was standing at the counter in front of the service representative just about to hand him my keys when I looked him in the eye and said, “are you sure all four of those tires are less than a year old?” “Yeah, but if you want to see for yourself then follow me.” I followed him through the garage, up a steep set of steel stairs to the tires. One by one we inspected the DOT numbers, two tires dated 2019 and two tires dated 2018. I was livid. All the back-stepping apologies made no difference. I WAS NOT HAPPY WITH MONTROSE FORD NISSAN!
I got online and searched for information. Were the tires I wanted discontinued? Have they stopped manufacturing them? I wonder if COVID has any bearing on this. Despite my efforts I didn’t find any information about the tires. As far as I could tell it is still the tire put a new Ford trucks.
Okay, I thought maybe I need to deal with a tire center in a larger city. I called Discount Tires and Big O Tires in Grand Junction. I explained exactly what I was looking for and described the frustrating events of the past three days. Both businesses assured me they could fill my request. They explained to me that their tires come from a warehouse in Denver and they will have what I want by the next day.
The first call came from Big O Tires the next morning, “Your tires are here, but… unfortunately the DOT numbers are from 2018.” Well at least I didn’t have to drive the 50 miles to find out. The call from Discount Tires was the same story. Tires were delivered but the dates were from 2018.
Alright, so now I realize I’m not going to find the tires I want here. Do I continue driving on the tires with 41,000 miles on them until I find the tires I want or do I look for a different tire, a different brand?
A couple of days later we were in Grand Junction and I stopped at Discount Tire. No appointment, I just pulled into the parking lot. I was greeted as soon as I got out of the truck by a salesclerk. He wrote down the information from my truck and we went inside.
In less than an hour I was driving out of the parking lot with four new tires. After being presented with three options for my truck I chose the Goodyear Wrangler UltraTerrain AT. It has a more rugged tread than the All-Terrain Adventure and is designed for an enhanced on-road and off-road performance.
So far…so good. They do have a different feel, especially when towing, but I’m getting used to it. I’m happy that there is no noticeable road noise with the more aggressive tread design and I like the look. Best of all, I’m happy they are “new” tires with a DOT2920 stamped on the sidewall.
Thanks for reading and indulging in my rant. Hope your next tire buying experience goes easier than mine. I’ll keep you posted on any issues I have.
Until next time…happy days and safe travels.