DOT (Department of Transportation)

The DOT code can be found on the tires and will help you discover the true age of the tire.

The DOT abbreviation on your tires means that the tire meets all applicable safety standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT = U.S. Department of Transportation). The DOT numeric code is also used by manufacturers that do not ship to the U.S.

The meaning of each position in the DOT code is fixed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The DOT code consists of a series of numbers and letters whose number and arrangement may vary. For the average motorist, the last four numbers are the most important.

For example: DOT NDMV KF1R 0413

 example of tire age marking - DOT

ND – tire manufacturer identification, most tires manufactured before 2015 have a two-digit code, some new tires have a three-digit code
MV – tire size based on the size chart
KF1R – optional manufacturer’s production code
04 – fourth week of the year
13 – year of manufacture

How do I find out the age of a tire?

You can find out the age of a tire simply from the code behind the DOT letters. Of these twelve symbols, the last four numbers are important in determining the age of the tire. These indicate the week and year of manufacture of that particular tire. For example, the numbers 0413 indicate a tire manufactured in the fourth week of 2013.

Remember that tires older than four years lose their usefulness and should be replaced.

I only have three numbers on my tire!

The four-digit code didn’t come into use until after 2000. Before 2000, only the three-digit code was used as standard. The first two numbers, as with today’s codes, indicate the week the tire was manufactured. The last digits are the year in the decade. You will find the code “078” on a tire manufactured in the 7th week of 1988. In the 1990s, a small triangle was added after these three characters. The “078Δ” designation is on a tire manufactured in the 7th week of 1998, see illustration.

 example of tire age marking before 2000

Want to decipher exactly what the DOT code on your tires means? Use the following links: