How Often Should You Replace Your Tires?

car tire

To keep your car running at its best, routine maintenance is a must.  Regular oil changes and tune-ups help you avoid problems down the road.  When it comes to replacing tires, drivers may be uncertain about how often it should be done.  How long a tire lasts depends on driving habits and road and weather conditions.  You can replace tires at regular mileage intervals or when you see signs of damage.  Additionally, depending on where you live, laws may be in place dictating when a tire should be replaced because of safety concerns.

Mileage and Time Considerations

According to autos.com, you should change tires every 40,000 miles, unless problems arise sooner or your tires are designed for longer-term durability.  However, tires may not last that long if they are subjected to heavy wear and tear.  Michelin recommends that, if it’s been five years or more since you’ve had your tires replaced, you should have them inspected at least once a year.  If it’s been ten years since the date of manufacture, you should replace them, even if they look like they can still hold up.

Damage

Inspect your tires regularly for signs of wear and tear that will let you know it’s time for replacement.

  • Look for treadwear indicators (the line running perpendicular to the tread).  You can also try inserting a penny into the tread.  If you can see Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires.
  • Punctures, bulges, and blisters in the tire’s sidewall can make driving especially dangerous.
  • Always replace tires after a blowout.
  • Punctures larger than 6 mm can’t be repaired.  If treads are worn below 1 mm, replacement is definitely in order.
  • If vehicle misalignment or other mechanical problems are causing uneven wear and tear on tires, inspect the inner and outer walls to see if metal is visible.  If it is, replace the damaged tire before getting back on the road.

Other Factors

Variations in driving conditions also affect the longevity of tires.

  • Types of tires (summer versus all-season), and the types of vehicles they’re mounted on impact how long they last.
  • Performance tires provide excellent traction on dry surfaces, but wear out more quickly than tires that roll with less resistance.
  • Curbs, speed bumps, potholes, and other irregularities cause more wear.  Driving on roads that aren’t in good repair increase the chances you will encounter obstacles that damage tires.
  • Weather conditions play a role in affecting tires’ lifespan.  Temperature extremes, ice and snow, strong sunlight, heat, and ozone impact treadwear longevity.
  • Grease, oil, and chemicals also weaken tire treads.

Certain driving habits will likely cause you to have to replace your tires more often.  Speeding, emergency braking, and quick starts make your tires age faster.  If you fail to observe changes in noise or vibration, or do not enlist the services of a professional when these problems first occur, the life of your tires may be compromised.

Likewise, if you neglect general maintenance and other tips to keep your car in top condition, tires may need to be replaced more frequently.  Store tires as recommended by the manufacturer and only use approved sealants.  Check air pressure regularly.

Alleviating Wear and Tear on Tires

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to avoid or minimize tire damage so you don’t have to replace them as often.

  • Rotate your tires regularly- every 5,000 to 10,000 miles.
  • Have your car inspected routinely in case undiagnosed mechanical problems are causing extra wear and tear on tires.
  • Avoid areas cluttered with debris that could puncture tires.

Spare Tires

We often don’t think about spare tires until we need them.  It’s important to keep quality spare tires on hand as a precaution.  Even if it hasn’t been used, a spare tire should be replaced ten years after the date of manufacture, or before it expires, as the quality of the rubber decreases with time.

Replacement Tips

When it’s time to replace tires, you don’t have to purchase the most expensive ones, but don’t settle for the cheapest, either.  Select those with high traction and treadwear ratings.  Performance tires with higher speed ratings may not have the longest lifespan.  Instead, tires with high treadwear ratings, low noise levels, ride comfort and wet traction will likely be the most reliable.

Goodyear recommends that you replace all four tires at once.  If you’re only purchasing two new tires, have them mounted on the rear axle for enhanced stability and traction.  Make sure the tires are all the same type and size.  While drivers are not advised to have tires with different speed ratings, if you go that route, place two tires with the same speed rating on the same axle.  Always consult your owner’s manual to be sure you’re selecting the right tires.

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