Your tires are the only parts of your vehicle that come in direct contact with the road. Because of that, they must hold up the entire weight of your ride while constantly rolling over harsh terrain and debris that could puncture them. That’s why it’s vital to ask, “How long does a car tire last, and when does a replacement become necessary?”
Alongside covering how long the average wheel lasts, we’ll discuss factors that shorten a tire’s lifespan and what you can do to get the most out of your set.
How Long Can You Keep One Set Of Tires On Your Car?
Easiest way to spot when your car tires were made is to read the 4-digit number on the side of the tires.
So how long can your car tires last? According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average US resident drives 13,000 miles yearly. Since tires function optimally for about 40,000 to 55,000 miles in their lifetime, you can maintain your current set for three to four years.
However, depending on how much you drive, you may want to switch them out more or less frequently.
After the five-to-six-year mark, despite mileage and condition, consider getting a tire inspection, especially since most tires’ lifespans are coming to an end by this time. Most manufacturer warranties also end after six years, meaning you won’t receive coverage for a repair or replacement.
Since tires are constantly holding up at least 2.5 tons without relief, they’ll inevitably soften, even if you don’t drive frequently. Manufacturers recommend having tires no older than ten years on your vehicle.
What Factors Cause This Number To Diminish?
Unfortunately, you overexpose your tires more than regular use and a heavy weight capacity. The following factors affect the above answer to “How long does a car tire last?”
You may have heard the term “burning rubber” from those who enjoy wild driving behavior. While it may sound cool, bad or reckless driving habits do exactly that: damage your wheels (and jeopardize your safety).
You don’t have to be a racer since anything, from breaking hard at red lights to making sharp turns without slowing down, causes premature tire wear.
Improper Storage and Maintenance
Alongside driving carefully, you should store your vehicle safely, which includes emptying the front and back seats and trunk before leaving the car parked for long periods. Doing so diminishes the vehicle’s weight and, by extension, pressure on the tires. Parking in a garage rather than the streets or your driveway also bars UV rays, ozone, and humidity, which dry the rubber and cause cracked surfaces.
Keep up with annual tire maintenance, where a trusted expert checks wheel health and relays evident damages. They’ll also realign, inflate, repair, or rotate your tires if necessary.
While you can avoid driving fast over rough terrain and hitting the curb while turning or parking, some road hazards are out of your hands.
Degraded pavements with potholes and other uneven surfaces cause tire misalignments just as jagged sediments and other debris puncture the rubber. They also jam within the tread, affecting control and maneuverability, so call for inspections.
Speaking of factors you can’t control, rain or snow that hits the roads mixes with engine grease and oil that build up on the pavement, making the surface slick. This occurs for the first ten minutes of a shower until the residue washes away. But even after, moisture reduces road traction, encouraging slipperiness.
According to Driver Ed Safety, you should go a few miles below the speed limit to prevent hydroplaning. Taking this precaution protects your life and tires from wear since the tires must work harder to maintain gripping action.
Constant exposure to the elements reduces our original answer to, “How long does a car tire last?” by a year or two.
Should I Still Replace My Tires If I Don’t Drive Frequently?
Even if you don’t habitually drive your vehicle, you could be diminishing the tires’ integrity. Collectible, classic cars that you store rather than drive, RVs that you only take on your once-a-year summer road trip, and spare tires that sit in your trunk or garage for years get little to no mileage.
However, these tires contain chemicals that must come in contact with the ground for bonds to form. Once the rubber rolls thoroughly on the road, creating that bond, the chemicals resist water, dirt, and other matter, providing more traction and less susceptibility to aging and punctures.
Otherwise, bald tires without grip make your ride slippery and dangerous, creating a safety hazard if you don’t regularly change your car tires.
What Are The Warning Signs A Replacement Is Necessary?
Whether you conduct a DIY check or go to the garage for a professional inspection, certain factors need analyzing for driving efficiency:
· Air leaks occur when something sharp penetrates the rubber surface and innertube. However, if you see a nail or another item stuck in the tire, it may not cause an immediate air leak, but you should remove the object and patch the section to prevent further damage.
· Cracks and splitting occur as negative reactions to harsh weather and chemicals. Dry rot also occurs as the tire material breaks down and becomes brittle. Since this causes blowouts, consider tire rotations or replacements.
· Misalignment causes an imbalance of pressure in each tire, placing unnecessary and unmanageable stress on the lower tires.
· Inadequate tire pressures include any PSI rating above or below the maximum or minimum safe pressure the tire manufacturers listed on your sidewall. Under-inflated tires will overheat, so add some air. If over-inflated, release some air so they aren’t susceptible to blowouts.
· A deep tread depth creates less road friction, extending stopping time and maneuverability. Upon measuring the depth of this patterned exterior ridge, remember 4/32 inches or less means it’s time for a replacement.
What Can You Do To Combat Tire Wear?
Now that you know the answer to “How long does a car tire last?” and what factors negatively affect it, what can you do to prolong tire life?
First, install suitable tires for current weather conditions. Only use snow tires in the winter and summer tires in warmer climates unless you have all-season tires. However, if your car drifts to one side while driving, it may not be the tire type that’s the issue, so check for misalignments due to tire imbalances.
Also, call for a rotation every 5,000 to 8,000 miles to keep each tire from conforming to that corner’s whims. For instance, if a wheel undergoes pressure in one spot, moving it to another location may relocate that pressure, prolonging the tire’s lifespan. Finally, checking tire pressure monthly with anything from a digital gauge to a penny
Garry is the happy owner of a funky 2018 Nissan Juke Ti-S AWD. After growing up around his family’s mechanics shop, he is passionate about bringing budget-friendly car care to every driver. Garry has a business degree and is a car enthusiast.