Owning a car is expensive. Aside from the price of the vehicle, car insurance cost, licensing, and taxes, there are also tire and maintenance costs. That said, it can be helpful to know a trick or two on tire replacements so you can save money in the long run (and ensure your safety on the road too).
The Truth about Tire Mileage Ratings
According to Consumer Reports (CR), one of the primary considerations people have when shopping for tires is a treadwear warranty.
On Average, tires usually fall within 50,000 and 90,000 mileage ratings. Unfortunately, a lot of car owners report that their tires have worn out prematurely. Even the top-performing tires only lasted nearly half the treadwear warranty, on average.
The worst part is that even though their tires are backed with warranties, most car owners don’t get much payback from their tire providers. In most cases, you will only get a fractional credit for the miles that your tires failed to cover.
Additionally, it limits your choices to an identical tire model that you probably don’t want to use anymore. This means you can’t use the credit to purchase a different, much better tire from another brand. Add the inconvenience of showing receipts or verifying that your tire has worn out before its prescribed mileage.
So, how long should you expect a new set of tires to last?
That’s a tricky question. Of course, aside from the design, engineering, and build of the tires, other factors affect their longevity that car and tire manufacturers have little control over.
Factors that Affect Tire Mileage
- Your Vehicle Model
Bigger cars such as SUVs and trucks put more weight on tires, which means the tires on these cars and similar models might wear out faster than expected.
- Pressure and Load
If your car is constantly fully loaded, your tires’ inflation pressure might not hold up. This can result in slips in the contact patch between the tire shoulder and the center. Over time, increased slips lead to higher wear.
- Your Driving Style
If you’re a fast driver, your tires are more prone to wearing out. Strong acceleration and breaking, plus sporty driving styles like fast cornering speeds, can significantly wear your tires. If you’re looking to enhance your car’s maneuverability, you might consider getting new custom wheels that are designed for street racing or off-road driving.
- Your Driving Terrain
Where you live also impacts your tire health. If you’re constantly navigating rough terrains or off-road locations, it creates more friction between your tires and the road.
Tire wear is also affected by weather conditions. Extremely hot climates can cause tire pressure to increase. According to experts, an increase of 10-degree Fahrenheit in temperature can lead to one pound per square inch (PSI) of pressure. This might not sound a lot but a few pounds of air pressure can cause a tire to pop whereas over-inflation can cause a tire to prematurely wear.
On the other hand, lower temperatures can result in underinflation, flats, and unsafe driving conditions.
Tips to Maximize Your Tire Mileage
While many causes of premature tire wear are beyond your control, there are simple measures you can do to expand its lifespan. Check out these tire replacement tips:
- Observe proper tire care and maintenance
Doing regular tire rotations, maintaining the correct air pressure, and checking the balance and alignment of tires are crucial to keeping them in top shape.
Additionally, you should perform the following maintenance routines:
- Inspect your treadwear
Worn-out treads can be extremely dangerous. You should also inspect your tires for damage and signs of wearing, such as cracks, air bubbles, and low tread depth.
- Build good driving habits
Avoid overloading your vehicle, turning the steering wheel when your car is in motion, and stay within the speed limits when driving.
- Keep tires properly inflated
Schedule regular tire inspections and maintenance at your trusted service center.
- Be aware of your tire’s age
Tire age is something many car owners often forget so if it helps to write down your date of purchase, then do it. If you’ve purchased your tire in the 2000s, its manufacturing date is included in the Tire Identification Number, as per requirement by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Usually, the last four digits of your TIN represent the month and year that your tire was made.
According to tire experts, if a tire is more than six years old, you should consider replacing it. Otherwise, you may need to have it routinely checked by a professional.
Ten years is the maximum amount of time you can keep your tires. If you haven’t replaced any of your tires this long, you have to replace them already even if they appear to be in usable condition. The reason is that the rubber compounds in tires deteriorate over time. This can result in dry rot which makes them highly prone to blowouts and tread separation.
- Choose the right replacement tires
Once you’ve figured out when to change tires, the next important step is selecting replacement tires. It’s always important to consider your vehicle type and model, your driving habits, and the terrains you’ll be mostly driving on when shopping for new tires.
For example, if you live in colder regions like Alaska, North Dakota, or Minnesota, you may benefit more from snow or winter tires that stay flexible even in freezing temperatures. If you’re always navigating rough terrains, you might want mud terrain tires that are specifically built for maximum traction in off-road conditions.
Tire mileage ratings aren’t always precise, many factors affect the condition of your tire. These include your driving habits and terrain, and your vehicle type. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep your tires in good shape for longer, such as doing routine checks and maintenance.
Even so, you still want to replace your tires every 6-10 years. It’s best to consult a tire professional to know whether the time has come. Finally, make sure that you choose a replacement tire that is most suitable for your driving needs.
About The Author:
Nathan Barnes has nearly 10 years experience content writing in the auto industry. In 2012, Nathan started reporting on cars, races, and automobiles. Currently, he’s a happy owner of a 1967 Alfa Romeo and a Lancer GSR and a person who still has lots of topics to cover.