Old tires can be compared to time bombs in movement that can simply be defused by possessing knowledge on how to determine their age with proper care and timely inspection. Almost every one of us underestimates the value of tires installed in our vehicles, how they are the most important component of our sweet, sweet ride. You can take immense care of your ride, but what about the tires? The very first step for its maintenance is determining its age. This very article is just about the same. Read on.
What is tire aging?
Just like any other natural process, tire aging has its very own procedure too. You can divide it into three phases which comprise nothing more than a pure chemistry. The very first stage makes the tire harder and stiffer than ever. This process is known as vulcanization. In this process, robber molecules come together and interlink themselves using sulphur. This process is carried out under high heat and pressure while manufacturing process. But, vulcanization never simply comes to a halt during the lifetime of a tire. They keep absorbing light and heat, which changes the properties of a tire overtime going from elastic to transforming itself into stiff and rigid. Hence, breakable and lethal.
The second phase is called oxidation, the presence of oxygen makes the tire weaker by absorbing the strength and elasticity of the rubber. Or in the words of chemistry, oxygen leads to cross-linking between polymer chains.
The third phase is when water paves its way into the tire and in turn, destabilizes the rubber to steel-belt bond with a tantamount effect like it was triggered by the phases mentioned above: weakness of the tire, brittleness, and lack in elasticity.
But one must know that the wear and tear may also occur in the summer tires, if they are used roughly in the extreme weather conditions, no matter the age.
How to know the age of the tire?
Every tire bears a TIN (also known as Tire Identification Number). It comprises a combo of 12 letters and numbers. The only numbers that matter mostly in the TIN are the first and the last digits. The first two figures help in determining the manufacturer of the tire and the plant code.
In order to determine the time the tire was produced, look at the last digits of the TIN. But remember, before the year 2000, the last three digits signified the week and the year in which the tire was produced. For instance, if the last three digits are 418, then the particular tire was produced in the 41st week of the year 1998.
This is how you can determine the age of your tire too.