Finding & Reading DOT Code

Deciphering the DOT Code on Tires

by Jean-Claude Demuyser
(Belgium)

Typical DOT code

Typical DOT code

On my car I found the following DOT numbers, FK P5, I know FK means Michelin but what does means the P5?



Editorial Comment:


The second pair of characters in the DOT series are a code which the tire manufacturer uses for the tire size. A complete explanation of the DOT code is provided on the Tire Markings page.

We also have a listing of manufacturer codes at our DOT Codes page.

In addition Tire Size in DOT code can provide you with some of the size codes which have been used.


TG

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Tire Concerns: Unusual DOT code on new tires

by Swato
(Piscataway, NJ)

Typical DOT Code

Typical DOT Code

My daughter just purchased 4 brand new tires from a national auto chain. My concern is that the tires are old. The tires are the Futura 2000 LTE P185/65R14 and the DOT date code is DOT U97J. Does this code suggest that these "new" tires were manufactured in 1997?



Editorial Comment:

There is nothing in the DOT code provided which suggests that this tire was manufactured in 1997. The date of manufacture is found in the last 4 characters of a complete DOT code which takes the form:

DOT XXXX XXXX XXXX

in which the first 2 characters are the week number, and the last 2 are the final two digits of the year.

It it most likely that the complete code will be found on the other side of the tire, since manufacturers only include the complete code on one side.

What these characters do tell us is that the tire was manufactured in the USA by Cooper Tire & Rubber and that their size is 265/50 R20, according to the table we have

According to that table the final two characters should be either C1 or HC. Obviously either our table is out-of-date, or the Cooper Code on the tire is at variance with the codes in our table.

To date, we have not been able to contact anyone at the DOT who can verify this. If anyone has more up-to-date information we're sure our reader will be interested to learn about it.

TG



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Place of purchase in DOT code

by Deeka
(Stafford, VA)

Do companys keep a track of what tires they sell by DOT code? Can the place of purchase be determined?

Editorial Comment

If you understand that the DOT code is put on the tire when it is manufactured, I don't see how you would imagine the the place of purchase could even be included unless you think that a lot of tires is produced for a specific sales location.

Let's look at what the code says. The first two characters tells you which company and which plant manufactured the tire. The next two characters will specify the size of the tire.

Following that is a group of 4 characters which is reserved for the internal optional use of each tire company and exactly how that information is coded or what it means is not generally public knowledge.

The final group of 4 characters tell you the week and the year in which the tire was fabricated. The first two refers to the week of manufacture and can be from 01 to 52 ( although some years might even have 52 weeks) and then the final two digits will be the last two digits of the year it was made …. 12 would be 2012.

These last two digits will repeat every 100 years so that the next time you see 99 it will refer to the year 2099. 00 now refers to the year 2000 but by the time it repeats in the year 2100, we could expect that there will be no tires from the year 2000 which are still in use.

I hope this helps you understand the workings of the DOT code.

TG

Comments for Place of purchase in DOT code

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DOT information
by: Wheels Etc

It is true there is no such record of where a tire was sold in the DOT or Serial Number on the tire. The Federal government requires that all new tires be registered and it is left up to the dealer to do just that. Unfortunately, very few dealers actually do that. In the chance that your tires were registered you might find that information throught the Department of Transportation. I really don't know the method used to record the information but the requirement is to expidite notification of major tire recalls. As I recall the DoT contacts the dealer and the dealer is supposed to contact the customer so the information you want may be on file. Good Luck

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DOT codes don't comply with US standards

by Carolyn
(St Louis)

I bought 4 new kokohama tires. DOT codes seem
cofusing. For ex DOT cc6R & 476R. How can age of
tires be determined with these digits? I'm soppose
use 1st 2 digits to get week of manuf and last digit
for year of manufacture. Help please. I'm suppos
travel this weekend but I don't want to go on old
tires.

Editorial Comment

A complet DOT code is 12 characters long, but it is incorrect to say that your code does not comply to US standards unless the 12 character code is missing from both sides of the tire.

Originally, most manufacturers only put the DOT code on one side of a tire, but somewhere along the way they started to put an incomplete code on one side and the complete code only on the other side, the justification being that the first 8 characters do not need to be changed in the entire tire run, while the cost of shutting down and changing both sides would be more expensive than changing only one side.

In short, look on the other side of your tires and you're likely to find the complete code there. If you don't then you have a valid reason to complain.

TG

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