How To Read Tire Codes Date? DOT Tire Codes Complete Guilde

By David Barlow
Last updated: Nov 24, 2022
how to read tire date code

What Does The DOT Number On A Tire Mean?

If you are an inexperienced driver, you may wonder about the meaning of the number and letter series on your tire sidewall. These specifications refer to the tire DOT code, a fundamental element to help you specify important information related to your tire. 

DOT represents the Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration introduced by the U.S in 1971. The DOT numbers on tires approve that the tire manufacturer meets all the safety criteria of this organization.

The longer number set is more widely known on all tires after the year 2000. This is the common and reliable way to read your complete tire specifications like the time and the place of production.

How To Read Tire Codes Date?

Tire Date Codes are also called Tire Identification Number (TIN). Normally, the Department of Transportation offers up to 13 characters to let you know essential information about your tire manufacturer.

Tire dot code
Tire dot code

7-12 Character TIN

The first two characters stand for plant code, which the manufacturer assigns the code for. The following one or two characters denote the size code of your tire.

The next code group is under four characters. These are the internal codes that the tire manufacturer designates the particular structure for that tire. These characters may vary depending on the manufacturer, and their maximum length can be up to 12 characters. 

The final four characters refer to the date code and stand for the date of production. This reading applies to any tire produced since 2000. 

13 Character TIN

For 13 character TIN, the first three characters signify plant code. That’s why the current DOT tire identification number consists of 13 digits. 

The next six characters denote the size, type, and other compulsory important properties of the tire. The final four digits refer to the tire date of manufacture.

How to check tire manufacture date?

Some drivers might be confused about the ways to get a tire DOT number. If you are also in that situation, here is the tip on DOT numbers on tires you may need. 

Tires Manufactured Since 2000 

Since 2000, the date of manufacture includes four numbers. The first two digits signify the tire manufacturing week and the latter two characters represent the year of production.

Tires Manufactured Before 2000

Tire series number for manufacturing date made before the year 2000 consists of three digits instead of four. In particular, the first two indicate the production week, and the final one refers to the year.

Tire Date Code
Tire Date Code

As the picture above, this tire was manufactured in week 21 st, 2018

Besides, there are many numbers on the tire sidewall, which you can find out such as Tire Speed Rating, Tire Load Index

How About The Incomplete DOT Numbers?

The incomplete DOT numbers determine the prevailing DOT rules, in which the entire number needs to be signed only on one tire sidewall. In other words, if you discover some characters on one sidewall, check the opposite sidewall to get the whole DOT number.

When you can’t find any DOT number marked on its sidewall, which means this tire doesn’t satisfy all U.S. standards. Hence, these tires with incomplete DOT numbers are illegal in the United States.

David Barlow

Automotive Experts at World Tire Review

Hi everyone, I’m David (Tireguy). I believe that finding tires can lead to a lot of confusion and frustration for almost every driver. That’s why I would like to bring my experiences and knowledges to develop World Tire Review blog, it will give people a deeper understanding of what choosing the right tire is really like!