June 13,2008—, 2008 -- Attention drivers, check your tires' born-on date before you take that summer road trip this year say safety experts and warnings distributed to European and Asian motorists by the tire industry. Even if they appear to be in good condition, experts say, tires more than 6 years old can put your life in danger. More than 100 deaths in the U.S. have been attributed to dramatic tread separation, the result of decomposing layers of old rubber inside the tire.
If you've never heard of the Department of Transportation's production code or that your tires have a shelf life like a jug of milk, you are not alone. A tire's DOT code is at the end of a jumble of letters and numbers imprinted on the tire's wall that show what week and what year the tire was manufactured. The code is difficult to find -- on the inside of one side of the tire. Safety experts say the location was not created with the consumer's best interest in mind.
Watch here to learn about the DOT code.
After years of delay and an ABC News investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a consumer advisory earlier this month warning motorists that outdated tires, even if they appear to be brand new, can lead to "catastrophic failure."