Summer is fast approaching, which means more wear and tear on your church vehicles during youth activities and mission trips. It’s good sense to make sure that your vehicles are in proper working order, including tires.
Tire Age is now an important safety factor
The National Highway Transportation Safety Act reminds us that tire age and safety are an important aspect of vehicle maintenance. Tires should be checked regularly, and this is the perfect time of year to make a habit of it. As a provider of Georgia Church bus insurance and car insurance, we strongly recommend you check your tires at least twice a year.
You’ve probably heard that tire inflation and tread depth are the two main things to check on your tires, and those are important. However, the NHTSA recently added tire age to their tire safety checklist. “Aging can affect the safe performance of tires even if they have adequate tread and proper inflation,” they reported. Old tires present a safety hazard because the materials can break down over time, compromising their quality and durability.
That means that older tires that don’t appear worn can still be a safety hazard. You may have even seen recent reports on the news about older tires being sold as new, and this is exactly why that kind of dishonest business practice is so dangerous for consumers.
How can you determine the age of your tires?
You’ve probably noticed that there some numbers and letters etched into the rubber on the wall of your tires. But what do they mean?
Look at the tire’s sidewall and located the word “DOT.” This indicates that the tire meets the safety standards of the Department of Transportation.
DOT should be followed by an 10 to 12 digit code. Look at the final 4 number of this code- the first two are the week of the year in which the tire was manufactured; the second two are the year. For example, the tire in the above photo was manufactured in the 41st week of 2008.
Safety Tips for 15-Passenger Vehicles
- Use tires that are rated Load Range E
- Tread Depth should be 1/8 inch or greater
- Keep tires properly inflated
- Check regularly for signs of deterioration
- Replace tires every 5 years or as soon as they begin to show signs of deterioration- whichever comes first
- Secure coverage through a trusted Georgia church car insurance or bus insurance provider
As your prepare your vehicles for increased summer travel, take a few minutes to check the tires (including the spare) for depth, inflation, age, and signs of deterioration. If they are over 5 years old, we encourage you to consider replacing them, even if they look fine.
When it comes to the safety of your church members and youth, you can’t be too cautious.