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How to Tell When a Motorcycle Tire Was Made: Deciphering Tire Codes

Posted on January 16, 2013 by TwoWheelMania.

How To Read Motorcycle Tire Date Codes

When it comes to motorcycle safety, the tires you use are an integral part of keeping your bike on the road. Knowing how to tell the age of a tire is extremely important.  Everything from the type of tire and the tread can affect its ability to stay on the road, and its age plays a role as well. The rule of thumb is to replace tires when they are 6 years old, even if they appear to be in good condition. This is because the rubber can develop dry rot and other structural damage that you may not be able to see.

Tire Manufacture Date Code

Where to find the tire code

You may be asking yourself how to tell when a tire was made, or how old are my tires?  You don't have to play guessing games to figure it out - the information is all right in front of you, on the sidewall of each tire. Look on the outer sidewall for the acronym "DOT," which should be followed by a series of numbers. The last four digits are what you need to determine when the tire was manufactured. The first two numbers represent the week, and the second pair indicates the year.

Where to look on the sidewall of your motorcycle for model number

Deciphering the numbers

You may need to grab a calculator to figure out the age of a tire. For example, a tire with the digits 2510 was made in the 25th week of 2010. Instead of grabbing a calendar and counting out the weeks to determine the month, you can simply divide the number of weeks by 4.3. In this case, the tire would have been made in June 2010. To determine the age, you can subtract the manufacture date from the current date, which would make this particular tire 2 years and 7 months old.

When you purchase tires from a dealer, you can expect that they will be between 18 months and 5 years old, so make a note of it to remind yourself when you'll definitely need to replace them. The sidewall also contains information pertaining to the tire's width and height as well as the size of the rim, making it easy to find a replacement that will fit.

In addition to tracking the age of your tires, you also need to be on the lookout for wear and damage in between replacements. Check out our article on "How To Read Motorcycle Tire Wear" to learn what you should be looking for.

There are many numbers and codes on tires. Learn more about what they mean with our guide: What Do The Numbers On a Motorcycle Mean?

  • Eric Ellis
    Hi Hash thank you for reading our article. Check out this article, it may answer your question.

  • Chris B
    Hello. Inlg been riding a year. I went to a well known shop and got a (what i thought) was a brand new front tire by Dunlop. Ten months in it started losing air. I took it back and explained that it may have a hole or leak. They said they would have to change the inter tube and would cost $85. Mostly labor.

    I get a call while waiting, they tell me the tire had dry rot. Not sure if i spelled that right.

    Anyways. It was going to run run me $386.46 For a replacement that they had on hand.

    I explained i got this from them new and i had specifically asked about their tires being old etc.

    Now its my fault for not checking the tire age after they gave it back howevr the date of the tire was june of 2015. I got the tire in Octobet of 2017 and now 7/6/2018.

    Is it normal to sell a tire thats already 2 years old? Especially on a motorcycle?

    I have a 02 Honda Shadow. I hate to imagine had i been on a sport bike and haf this happen on a lean. They only charged me the origional $85 however i feel i should have paid nothing considering it was their bad tire but whatever. They gave me a new tire so as long as i am safe.

    Just wondering thoughts on how old a tire can be before they shouldnt sell it or at the very least. Sell at a discount with a disclaimer. I had no idea. You bet ill check from now on.
    • Eric Ellis
      Hi Chris, the tire manufacturers don't have any hard rules on what constitutes an "old" tire, they only recommend that as long as it is well maintained, doesn't show any signs of breaking down and still has tread you change out a tire after 5-7 years. A two or three year old tire isn't all that old. As long as the tire is stored (on or off a motorcycle) in a garage or something where it won't sit in water, be exposed to excessive heat or sunlight, and has proper air pressure (if on the bike) it should last a long time without any issues. Glad to hear the shop you dealt with took care of you. Ride safe.
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