The U.S. tire industry is refusing to give American motorists the same warning given to car owners in Europe and Asia about the possible dangers of tires six years old or older.
More than 100 deaths in the U.S. have been attributed to aged tires which dried out and lost their treads, even though they appeared to be safe.
The only way for consumers to protect themselves is to learn how to read the cryptic code embedded on a tire's sidewall which reveals the year and week a tire was manufactured.
The code is at the end of a jumble of letters and numbers on the tire and, until recently, was on the inward side of the tire requiring motorists to climb under the car to read the number.
For example, the number 418 indicates the tire was manufactured in the 41st week of 1998 and is 10 years old.
A tire older than six years old, even if it's never been driven a mile, "is like a ticking time bomb. You don't know what's going on inside. That's what makes it so dangerous.”
Full story plus how to read the cryptic tire code here.