Someone sent me the following link to a report done by ABC relating to auto tire safety. It shows you how to read the tire manufacture date that is encoded on the sidewall. As usual, they sensationalize the issue, but it is interesting to be able to know how to tell how old your "new" tires from Sears, Wal-Mart, etc., really are when you buy them. http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=4826897
I checked the tires that came on my 2007 Chevy Cobalt, and the manufacturing date code is 2806, which means they were made in the 28th week of 2006 - about 5 months before it hit the car lot. That's pretty good.
It might be fun the next time you go in to buy new tires to challenge the clerk if he/she tries to sell you "new" tires that are more than a couple years old. According to the ABC report, the unofficial expiration date beyond which new tires should not be sold is 6 years, so if your tire's manufacturing date code (as of this writing) is less than 3402, you might want to shop elsewhere, or try to negotiate a good deal.
- Kirt Blattenberger
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster