How Many Miles do Tires Last

How Many Miles Do Tires Last? (+how to extend their life)

Buying new tires is something most motorists dread. It is time consuming and expensive, especially if you need to swap out all four tires. Because of this, drivers often want to know how many miles do tires last, and whether there is a cost/mileage ratio to know about when buying new rubber. How far can you go on tires before they wear out? Today I’ll answer that question, explain how to maintain your tires and extend their life, and list some warning signs that you can look for that indicate it’s time to replace your tires.

But nobody likes to wait, so let’s start with the answer you’re looking for:

On Average How Many Miles do Tires Last?

A new decent-quality tire will last around 50,000 miles, but there is more to the story than that. In reality, putting a hard figure on tire mileage longevity is difficult. Many factors go into determining how long a tire will last, including its treadwear rating, your driving habits, vehicle maintenance, and life-expectancy as listed by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Depending on how those factors play out, your tires could last over 50,000 miles, or fall dramatically short of that number.

How Many Miles do Tires Last on Average

Don’t worry, it is not as complicated as it first seems. Below we will run through how many miles you can expect from your tires, how much you should pay for new rubber, and tips for getting the most mileage from tires.

How Does This Average Mileage Translate to Years on the Road?

Everyone uses their car differently, but according to Car and Driver and the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, the average person in the US drives about 13,500 miles in a typical year (that’s more than 1,000 miles per month).

If you expect your tires to last 50,000 miles, then you can plan on replacing them approximately every 3 years, 8.5 months (every 44.44 months). Of course, you may drive less or more on average each year, but you can adjust the math to fit with your driving habits. Some tire models also promise longer mileage, so you may be able to get more usage depending on the product you use.

The Mileage Tires Last and How Many Years on the Road That Translates To

Interestingly, some manufacturers will say their tires last longer, some brands claiming 6 to 10 years. Even if your tire holds up well, getting towards five years is the upper limit I would recommend for usage.

That’s because rubber degradation starts to happen regardless of other factors (but more on that later).

In general, going with a name brand tire like Michelin, Goodyear or Firestone may serve you better.

If You Buy a New Car How Long Will Those Tires Typically Last?

On the surface, this question should be easy enough to answer. New tires last on average around 50,000 miles, and when you buy a new vehicle, you have fresh rubber on it. So, you probably expect the tires on your new car to last around 50,000. That is the logical reasoning, but the reality may be a little different.

There are enough reports, reviews, and complaints online that show new vehicle tires drastically underperform. This suggests there is a genuine problem. It seems some motorists are lucky to get 30,000 miles from the tires on their new car.

Car Tire Mileage

Why this happens is unclear, but it could be the vehicle manufacturer installs low-quality tires to cut costs, or the high wear could be related to alignment issues on new vehicles.

It seems this is not happening on all new vehicles, but I recommend checking your vehicle documentation for information on how long tires should last.

Why That Mileage Warranty on Your Tires is (basically) Useless

According to Consumer Reports, the mileage warranties you see on tires is mostly a marketing mechanism, and in tests many tires wear out prior to the mileage estimate they claim.

Tires are expensive and can get very costly if you opt for models that promise high mileage. As in most areas of retail, expensive does not always translate to “best.” In fact, many of the tires that promise to give you something like 85,000 miles of use fall well short of that claim.

However, it is also important to know some can deliver on that promise.

Getting the most mileage and the best bang for your buck is important. That is why checking out reviews of tires can help to separate the good products from the bad.

In Addition to Mileage, Tire Age is Also a Factor

What if you only average 5,000 miles per year in your vehicle? Will your tires that are good for 50,000 miles last 10 years, and will tires promising 60,000 to 80,000 miles last even longer?

Tire Mileage vs Tire Age

Unfortunately, no. Over time, the rubber compound of the tire will slowly deteriorate, influenced by factors such as climate, driving habits, vehicle maintenance, but also plain old age.

Rubber degrades over time, so eventually your tires will become unstable and dry rot could set in. This increases the chance of a blowout, will reduce handling and performance, and make driving unsafe.

When this will happen depends on your tire, but I still advise all drivers to swap their tires after 5 years, even if it still has tread and seems in good working order.

What Qualities Make Some Tires Last Longer Than Others?

If cost is not the driving factor (pun intended) in one tire lasting longer than another, what else plays a role?

Tire Mileage Warranty & Why Some Tires Last Longer than Others

These are reasons why some tires run for more miles than others:

  • Tire type: Some tire model categories will outlast others by default. For example, an all season tire will provide more mileage than a high-performance tire for sports cars. The latter tire will grip the road more and have less resistance to rolling, meaning it will wear faster than the more stable all-season rubber.
  • Treadwear rating: All tires have a treadwear rating that shows how long they should last. Some models will have a better treadwear rating than others, depending on the quality of the rubber used.
  • Drivetrain: How the power runs from the engine to the wheels is important because tires wear differently on rear-wheel, front-wheel, and all-wheel drive vehicles.
  • Manufacturer and Product: Needless to say, some tire OEMs are simply better than others.

What Factors Will Cause Your Tires to Wear Out Early?

If you find that your tires are wearing out too quickly, it’s likely that one (or more) of these issues is to blame:

  • Poor Wheel Alignment – If your wheels are not properly aligned, they can impact handling and create uneven tire wear when the tire grips the road.
  • Not Rotating Tires Regularly – You should rotate your tires frequently per vehicle manufacturer recommendations. This means swapping tires around the vehicle, such as taking the rear tires and putting them on the front if your vehicle is rear-wheel drive.
  • Irregular Brake Servicing – Your brakes can save your life, but so many motorists avoid properly servicing their brakes. As they age, brake calipers and pads can cause uneven wear on tires, as well as vastly increase your vehicle’s stopping distance.
  • Poor Driving Habits – Yes, if you drive like you are on “World’s Greatest Police Chases,” that is going to have an effect on your tires. Rapid acceleration, wheel spins, aggressive cornering, and speeding all impact the rubber on your tires.
  • Road Conditions – The quality of the roads you drive on is important. For example, if you spend a lot of time on dirt tracks, your tires will wear more quickly than running on a smooth asphalt surface.

How to Tell if Your Tires are Worn and Need Replacement

One of the problems drivers have when it comes to tire maintenance is confusion over when tires should be changed.

Worn Tire

Knowing tell-tale signs of degradation can help you replace your tires before they become dangerous.

  • Weathering – It is one of the factors that is easy to forget, but climate plays a significant role in the longevity of tires. After-all, they are constantly exposed to adverse weather conditions, including consistent rain, cold, heat, and ice/snow depending on where you live. Common signs of weathering on tires include sidewall cracks and wear between tread blocks.
  • Bulging – Tires should be round and consistent across all visible surfaces. Any bumps of bulges in the rubber are a guarantee that the tire needs replacing. These problems can happen if you hit a pothole or other obstacle, causing air to enter between the outer and inner tire material.
  • Tread Depth – Many people make the mistake of thinking worn tread depth is the biggest indicator tires need changing. However, that is not the case. Yes, if your treads are lower than the legal limit (2/32”) you definitely need to change your tires. Although, there are times when you have plenty of tread left but other issues mean it is time to swap out a tire.

Why You Should Always Replace Tires Before They Wear Out

While it is tempting to wait until the last minute to change your tires, it is best to be pre-emptive. Sure, you may save money and time by waiting, but you are putting your life and the lives of other road users at risk. It is very unlikely that you will find any problem that requires you to replace your tires in time.

Tire Blow Out - Why Replace Tires Before They Wear Out

In most cases, you will discover an issue (blading, bulging, warping, etc.) once the problem has been persistent for some time. The best practice is to spot issues before they arise and swap your tires before they become a problem.

To do this, you will need to perform regular inspections on your tires, including visiting the shop once or twice per year.

What Can You Do to Improve the Lifespan of Your Tires?

There are several things you can do to ensure your tires last as long as possible and perform at their best. These include:

Keep Your Tires Inflated Properly

Tire pressure is one of the easiest car maintenance tasks to manage, so there is no reason to not inflate your tires properly. Vehicle owner manuals provide specific details on the recommended N2 or air pressure for the tires on your model.

Maintain Good Pressure in Your Tires to Help Them Last Longer

Tires lose pressure over time, so I recommend that you check the pressure once a month to ensure your tires are not over or under inflated.

Stay on Top of Rotation, Balancing & Alignment

Rotation is an especially important part of tire ownership, and something many motorists do not know about. Moving the tires around your car regularly allows you to have even wear. For example, front tires on a rear-wheel vehicle will have less wear than the rear tires. By swapping them every 5,000 to 8,000 miles you are allowing a more uniform usage.

Tire Maintenance Projects to Extend The Life of Your Tires

Similarly, taking your vehicle to the shop every six months to keep the tracking/alignment in sync is important. When alignment is out, not only will your car handle poorly, but the tires will also wear unevenly.

Be Aware of How You’re Driving

One of the biggest factors in tire degradation is how you drive. Are you motoring along like you are in Whacky Races?

How You Drive can Impact Tire Tread Life

Sharp aggressive cornering, burn out acceleration, and speeding are all fast ways to wear down your tires more rapidly than the manufacturer mileage recommendation.

How Many Miles do Tires Last on Average? It Depends.

To summarize, there are several important factors which play a part in how long your tires last, some of which you have control over. These include:

  • Alignment
  • Rotation
  • Tread wear
  • Driving habits
  • Choosing the correct tires
  • Air pressure

Tires are one of the essential safety features on your car, and also play a pivotal role in how your vehicle performs, handle, and rides. As the only contact between your vehicle and the ground, tires also take a lot of punishment and do not last forever.

Properly checking and maintaining your tires, and then swapping them when needed is a fundamental part of vehicle maintenance.

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