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Do Tyres Actually Have an Expiration Date – Read this to Avoid FRSC WAHALA

There has been some discussion and confusion over whether tyres do expire. This can lead to mismatched expectations when purchasing a new set of tyres. Does the tyre, seemingly a hardy product, have an expiration date? We explore this question and the guidelines issued by manufacturers.

One of our reader “Swiss” made a comment on our recent post about ‘Top 14 Documents or Items FRSC Check When They Stop Your Car in Nigeria

Tyres don’t have expiry date. Nigerians and especially road safety should know that. Tyre is made of rubber and it’s durability depends on a lot of factors like when u started using it, the condition u use them, how rough u use them….

In that regard, we are publishing this post whether if car Tyres Actually Have an Expiration Date? Most FRSC officials usually stop motorists to check if their tyres are new or expired, some FRSC will come up with some stories like OGA YOUR TYRES don expire, we are taking your car to our office etc, with the fear of delay ‘Et Cetera you would want to settle (bribe) them at the checkpoint.

On January 17 2013, The Federal Road Safety Corps Nigeria made a post on their verified Facebook page on

HOW TO CHECK FOR TYRES EXPIRY DATE

  • Tyres have an expiry date. To start with, vehicle tyres have a 4-year validity period from their Date of Manufacture (DOM). Thereafter, the tyre expires and may burst whilst in use.
  • How to find out whether your tyre has expired? First, check for a stamp like this: (0504). There is an asterisk at the beginning and at the end of this serial number (Some tires don’t have an asterisk).
  • The First two digits are the week so 0504 is the fifth week in 2004. Therefore, *0504* shows that the said tyre is manufactured in the 5th week of the year 2004
  • Check all your tires for safety purposes. Do not use expired tires. They are likely to burst, especially when running in hot weather) because the rubber component may have hardened and cracked

So, Do Tyres Expire?

While there is a manufactured date, there is no official expiration date for tyres. Tyres do not expire like how you would imagine food expires. That said, there are guidelines on using aged tyres. But first, we must state categorically that tyres do degrade over a long period of time and below we break down the factors causing degradation.

  • The main cause of tyre degradation is oxygen or commonly termed oxidation. Oxygen coming into contact with tyres will break down its rubber material properties causing dryness and making it brittle. The rubber is supposed to be flexible as it rolls underweight. In extreme cases, aged rubber is susceptible to cracks and/or causing the tyre to delaminate (tyre belt separation). This would compromise the tyre’s functionality. To slow down the oxidation process, antioxidant compounds are used during the manufacturing process.
  • Heat is another factor that affects the oxidation rate. When tyres are stored under high temperatures, it accelerates the oxidation process and reduces storage lifespan. Therefore proper storage can extend a tyre’s shelf life.
  • Tyres exposed to sunlight will absorb UV radiation which breaks down the chemical in the rubber materials. However, manufacturers combat this problem by introducing carbon black that will absorb UV radiation, which converts it into heat for dissipation.
  • Ozone, or ozonolysis, is another factor that can degrade tyres by causing the rubber’s polymer chains to break down. Ozone is essentially oxygen but with an extra atom reacting with rubber. But just as with UV radiation, manufacturers overcome this problem by applying physical or chemical antiozonants to prevent ozonolysis.

Tyre Manufacture Date

Tyre Manufacture Date
Tyre Manufacture Date

Now we are aware that tyres do degrade over time, it is useful to first determine a tyre’s manufactured date, which will give us a sense of the tyre’s age. This is represented by DOT, which is made up of a few characters and followed by 4 numbers at the end. These last 4 numbers represent the manufactured date.

Back in 2017, Michelin Malaysia published a report on using aged tyres.
Back in 2017, Michelin Malaysia published a report on using aged tyres.

The first 2 numbers represent the week number and the last 2 numbers represent the year. For instance, in the example above, the last four numbers are 2720. This simply means the tyre was manufactured on the 27th week of 2020 or around June/July of 2020.

Car Tyre Aging Signs

Car Tyre Aging Signs
Car Tyre Aging Signs

It is good to be aware of tyre ageing by doing a visual check on the tyre. The main sign of tyre ageing is when you notice cracks on the tyre. Ageing factors such as oxidation causing the rubber to break down will result in the separation of tyres causing cracks to appear. Cracks may appear on the sidewall of the tyre or in between the tread. So do a visual check during the purchase of new tyres or if your current tyres are past the 5-year mark.

In Nigeria, the guideline is that a tyre’s expiration date is about 4 years from its manufactured date. Thus upon new tyre installation, it would be optimal to have a balanced timeline that lasts your average usage time frame.

STORAGE AND EXPIRY DATE OF TYRES

FRSC on Expired Tyres
FRSC on Expired Tyres

Tyres should be stored in a cool and dry condition, out of direct sunlight and electrical generating equipment. Tyres should not be stored where they can absorb moisture to prevent tyre failure.

An average tyre has a four (4) years life span. The week of manufacture is also indicated on the tyres. For example, 5208 means the particular tyre was manufactured in the 52nd week of 2008.

The tyre which was manufactured in December 2008, whether fitted to the vehicle or not, had expired in December 2012

FRSC on Expired Tyres

So we can say, Tyres don’t expire but each country has laws prohibiting how things should be used, In Nigeria, you are allowed to use any vehicle tyres for only FOUR YEARS before changing to the new ones to Avoid issues at checkpoints with FRSCs officials.

Although It is still uncertain whether FRSC has powers to arrest, detain vehicles or levy fines. In September 2014, Justice Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Lagos held that FRSC has no power to arrest or impound any vehicle or make him pay fines.

The judge ruled that imposition of a fine connotes conviction and that only a court can pronounce a person guilty under Section 10 (4) and 28(2) of the FRSC Act 2007. The judge ruled that “it is thus very clear that FRSC’s functions should not go beyond the issuance of mere notices of an offence.”

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