If you have been in the trucking industry for a while, you understand that proper tire care is critical to the operation of your truck. Though tires are costly, easily preventable tire failure can result in significant downtime and headaches far beyond the cost of the tires themselves. In my conversations with motor carriers, maintenance managers are usually aware of DOT tire identification numbers. However, there are drivers and others in the industry who are unfamiliar with the markings but could benefit from the information.
DOT tire identification numbers are pretty straightforward. They are located on one sidewall and start with "DOT," followed by several characters. The first 2 characters are the plant code for the manufacturer, the next characters are the tire’s size and brand characteristics, and the last 4 indicate when the tire was manufactured.
If your commercial tire program retreads truck tire casings, a new retread DOT number will be branded on the tire’s sidewall once the retreading is complete, indicating when the retreading occurred.
One of the most important tire-related things to check for is proper tire inflation. Not only will proper tire inflation add many more miles to a tire's capability, but it will help ensure you arrive at your destination safely and on time. It is always a good practice to train both your drivers and maintenance crew on how your company maintains its tires and what to do when an issue arises.