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Every tire sold in the U.S. must have U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) labeling. The first two characters indicate the factory of manufacture, and the next five or six are manufacturer-specific jargon (for tracking purposes, as in the case of a recall). The last four numbers give the date of production which let you know how old your tires are with the first two digits indicating the week and the latter two the year (for example, "2318" means that tire was produced in the 23rd week of 2018). The European equivalent of the DOT code may also be present (it starts with an "e"), although fewer manufacturers are printing both on a tire's sidewall. If this string of numbers ends with "-S," it means the tire complies with European noise regulations.

As shown, the first 2 digital represent the week of the year it made and the last 2 the year itself. In this example it's somewhere in the 3rd full week of May 2020.

It's generally accepted that tires in normal use should see 5 years from that date. Driving hard and overheating or overloading will shorten their life. If they are out in direct UV light for long periods will shorten their life. Look for fine cracks or flakes of rubber falling from the sidewall.

Normal tire life is based on tread depth. Normally a minimum of 1.5mm tread depth across the entire face is considered safe.

There are tread wear indicators molded into the grooves. These are a raised section about 5mm wide at random points in the groove.

If tire wear is uneven than you have an alignment issue and/or loose/worn suspension components.