How Long Do Car Tires Last? A Detailed Guide
Picture this, you wake up early in preparation for a big day at the office. You’re dressed, fed, and ready to hit the road, only to find that your car has a flat tire. How could this possibly happen? Today, of all days!
Well, the truth is, you might have missed (or ignored) important warning signs that your tire was on its last legs. It’s an easy oversight to make, especially when car maintenance is not high on your priority list.
This whole saga might have you wondering, how long do car tires last, anyway? If you’re looking to learn more and avoid these types of last-minute nightmares, check out the rest of this blog.
How Long Do Car Tires Last, On Average?
Most Americans tend to drive an average of 14,000-15,000 miles on a yearly basis. But what does this mean for the average lifespan of your tires? The wear and tear of your tires comes down to how you treat them, i.e. how you drive.
For most new tires on today’s market, that averages about 50,000-60,000 miles. What does this actually translate to as a period of time, though? In general, that’s roughly three-four years.
However, this is not always the case for every type of vehicle and driver. As a general rule-of-thumb, you should inspect your tires every six years (if they last that long), and replace them after this time if necessary.
It is not wise to drive on drives that are 8-10 years or older. By this time, they would need replacing, no matter what the tire tread looks like. Check out Ozzytyres.com.au for more on tire replacement basics.
How To Determine Your Tire Wear and Tear
Let’s say want to figure out the general wear on your car tires, thus far. One of the best ways to do so is to determine how many miles you drive per year, on average. Simply divide the number of miles on your car’s odometer by the number of years of car ownership. And don’t forget to account for any mileage the car already had on it, if you bought your car second-hand.
Once you have this figure, compare it to the warranty that you were offered on the make and model of the tires. This way, you can roughly determine the number of years of service left on your tires.
The Penny Test
Another simple way to judge the wear and tear of your tires and how much life expectancy they might have left is with the penny test. You’re basically testing the tread of your tires by holding the penny upside down (Lincoln’s head should face downwards) and inserting it into one of the primary tread grooves.
If you can still see most of Lincoln’s head, this is not the best sign — it means your tread is a little low and it might be time to consider a tire service. In technical terms, it means you have less than two thirty seconds of an inch (2/32) of tire tread, which is not ideal.
When your tire tread wears down below this, your tires become flush and smooth with the tread service and no longer have the tread padding to offer protection.
Even if you don’t drive enough to warrant tire replacement, bear in mind that rubber is a material that naturally degenerates over time. This is due to exposure to the elements, and a sitting car may degenerate just as quickly as a moving one!
Determining the Age of Your Tires
Tread is one thing, but the age of your tires also counts, even if you still have decent tire tread. So, once you’ve assessed the quality of the tire treading, you also need to look at how old your tires actually are.
Every manufactured tire on the market today has its own identification number. The point of this number is to help you determine the manufacture date and age of the tire. You can find this number on each tire’s sidewall and it should start with the letters ”DOT”. The entire number should be 7-13 characters long.
Make sure to check the DOT code of all four tires on your car. This way you can figure out whether all your tires are aging at the same time, or which tires are a higher priority in terms of maintenance or replacement.
How To Keep Your Tires in Good Shape and Improve Longevity
As we said earlier, the wear and tear of your car tires really does depend on how you drive your car. But a huge factor that also plays into their longevity is their maintenance. And we get it, tire maintenance is not always a top priority for the average driver today.
But if you’re interested in maintaining your tires for as long as possible, here’s how to keep them in good knick:
Check the Tread Depth
We outlined earlier that your tread depth should not dip below 2/32 of an inch. If your tires are sitting at this tread depth, it’s time to consider replacement. Remember the penny test if you’re tires are looking a little old and worn. Or, you could look for tread-wear indicators on each tire. These are little bars in the tread that indicate that they’re worn down enough to warrant replacement.
Keep an ear out for your tires making a little more noise than usual when you drive — these are the bare tread bars indicating it’s time for some much-needed TLC.
Don’t Neglect Tire Pressure
This is the best way to ensure your tires wear evenly. Tire pressure is super important to how your car drives and how long your tires last, so make sure to regularly check the pressure at least once a month.
Your tire pressure should sit at your car manufacturer’s recommended level. You find the tire pressure number on the inside of your car’s doorjamb on the driver’s side, or in your car manual.
Prioritize Tire Balance and Alignment
It goes without saying that tires are round for a reason because this is how they operate best. Along with this, your tire and steering combination should also have the right balance. It’s a good idea to check that the balance, shape, and alignment of your tires are in good condition on a regular basis.
Think about getting your tires and wheel alignment re-balanced every few months or so. You can do this by simply popping into your local tire shop or mechanic. With a wheel balancing machine, they will spin your wheels to assess the low and high spots and any areas that need balancing.
Are You an Auto Fanatic?
So, in summary, how long do car tires last? Well, it depends on the type of car you have and how you drive your vehicle. A good rule of thumb is to check your tire tread every year and consider tire replacement after 50,000 miles.
If you have a passion for cars, bikes, and anything auto-related, don’t miss out on the rest of this site! Explore at your leisure and learn more about keeping your car in the best shape possible.