How Long Should Tires Last? 6 Factors to Consider
If your tires are out of commission, so is your car. Think about it: your tires are your car’s only contact with the road. They need to be in tip-top shape to ensure your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road.
So, how long should tires last? The straightforward answer is “it depends.” A normal set of tires should last for 60,000 to 75,000 miles, or about four to five years. But there are a few key factors that will affect your tires’ lifespan. Keep scrolling to learn more.
How Long Should Tires Last? 6 Factors to Consider:
1. The Manufacturer
The average tire on the market is designed to last about 60,000 miles, says Dan Zielinski, spokesman for the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, but every tire is different.
“Some tire manufacturers offer a warranty as high as 80,000 miles or more, reflecting confidence in that particular product’s longevity based on its engineering, technology and design. Other tires may be built to provide 30,000 miles of service.”
The type of tires you purchase also plays a role in how long they last. For example, in a study conducted by Consumer Reports, ultra-high performance tires lasted nearly half the amount of miles than family-car tires. Additionally, all-season, summer and winter tires will have different treadwear ratings and, therefore, different lifespans.
2. The Vehicle
Believe it or not, the vehicle on which your tires are mounted plays a role in how long they last.
SUVs and trucks put more weight on tires than a sedan, so if your vehicle isn’t outfitted with the appropriate tires, the tires might wear out faster than expected.
Other times, there isn’t a clear explanation as to why one car model’s tires last longer than another’s. According to autos.com, certain models of the Honda CRV have experienced premature tire wear and damage, increasing the risk of blowouts or accidents on the road.
3. Driving Style
Everyone knows someone who drives like they’re in a real-life version of Mario Kart. These individuals are at a higher risk for prematurely worn-out tires. If you regularly subject your vehicle to hard acceleration, heavy loads, and aggressive driving over speed bumps and potholes, your tires will take a hit.
In addition to driving style, the amount you drive each year also contributes to your tire life. On average, the American driver clocks between 13,000 and 14,000 miles a year, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Some drivers, however, drive much more or less than that.
Did you know that 81% of commuters in Fairfax County drive a car to work? That’s the highest percentage in the D.C. area! So it’s especially important for those of us in Northern Virginia to take care of our tires.
4. Where You Live
In addition to how you drive and how much you drive, where you drive is another factor to consider when evaluating how long tires last.
Tire wear differs based on the terrain you drive and the region in which you live. Lower temperatures mean lower pressure in your tires, which can result in underinflation, flats and, ultimately, unsafe driving conditions. On the other end of the spectrum, extremely high temperatures cause the pavement to warm up, creating more friction between your tires and the road. The increase in heat emission coming from your tires can be dangerous if they aren’t inflated properly or are cracked or damaged.
Exposure to sunlight and warmer temperatures also shortens tire life, so tires in warmer, Southern climates tend to require replacement faster.
Regardless of where you live, it’s best to avoid damaged roads, potholes and gravel roads as much as possible. Think about it this way: if it’s best for your safety, it’s most likely best for your tires, too.
5. Maintenance Routine
If you really want your tires to last, practice proper tire maintenance. Here’s how:
- Check your tire pressure on a monthly basis. Look for the recommended amount of air pressure in your owner’s manual or your door placard.
- Rotate your tires regularly. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to know how often your vehicle needs its tires rotated. (The Tire Industry Association recommends getting a tire rotation every 5,000 to 7,000 miles.)
- Check your wheels’ balance and alignment annually. If your wheels are unbalanced or out of alignment, it can cause irregular tread wear and shorten tire life.
- Inspect your treadwear. Worn-out or damaged treads are extremely dangerous, as they affect stopping distance and contribute to car accidents. Our technicians check your tire tread anytime you bring your car in for service. You can also check it yourself by performing a “quarter test.” Insert a quarter headfirst into the tire tread. If you can see all of George Washington’s head, your tire tread is at or below 4/32″ and needs to be replaced soon. At 2/32”, your vehicle will fail state inspection.
- Inspect your tires for damage and signs of aging (cracks, low tread depth, air bubbles, uneven wear, etc.).
6. Tire Age
No matter the tread depth, if a tire is more than six years old, you should start thinking about replacement. That’s because the rubber compounds in a tire deteriorate over time, resulting in dry rot. Dry rot makes your tires more susceptible to blowouts and tread separation.
Vehicle and tire manufacturers usually recommend replacing your tires if they are 6-10 years old, regardless of tread depth. But for most drivers in Northern Virginia, their tire tread will wear out before the tires get that old.
Don’t forget about your spare! Depending on how old your car is, you could be driving around with a spare tire long past its prime. If the tire is more than 10 years old, replace it.
Ready for New Tires?
Bring your vehicle into Virginia Tire & Auto and we can assess the condition of your tires. If it turns out that you need a full replacement, we’ll help you choose the right tires for your vehicle and get you back on the road. You can also find tires using our online tool and schedule an appointment at your convenience.