When it comes to automotive components and vehicle safety, nothing could be more important than your tires. For that reason, when the time comes to equip your car with new tires, it is crucial that you invest in the best tires you can afford. However, selecting a reputable brand and model isn't all it takes to ensure peak automotive safety.

If not selected carefully, even the best tires may not deliver the results you want. It's important that you know what to look for - and what to ask about - before agreeing to buy a new set of tires. This article will assist you in this process by outlining two crucial pieces of information to learn when purchasing new tires.

1. Manufacturing Date

It can be easy to assume that a tire is a relatively static system, one that will continue to remain new until it is actually mounted on a vehicle. As a result, many vehicle owners don't think to investigate the manufacturing date of the tire. Unfortunately, this may result in tires that do not perform as expected, or that begin to break down much sooner than they should.

This stems from the fact that tire rubber is a much more delicate substance than you might realize. Like most products made from rubber, it will grow more brittle and fragile as time goes on. The older it is, the less likely it will be to live up to the manufacturer's performance claims.

Fortunately, checking the age of a tire is easy to do. The information can be found embossed on a tire's sidewall. To an untrained eye, it would be difficult to pick out among the multitude of seemingly arbitrary letters and numbers. However, you can pinpoint the manufacturing date by looking for a string of symbols beginning with the letters DOT.

Following DOT you should see four numbers. These indicate, in respective order, the week and date of the tire's manufacture. In other words, a code reading DOT1815 would tell you that the tire was manufactured during the 18th week of the year 2015. Don't hesitate to check several different tire stores to find the newest available tires.

2. Storage History

Age isn't the only important factor to consider when buying new tires. Unless those tires were stored properly, they may have aged well beyond their years. As noted above, tire rubber is a relatively volatile substance. This volatility will only increase if tires are exposed to certain environmental factors while waiting for a buyer to come along, which often leads to advanced degradation that's commonly referred to as dry rot.

Sunlight represents the number one threat to tires. The UV light contained in the sun's rays will initiate the process of photo degradation. This will cause the rubber to become brittle and much more susceptible to crumbling and other symptoms of dry rot. For this reason, it is essential that a tire storage facility be as dark and window-free as possible.

Even in a perfectly dark storage facility, a tire may suffer undue damage if exposed directly to the atmosphere. That's because atmospheric gases such as oxygen and ozone have a highly destructive effect on tire rubber. The effects of such gases can be minimized by storing the tires in airtight plastic bags.

Such bags will have the beneficial secondary effect of protecting the tires from moisture, which can also hasten premature breakdown. A dry, cool storage facility will help to keep moisture from being a problem. In general, storage facilities should be shielded from wild swings in temperature and moisture level.

Selecting the right make and model of tires is a great way to ensure your automotive safety - but it's not the only one. You must also be sure that your tires have been stored correctly and are of an appropriate age. For more information about how a professional tire company stores their tires, feel free to contact the experts at East Valley Tire Outlet.