How to tell the age of this Tire & Wheel

How to tell the age of this Tire & Wheel

by John
(Oregon, USA)

I have a 6.00 - 16" Cooper tire mounted on a Wire Spoke Wheel. The Wheel is attached to a Break Drum which fits a tapered spindle. The wheel has 5 holes on 5 1/2" spacing.

The tire is a Cooper Soft-Aire
6.00 - 16"
Custom Built
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.
Findlay, OHIO
Made in USA
There is no DOT stamp letters on the tire but it does have some stamped numbers:
The tire place I took it to couldn't tell me the age of the tire or for sure what the Wire Spoke Wheel came off of.
He did say, he would not be surprised if the same air that originally filled this tire was probably still in the tire.
Is there any one who can tell me the age of this tire and what this Wire Spoke Wheel came off of?
My email address is:


Editorial Comment:

I'm not an expert on wheels but we do have some readers that have considerable experience in that area and they may respond. The only thing I can suggest is that some of the identifying information for the wheel might be visible only after you remove the tire.

As for the tire, you may need to look on the other side of the tire to find the DOT code. Regulations only require that the DOT code is stamped on one side of a tire, although some manufacturers sometimes place a partial, short version of the code on one side and the complete version on the other side. You need the long version to discover the age. If the long version is only 11 characters long, it will be the last 3 characters which tell you the age, because the first of those 3 characters is the last digit of the year which would be 199X. Beginning with the year 2000, the DOT code is 12 characters long and the first 2 of the last 4 characters tell you the last digits of the year, and the next 2 will designate the number of the week, so it will be a number between 01 and 53, because it is possible some years will have a 53rd week.

Hope this is helpful to you.


Comments for How to tell the age of this Tire & Wheel

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Your Tire and Wheel
by: Wheels Etc

No one seems to grasp the fact you are telling them it is obviously older than 1971. Easily if could fit a variety of vehicles on which wire wheels were common such as Jaguar, Austin Healy, Triumph, MG and a host of other European import models.

The Cooper tire is probably a replacement that was not originally on the car but fit the metric wheel commonly on those imports. I am only guessing you mean a real wire wheel where the center of the spokes is a splined shaft onto which a knock-off spinner holds the wheel it self as compared to bolts common to American vehicles.

The hub or brake drum may be the best link to identifying the vehicle and Cooper could more likely identify the serial number you described however they are in some transition now and it may be hard to pin down the archive department.

My strong suggestion is to take the tire, wheel and brake drum to a foreign car dismantler that has been around for a number of years and he will more than likely recognize it on sight.

Another idea is to take a photo of it and put it on Craigslist or Ebay for reference and identification. Lots of collectors advertise in Hemmings so look there and antique tire dealers like Coker, Lucas and Wade have extensive resources.

Cooper Tire, Old
by: Anonymous

This Cooper tire is quite easy to read.
Most DOT numbers begin with DOT, but not on this tire it only has nine numbers.
So I'm thinking it has to be 1930 - 40's tire.
Do you know what year DOT started adding those 3 letters it might give us a better idea when this tire was made.


Editorial Comment

The use of the DOT code didn't start until after the Federal motor Vehicle Safety Standards Act was passed in 1971. Prior to 2000, the last group of symbols (in this case numbers) was only three and the very last digit represented the last digit in the year while the first two has always designated the number of the week in the year beginning with Sunday.

As a quick and dirty way of recognizing dates, you can see that if there are 4 numbers the year of manufacture was AFTER 2000, whereas if there are three it was pre 2000.


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