According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), in 2003, an estimated 414 fatalities and over 78,000 automobile accidents occurred due to faulty/worn tires. Arguably, having good tires is the most important driving safety decision you can make. Fortunately, these accidents can be prevented by ensuring your tires are safe. The NHTSA has made the following suggestions to avoid tire failure:
- Do not carry more weight in your vehicle than your tires or vehicle can safely handle.
- Avoid road hazards
- Inspect tires for cuts, slashes, and other irregularities such as tread separation.
- Check your tire pressure. Under inflation and over inflation are dangerous.
- Check the tire tread.
- Rotate your tires.
- Purchase new tires that are the same size as the vehicle's original tires or another size recommended by the manufacture. Tires are not safe and should be replaced when the tread is worn down to 1/16 of an inch.
- Properly repair a punctured tire.
Now, if you are in the market to purchase tires don’t forget the tires manufacturing date is very important. Oftentimes, tires are brand new and have never been installed in a vehicle. Nevertheless, these tires may be old. According to Edmunds.com, if you take a rubber band that's been sitting around a long time and stretch it, you will start to see cracks in the rubber.” This is exactly what happens to old tires. The cracks in the tire may eventually lead to tread separation.
The age of a tire can be determined by the letters and numbers on the tires sidewall. Tires produced after 2000 will have a 4 digit DOT number. The 4 digit number represents the week and year the tire was manufactured. For example, if the tire reads 0407, the tire was produced in the 4th week of 2007.