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How Old is This New Tire?

by Adrian A. Eichhorn
Reprinted with permission from FAA Aviation News

A new tire on my Bonanza was purchased via mail order in August 2004 from a reputable source that was listed in a major aviation trade publication. After checking to determine just how 'new' my new tire really was, I discovered that it was already eight years old!

HOW TO DETERMINE A TIRE'S AGE

Look for a molded-in-plate on the side of the tire. In the plate will be a series of numbers and perhaps some letters.

Goodyear (Flight Custom III, Flight Special II, Flight Eagle, and Flight Leader)

Aircraft tires manufactured by Goodyear are clearly marked with an eight-character serial number code that represents the year, Julian date of production, and tire ID number. Character one represents the year; character two, three, and four indicates the day; characters five, six, seven, and eight signify the individual tire ID number. For more information see http://www.goodyearaviation.com. (FYI: The Julian calendar dates are simply a continuous count of days. For example: January 1 is expressed as 001; December 31 is expressed as 365.)

McCreary (Superhawk, Airhawk and Airtrack)

McCreary tires are marked with an eleven-digit code. The first four digits identify the McCreary plant number; the next four digits identify the Mc-Creary mold Number (Part No.); the next two digits identify the week of the year and the last digit indicates the year of manufacture. For example: CY8A-B3H6020 (CY8A) is the plant number; (B3H6) is the mold or part number; (02) is the 2nd week of the year and (0) for 1990.

Michelin (Air, Aviator and Condor)

Michelin aircraft tires are marked with a ten-digit serial number that also represents the year and Julian date that the tire was produced. Character one represents the last number of the manufacturing year; the next three numbers indicate the Julian day and the remaining six characters are related to decade of production, manufacturing facility and production number. For example: 9211P0025 (9) is for 1999, (211) is the Julian day - 29 July, (P) pertains to the facility and decade, 0025 is a unique production number. For more information see http://www.airmichelin.com

Retread Tires

Retread tires have the original manufacturers date and they are also marked with month and year of retread.

But how do you know if the tire was made in 1999 of 1989? Some tire manufacturers also molded a little triangle into the tire adjacent to the plate with one of the points facing to the left or right. The direction of the triangle gave the decade of the manufacture. Since not every manufacture did this, it is easiest to take a close look at the tire and make an educated guess as to decade of manufacture by the condition of the rubber (e.g. does it look dry and crazed with lots of tiny cracks?) Of course, if the aircraft was made in 1970 and it still has the original tires on it, then the dating is already done for you.

Adrian A. Eichhorn is a 7,000-hour pilot for the Federal Aviation Administration. He is based at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. He is also a volunteer Aviation Safety Counselor for the Washington Flight Standards District Office and the 2001 National Safety Counselor of The Year. He holds an Airframe & Powerplant certificate with Inspection Authorization (IA).