We all want our big investments to pay off. When you spend a decent amount on safe, brand new tires, you want to know that those tires will last you for many years to come. But how can you ensure that happens?
Failing to properly care for your tires doesn’t just make them wear faster – it also jeopardizes your safety, as well as the wellbeing of others on the road. You owe it to yourself and to other drivers to keep your tires in tip-top shape at all times.
Considering that the average set of new tires costs at least $600 to buy and install, you probably don’t want to buy a new set of tires more often than you really need to. That’s especially true if you spring for ultra-high performance tires, mud terrain tires, or all-terrain tires, which can come at $300 a pop.
With people paying more for tire purchases, and the price of tires rising due to material shortages, shipping delays, and shortages, and other factors, we don’t blame people for wanting to know how to make their tire purchase last.
In this post, we want to help you understand how long your tires should last, as well as how to make tires last longer with proper maintenance techniques.
How Long Should Tires Last?
First, let’s talk about how long your car tires should last if everything is done right. This is a good starting point for planning your budget and understanding if you’re properly caring for your tires from the get-go.
Assuming your driving habits and behaviors are relatively normal, and you’re caring for your tires as you should, all-season tires should last between 50,000 and 70,000 miles. That’s at least three years for the average American and their mileage habits.
Because all-terrain tires typically go through more wear and tear than your average all-season tire set, they will likely last for about 40,000 miles with the proper maintenance and care.
Winter tire lifespans are a bit different. Unless you live somewhere that has snow and ice all the time, you’re likely only using them for the cold season. That said, your winter tires should last for at least four cold seasons – if not five or six.
Of course, no tire will last as long as it should if it is not properly cared for by the owner. Forgetting to take care of basic maintenance tasks will shorten a tire’s life substantially – and force you to spend more money on new tires sooner.
So, let’s get into it. What can you to do make tires last longer?
1. Keep Tires Properly Inflated
One of the biggest things you can do to care for your tire is to keep it inflated at just the right level. This isn’t just one of those tire tips you should read and then disregard – trust us.
Low tire pressure actually affects how well your car can brake and compromises steering and handling. Additionally, low pressure causes the tire sidewalls to flex excessively, which generates heat and accelerates tire wear. It also decreases the tire’s low rolling restance, and increases your fuel consumption.
On the flip side of the equation, overinflated tires can cause the center of your tire’s tread to wear more rapidly. This is typically less of a problem than underinflation, but it still causes your tires to wear out faster.
To ensure your tires are in the best condition, we recommend inspecting your tire pressure at least once a month. A normal air pressure per square inch (PSI) is between 30 and 35. If your tires are outside of that range, you likely need to check your car’s manual and figure out if they are over or under-inflated.
Ensuring your tires have valve stem caps also helps prolong tire life. If you regularly drive without valve stem caps, water, drit and debris can get into the tire and cause premature aging on the inside of the tire.
2. Monitor Tread Wear Regularly
The next thing you’ll want to do for your tire’s lifespan is pay attention to how much and how quickly your tread is wearing down. You’ve probably heard people tell you to use a penny for this, and that works.
Place the penny with President Lincoln’s head upside down into the shallowest groove on the tire. If you can see Lincoln’s head at all, your tire’s tread is dangerously low, and you’ll likely need to start shopping for a replacement.
You’re probably thinking, “But how does this help me extend the life of my tires?”
Well, by actively checking your tread on a regular basis, you’ll notice problems such as uneven wear on one edge of the tier, cupping, feathering, or distortion. The quicker you notice problems like these, the more of a chance you’ll have to correct the issue causing them and prolong the tire’s usefulness.
Your tread will wear down no matter what, but you can help avoid faster wear by avoiding potholes, addressing leaks and holes quickly, and checking your wheel alignment.
3. Keep Up with Balance and Alignment
Speaking of alignment, that’s more important than most people realize. Proper alignment ensures that when your tires come into contact with the road, they’re hitting it in just the right way to avoid crooked steering and speedy tire wear.
If you want to extend a tire’s lifespan, you need to check both your balance and alignment on a regular basis. At Tires Easy, we recommend that drivers have these factors professionally assessed at least twice a year. This will help you spot problems before they exacerbate the wear and tear on your tires.
4. Dodge the Obstacles
We mentioned potholes earlier, but let’s touch back on that. Any time your tires come into contact with obstacles like holes or debris, it contributes to a shorter lifespan.
Your behavior as the driver has a big impact on how long your tires last. If you’re careful about steering clear of branches, trash, potholes, bumps, and other problems in the road, your tires will last longer than if you just blew through them without a care.
That might seem straightforward, but in our line of work, we meet far too many drivers who don’t understand just how bad potholes and other obstacles can be for their tires – and their wallets.
5. Don’t Wait Too Long for Tire Rotations
Lastly, let’s talk about rotating your tires. Unless this is the first car you’ve ever driven and you’ve never heard any tire maintenance tips, you probably already know that rotations are essential.
However, many drivers don’t know exactly how often they are supposed to rotate their tires. Generally, it’s a good rule of thumb to rotate your tires every 5,000 to 6,000 miles. Depending on how much you drive, this could be anywhere from once to multiple times per year.
Considering that the average American drives around 13,500 miles annually, most of us should be rotating our tires at least twice a year if we want them to last. If you can’t remember the last time you had yours rotate, it’s time to make an appointment ASAP.
As professionals in the tire industry, we want to see all of our clients get the best bang for their buck and extend their tire’s life. Tires can last for many years safely, but only if you’re doing what’s necessary to protect and maintain them along the way.
Do you have further questions about how to check tire life or extend it? Are you on the hunt for new tires altogether? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Tires Easy team. Give us a call at 1-855-978-6789 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.