How Long Do Tires Usually Last?
Most tires expire six years from their manufacturing date, but their length of service varies depending on maintenance. Tires can last for 40,000 to 80,000 miles when properly cared for, according to the U.S. Tire Manufacturer's Association (USTMA).
Factors that Affect a Tire's Longevity
Tire aging happens due to a combination of chemical and mechanical factors. Let's look at each of them:
· Natural aging
Tires start to age once they're mounted on rims and filled with air. The exposure of a tire to oxygen weakens its rubber structure over time, causing it to stiffen and even crack. This process, known as oxidation, can speed up with heat coming from direct sunlight and warm climates.
· Tire type
Soft tires, such as winter tires and those used in sports vehicles, have a better grip on the road. However, they wear out sooner than standard all-season types due to the more intense friction they receive with the surface.
· Treadwear rating
A higher rating translates to more mileage. In effect, a treadwear grade of 200 should be able to go twice as far before wearing out compared to a tire from the same tiremaker with a 100 rating.
A vehicle's drivetrain connects its engine to its wheels, enabling it to move. There are front (FWD), rear (RWD), four (4WD), and all-wheel (AWD) drives. Depending on what system your car uses, the wheels that propel your vehicle forward will wear down faster than the rest. In FWDs and RWDs, the front and rear wheels will wear out faster without regular wheel rotation.
· Vehicle type
The tires of larger vehicles such as trucks and SUVs may wear out faster than those of sedans, especially if used daily.
Uneven surfaces such as poorly graded or pothole-ridden roads, dirt roads, and hilly or mountainous areas can easily strain your tires. They can also cause misalignment and suspension damage.
Unless you've fitted your car with winter tires, snowy and rainy conditions can wear out your tires quickly as they work harder to maintain traction. Cooler temperatures also lower the pressure inside your tires, which can lead to under-inflated tires.
In hotter climates, high temperatures can make the roads hot, increasing the friction between the surface and your tires.
· Driving style and distance
Hard stops, quick acceleration, speeding over bumps and potholes, taking quick turns, and overloading vehicles can prematurely wear out your tires. The amount of distance you cover also affects your tire's lifespan.
7 Ways to Extend Your Tire's Life
You can have longer-lasting tires by being mindful of the following:
1. Proper inflation/tire pressure
Do you know that you can save up to $65 in fuel costs through proper tire inflation? However, 70% of Americans surveyed admitted they had not checked their tire pressure in the past 30 days despite industry recommendations.
You'll find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle in your owner's manual. You can use a hand-held gauge for checking all four tires of your vehicles once a month. Wait until the tires are cold, or about three hours after you last drove your vehicle.
The Tire Industry Association suggests rotating your tires every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. Technicians can exchange the driver and passenger side tires or switch the front and rear tires to slow down deterioration or to help them wear evenly.
3. Balance and alignment
Schedule alignment checks every 20,000 miles. But have a mechanic look into your tires sooner if you experience any awkward bouncing or shaking while you drive. Your tires may also be misaligned if your vehicle pulls to one side. This may also be the case if your steering wheel vibrates or isn't centered when you're driving straight. Your mechanic can add weight to correct the balance.
4. Tread inspection
A treadwear check is recommended every two to four months. But you have to do this sooner if you're planning some long driving or off-roading. You can use a tread depth gauge: 6/32 or deeper is a good tread depth. With this depth, you get a good stopping distance of 185 feet. You should start planning to replace your tire when the depth is 4/32.
You can also refer to your tires’ tread wear indicators. They're small raised bars between the grooves. If the tread reaches the same height as these bars, it's time to replace your tire.
5. Shaded parking
Choose a shaded area such as your garage or indoor parking when parking your vehicle. Don't leave it exposed under the sun for too long as UV can break down your tires' rubber compounds.
6. Better driving habits
Adopt a careful driving style in which you avoid sudden breaks, quick acceleration, oversteering, and hard cornering. Traveling on smoother roads and evading potholes and other hazards can also extend the life of your tires.
7. No mixed set
Experts advise against mixing tires of different sizes, construction, and speed rating. Mismatched tires can make you lose stability and cause uneven wear and tear.
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