Lifetime Of A Set Of Tires
Nothing lasts forever, and that includes car tires. Wondering how long should a set of tires last? Continue reading to know more about the expiration date of these essential vehicle parts.
Buying a new set of tires can cost you a significant amount; hence it only makes sense that you be concerned with its longevity.
The U. S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) says that most new tires on the market today are designed to last up to 60,000 miles before these are worn out, or when the tread depth reaches the unsafe point of 2/32 of an inch.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, the typical American drives around 14,000 to 15,000 miles in a year. A quick calculation can lead us to cite that a set of tires would last between 3 and 4 years.
That’s quite impressive especially when you consider that tires in the 1970s only lasted about 20,000 miles. Sure, there are some tires that can get you up to 80,000 miles but as one saying puts it, your mileage may vary.
Keep in mind that the USTMA says that the 60,000-mile tire lifespan is only an approximation and applies only to tires that are driven under perfect road conditions. Since we don’t live in a perfect world what with traffic and potholes part of our everyday lives, we can’t really expect all modern tires to last that long. Even the best tires for Subaru Forester may have a shorter lifespan if exposed to rough roads or frequently under inflated.
Factors Affecting Tire Mileage
The best explanation as to why tires have different lifespans would be due to the various factors affecting its mileage. Tire longevity is not too different from life expectancy in humans. Multiple factors affecting our mortality such as genetics, socio-economic status, lifestyle, and access to quality health services.
Just like us humans, the longevity of tires would depend on various factors such as:
- Tire width. The wider the tires are, the bigger their contact patch with the ground and the lower ground pressure to deal with. This, in turn, increases the lifespan of tires.
- Tire pressure. Overinflated tires cause ground pressure around the center of the tire’s contact patch to increase, consequently speeding up the wear and tear. But underinflation can also be a problem. Radial deformation is increased when the tire pressure is low, leading to the deformation of the tire wall and reduction in the tire’s life.
- Driving habits. Yes, your driving habits can also affect tire wear. Strong acceleration, sharp steering, and strong braking, among others, can increase tire wear. Smoking the tires may look cool in the movies but in real life, it means sentencing your tires to premature baldness.
- Road conditions. Vehicles that are driven in the city tend to have tires with a higher wear rate compared to those that are driven mostly on the highways. Thus, if you always drive your Toyota Tundra to the countryside, expect the tires to last long.
Other factors that can affect tire longevity include tire ratings, outside temperature, and frequency of rotating the tires.
In short, there are plenty of factors and variables at play which makes it difficult to ascertain tire longevity.
How to Improve Tire Longevity
One thing that’s easier to do than determining tire longevity is extending tire life which can be accomplished by following these steps:
- Keep tires properly inflated. It is normal for tires to lose air which makes maintaining tire pressure so much of a challenge. Air can leak through small punctures and valve caps. You can keep tires properly inflated by having them checked once a week by mechanics. The use of flow-through valve caps for quick and easy checking of air pressure can also help. You should also remember to inflate tires more often during the colder months of the year.
- Avoid driving at high speeds. Driving fast can generate more heat on the tires, accelerating wear in the process. According to tire manufacturer Goodyear, driving at speeds of 75mph can increase total tread mileage by at least 20 percent. So, you should drive at a slower pace even when on the highways. This will not only prolong the lifespan of your tires but also give you better gas mileage.
- Ensure good vehicle alignment. Irregular tire wear is also a result of poor vehicle alignment. Tires that are not running straight ahead tend to have accelerated tread wear.
- Rotate tires. It can be tempting to leave tires in the same position for a long time because let’s face it, moving time can take a lot of effort. Yet regular tire rotation can increase tread longevity and get you more miles out of your tires. Ideally, tires should be rotated between the forward and the back positions every 5,000 miles in order to even out the wear. That’s why it is also important to have your vehicle undergo regular preventive maintenance service, as tire rotation is normally included performed during it.
- Drive wisely. Take it easy on the roads especially on the bad ones. Brake moderately and resist the urge to accelerate all the time. Avoid broken pavement and potholes if you want your tires to last longer.
- Monitor tire condition. Make it a habit to regularly inspect your tires. It’s simple to do. Running your hand across it, look for foreigns objects such as nails. And always keep an eye on tread depth, which is the measure from the top to the grooves of the tread. A Washington quarter can come in handy. Insert it upside down in a tread groove. If the head of Washington is visible above the head, then you should be looking for a tire replacement.
In short, there is no absolute way to tell how long tires would last. It's possible for your tires to last up to 60,000 miles, but that is not guaranteed. If you want to get the most out of your tires, just follow the tips shared above.