Clean Car's How Long Should a New Set of Tires Last?
Content Provided by CarAndDriver.com
It may be tentative, but tires do have an expiration date. There is a general consensus that most tires should be inspected, if not replaced, at about six years and should be absolutely be swapped out after 10 years, regardless of how much tread they have left. How do you know how old your tires are? There’s a code on the sidewall that you can read about here. Wear is a far more straightforward consideration: Tiremakers and safety advocates say a tire is worn out when its tread depth reaches 2/32 of an inch. That’s all fine, but what most car owners want to know is how long to expect a set of new tires to last before they need to be replaced.
“I wish it were simple to say how long each tire might last, but tires are different,” said Dan Zielinski, a spokesman for the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA). “Some tire manufacturers offer a warranty as high as 80,000 miles or more, reflecting confidence in that particular product’s longevity based on its engineering, technology, and design. Other tires may be built to provide 30,000 miles of service.” Or less; some high-performance tires on cars driven aggressively will be worn to the 2/32-inch point without ever seeing 15,000 miles, but those are extreme cases.
The average American drives between 14,000 and 15,000 miles a year, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration. Zielinski said that, if you’re kind to your tires—that is, you aren’t constantly peeling out at stoplights and you properly maintain them—most new tires on the market today will last about 60,000 miles. For what it’s worth, the USTMA did a review of several thousand recently scrapped tires and found that most were three to four years old. There was no way of telling how many miles were on those tires, but it’s easy enough to multiply four years by 15,000 miles annually to confirm the rough approximation of tire durability.
If you want to figure out how soon you’ll wear out the tires on your car, Zielinski said it would be a good idea to start by determining how many miles you drive each year. Divide the number of miles on the odometer by how many years you’ve owned the car (starting, obviously, from when you first got the car and accounting for any mileage it had on it at that time). Then you can compare that with any advertised warranty on the make and model of the tires and figure out how many years of service to expect. If you live where winter tires are advisable and swap those onto the car for some months of the year, your regular tires will get less use and will endure for a longer period of time, but remember the caveats about tire age.
Zielinski also noted that if you hit the wear bars at 50,000 miles on a set of tires with a 60,000-mile warranty, for example, tiremakers that offer such coverage will typically prorate the price of a new set. In this example, you could expect a discount on the new set equal to one-sixth their price, or about 17 percent. You might not get it, though, if you decide to change brands.