Tire aging has become an area of great concern. For many years, the life of a tire has been defined by its use and condition such as tread depth and sidewall condition. It is now clear that deterioration within the tire can occur over time which increases the likelihood of catastrophic failure.
Heat and oxygen are both enemies to tires. They work to degrade the internal adhesion of tire components. Environmental conditions such as exposure to sunlight or salty air also may adversely affect tires as they age. Tread separation is a typical failure mode of an aged tire.
The Department of Transportation number molded into the tire’s side provides information regarding a tire’s age. Unfortunately, decoding the age from the number is not easy for the lay person. The last four digits of the number represent the month and year the tire was manufactured.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration issued a Consumer Advisory regarding aged tires on June 2, 2008 which recommends replacing tires which are more than six years old. Many manufacturers have adopted warnings which direct the same.
If you, your family, or your friends are injured as a result of a tire failure, it is important to call an attorney experienced in investigating tire failure. These cases can be complex and expensive and should be handled by an attorney who has experience in this specialty.