Customer service - Call us toll-free:

Buy wheels & tires together: Use code  RIMS10 
Get 10% off plus free shipping!

The DOT Tire Identification Number

The DOT Tire Identification Number: What it is…and what it isn't

Let's get one thing out in the open right away: The DOT Tire Identification Number isn't sexy, exciting, or cool. But it can be pretty useful, once you understand what it is.

Under Federal law, tire manufacturers are required to brand standardized information onto the sidewalls of all tires sold in the United States. This includes details about the tire's basic characteristics, construction, various capacities (load, speed, inflation pressure, etc.), as well as the DOT (Department of Transportation) Tire Identification Number. The DOT number is used for safety standard certification and also in the event of a tire recall by the manufacturer.

According to current regulations, the DOT Tire Identification Number must begin with the letters “DOT” followed by a series of characters (usually 10, 11, or 12 numbers, letters, or symbols). These characters identify the tire size and manufacturers specifications, as well as the manufacturing location and date the tire was manufactured (listed as week and year). People often think the DOT number is a product serial number, but it's actually a way to identify the manufacturers production batches.

Seeing an incomplete DOT number, or not seeing one at all?

If you look at the tire's sidewall and see a DOT number that appears to be incomplete, that's because the DOT's current regulations require the entire number to be branded on only one sidewall, while the opposite sidewall is branded with just the first few digits. To see the entire DOT number, just look on the other sidewall.

If your tire doesn't have a DOT number branded on its side, the tire doesn't meet all U.S. requirements. Not all tires are intended to be imported and sold in the United States, so the tire may have been developed and produced without being tested and confirmed to meet the U.S. Federal Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). As a result, these tires cannot legally be used in the United States.

Register your tires with the DOT

When you purchase new tires, your installer should provide you with a DOT card, so that you can record the DOT numbers of your tires and send them to the manufacturer. This information is important, as it'll be used to notify you in the event of a tire safety recall. If your installer doesn't provide you with a DOT card, you may also be able to register online on the manufacturer's website. Most manufacturers provide online registration for DOT numbers -- see the links below:

 

BF Goodrich

General

Nexen

Bridgestone

Kelly

Nitto

Continental

Kumho

 Pirelli

Dunlop

Medalist

Riken

Firestone

Michelin

Uniroyal

Fuzion

Mickey Thompson
No online registration

 
 
The 3 Rs of eco-friendly tires
Tires are getting greener, thanks to new raw materials, lower rolling resistance, and improved recycling.
Frequently asked questions
Have questions about your order, our products, payment options, or shipping policies? Find the answers here.
Tire anatomy and construction
Ever wondered what a "carcass ply" is? We'll peel back the tread and show you what's underneath.
Tire glossary
In an effort to demystify the world of tires, with its confusing terminology, technology, and "tirespeak," we present the TireBuyer Tire Glossary.
Your vehicle's trim/style
This is a pretty important bit of info when you're buying tires. We'll tell you how to find your trim level.
Tire rotation patterns
Find out exactly what your local tire professional is doing when they're putting new tires on your car.
Tire pressure and temperature
Gas expands when heated. So what happens inside your tires when the temperature rises?

TIREBUYER CUSTOMER REVIEWS

Great

It took me forever to find tires. I looked at all of the major competitors and they all seemed to be out of stock especially close to the winter season. I finally looked at TireBuyer.com and sure enough they had my tire in stock and they were delivered in a very timely manner. I am very satisfied with my purchase and plan on using TireBuyer for my future purchases from here on out. Thanks TireBuyer.

Reviewed by: Shubs from Ohio