Tire DOT Number Decoded

Ever wondered how old your tires are? Looking to buy a used tire? Keep scrolling and you’ll find out what reading the tire DOT number can tell you. * By the way, D.O.T. stands for Department of Transportation.

Here’s an example of a tire DOT number:

getTREAD blog tire DOT number


The first 4 characters of the tire DOT number are the plant code, followed by the size code. This comes in handy if there is ever a tire recall. Manufacturers can read the DOT code on a faulty product, using it to narrow down which plant may have made faulty products – and send that associated tire code information out to alert anyone who may have purchased a tire containing that DOT code.  This is all made possible by registering your contact information and your tire DOT numbers with the specific manufacturers (tire dealers are now required to do this for all their customers – to keep everyone safe).


This is a code used internally so that manufacturers know the model/spec of the tire if it needs to be retraced. It obviously varies from brand to brand, but suffice it to say it differentiates a Michelin Pilot A/S 3+ from a Michelin Pilot Super Sport (for example)


The last 4 digits of the tire DOT number are the Week and Year of manufacture. It’s important to know the date of manufacture of your tires, especially if you are buying used tires. As tires pass the 24 month lifespan, they tend to lose essential oils through exposure to heat and sun. This loss of oil content leads to a decrease in the tire’s flexibility and elasticity. This can lead poor traction, crackling, or tearing in the side wall if not removed from service appropriately. So if you’re in the market for used tires, be sure to ask for the DOT number of each tire and check the last 4 digits to confirm if they are more than 24 months old. Used tires are definitely cheaper than the comparable new tire, but just keep in mind there may be an element of safety to consider before making your decision.


Well, now you know a little bit more about tire DOT number decoding. Rest assured if there ever is a recall on a set of tires bought from getTREAD, you will be notified immediately and the appropriate steps and credits will be applied to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.

For more info on tire safety, hop over to our 3 Things To Know About Tire Puncture. And of course, if you’re in the market for new tires, check out the top brands and shop for tires based on your needs. Search by vehicle or license plate, filter by driving style. Book appointment online, and of course – WE COME TO INSTALL.

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UTQG Ratings Explained

Tire manufacturers publish UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grade) ratings  to help consumers understand the potential performance of a tire, based on 3 things. Treadwear, Traction, and Temperature.  The one thing to note hear is, the individual tire manufacturers (like Michelin, Bridgestone, Pirelli) grade their own tires, based on comparison with a their own standardized control tire. All tires are tested on a 400 mile test road in West Texas for 7,200 miles.  The wheel alignment, air pressures, and tire rotations are done as consistently as possible. They then measure the treadwear and come up with a calculation on how long the tread will last.

However, it’s currently not 100% appropriate to compare two tires from two different manufacturers directly, because they are essentially rated according to slightly different scales (like we mentioned earlier, each manufacturer sets up their own standard control tire to measure against). Nevertheless, all manufacturers are required to displays their tire’s ratings on the tire sidewall, and it’s something they can use to advertise their tires.

Here’s an example:

getTREAD-blog-treadwear-ratingIt shows a UTQG of 680 A B. Now, to find out what those numbers mean, let’s dig a little deeper.


Treadwear rating is designed to let the consumer know roughly how long the tire tread with last (in miles) before needing replacement. The tire is measured against a control tire which has a grade of 100. This means that a tire of treadwear rating of 200 should go twice as far before wearing out than a tire with treadwear rating 100.  A tire with rating of 80 will have a shorter life than the control tire. The higher the number, the more mileage, the lower the number, the less mileage.


This is a measure of a tires straight line wet coefficient of traction, while the tire skids across a test surface. It’s done on a fixtured trailer that skids the tires across wet asphault and concrete test surfaces while measuring the coefficient of friction. The way the test is done, it cancels out any affect of tire tread design, and rather tests the tire’s rubber compound. Traction ratings, from highest to lowest, are AA, A, B and C. AA has the most traction, while C has the least.


The last UTQG rating is related to temperature. It denotes how much heat is generated or dissipated by the tire. The test is run by rolling an inflated tire against a giant test drum. The tire is run at high speeds and the temperature is measured. Temperature ratings are A, B, and C. A being the highest (highest speed to manage heat), C being the lowest (lower speed to maintain heat). C is the minimum legal rating for a tire sold in the U.S.


Well, now you know a little bit more about UTQG ratings. Tire testing is quite a complex science. And it’s for that reason why we mentioned that these ratings are difficult to compare (apples to apples) against different manufacturers. But as a rough reference, it’s a place to start if you want to get a basic idea about a tire’s performance potential.

For more info on specific tire recommendations for your application, hop over to our tire shopping link. You’ll enjoy less shopping hassle – with our innovative “Driving Style” filter, you can zone in on the best tire for your needs – and of course – we COME to INSTALL! Happy shopping!

Choose The Right Tires With 3 Quick Tips

The quest to choose the right tires can seem like a maze to a lot of people – so we’ve laid out three things to know when starting your search for tires:


Choosing tires is kind of like choosing shoes (just go with me – it’ll make sense). You wouldn’t wear flip flops to trudge through snow in Minnesota, and you shouldn’t drive through it in summer tires either. Neither would you wear hiking boots to go out dancing – that’s like driving on studded snow tires in the summer! The point is – dress for the occasion & know your driving conditions. – and yes, if you’re thinking it – the little black dress would be considered the “all season tire” – works well in most occasions.

Ok, back to being serious. Here are some more factors to keep in mind:

  • Temperature: below freezing, mild, scorching hot
  • Rain: dry as a t-rex bone, moist-ish like a good turkey sandwich, or as soaked as a German Shepard after playing outside with the sprinklers
  • Terrain: sand, dirt, rocks, gravel, brick pavers, concrete, asphalt, inclines/declines, sharp turns
  • Speed conditions: low speed stop & go, mid speed around town , cruising on the open highway

getTREAD choose the right tires - driving conditions


Step two on how to choose the right tires, is knowing how you drive.  Are you easy going, normal paced, or spirited & lively?

getTREAD choose the right tires - driving style

If you brake, accelerate, and corner harder than average( like with sport oriented vehicles), you should keep that in mind when browsing the tire categories (briefly explained below)

How many miles do you put on your vehicle per year? This will help you clarify if you need a treadwear warrantied tire (some brands offer 60,000+ mile treadwear warranties).

Will you be keeping the vehicle for a while, or will you be selling the vehicle soon? Buy tires appropriate to your situation.


getTREAD choose the right tires - tire categories

Step three of your quest on how to choose the right tires, is knowing the tire categories. Check out the quick break-down below to get your head around all the different types of tires you may see

All Season / Touring: The default go-to. Very versatile, they go pretty much anywhere and perform well in most conditions. Good traction in wet or dry, and longer tread life than performance tires

Performance: Better acceleration, handling, and braking during sporty driving on dry roads. Not as good as All-Season in the rain. Shorter tread life than All-Season, and not recommended for snow.

Ultra High Performance (UHP): Best handing, acceleration, and braking on dry roads to unleash the maximum potential from your sports oriented vehicle during “spirited” driving. Wet traction is worse than All-Season, and the tread life will be the shortest of all the categories.

Winter/Snow/Mud: Great at their intended conditions, but tire noise is noticeably louder than Performance or All Season


So that’s 3 Quick Tips To Choose The Right Tires. For more info on specific tire recommendations for your application, hop over to our tire shopping link. You’ll enjoy less shopping hassle – with our innovative “Driving Style” filter, you can zone in on the best tire for your needs – and of course – we COME to YOU! Happy shopping!

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