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The last four numbers are the important part because they identify the week and the year of manufacturing.
Why did they choose to identify the week of manufacturing and not the exact date? It was probably due to the fact that the date insert in the tire molds only had to be changed once per week.
Forcing manufacturers to use a four-digit date code is obviously an improvement in clarity.
I found this interesting video where John Stossel exposes the problem with a few major retailers who were caught selling very old tires to consumers.
While tyres contain anti-oxidising chemicals which significantly slow down the rate of ageing, this wax-like substance is only released when the tyre is in motion.
Therefore, if the tyre is not used frequently or is stored away ineffectively, they will age more quickly rendering them unroadworthy when returned to use.
Low mileage, older cars tend to be most at risk from premature ageing - as drivers assume the tyres are still in good condition if they have plenty of tread.
Premature tyre ageing can affect safety and increase the risk of tyre failure.
The meaning of first sets of numbers are known only to tire manufactures, dealers and perhaps the DOT.There was no industry-wide standardization of codes prior to 200, but most dates prior to 2000 used a three-digit code to identify the time of manufacturing.Most manufacturers used a two-digit week designation with the last digit used to identify the year. Department of Transportation rules require that tire manufacturers such as Yokohama provide specific information on their tires.The date of manufacture for a Yokohama tire is provided in an easy-to-decipher code.
Tyre ageing is commonly identified by small cracks, known as crazing, which appear in the tyre sidewall.