Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

How long do tires last?

How long do tires last?

How long does tire tread last?

Tire tread life is dependent on the durometer (the rubber’s hardness), tread design, type of roads its used on, whether the vehicle is properly aligned and how well you maintain the tire’s air pressure.

• A harder rubber compound will wear slower than a softer compound. But generally speaking, it will provide worse traction in snow and ice conditions (although some modern tire compounds with added silica can improve cold weather traction.

• An aggressive tread design can sometimes wear faster than a less aggressive tread design.

• Maintaining vehicle alignment is critical to obtaining maximum tire tread life

• Maintaining the recommended tire air pressure is also critical to obtaining maximum tire tread life.

Does tire age play a role in how long a tire lasts?

Yes. Some carmakers like Ford, Nissan and Mercedes recommend replacing tires six years after their manufacture date, regardless of the tread depth. Just to be clear, they’re talking about the tire’s manufacture date, not the day you installed them on your vehicle. The distinction is important because some odd-sized tires can sit in storage at the tire distributor’s warehouse for several years before being installed on your vehicle. The clock starts ticking the minute they’re manufactured.

Tire manufacturers Continental and Michelin recommend replacing tires at 10 years, regardless of remaining tread life.

Why there’s disagreement on when to replace a tire?

Because there’s really no way to know how the tire has been stored or how it’s been maintained by the user. High heat, sunlight, ozone, underinflation, and non-use will age a tire more rapidly.

Heat and sunlight age tires

According to NHTSA research, tires age more quickly in warmer climates. The research also shows that exposure to sunlight and coastal climates speeds up the aging process.

Non-use ages tires

This seems counterintuitive, but tire compounds contain additives to fight the aging caused by UV and ozone. Driving actually activates the additives, while non-use reduces the effectiveness of the additives.

Improper storage reduces tire life

Tires don’t go immediately from the manufacturer to the tire store. Instead they go to a local tire distributor. Some less popular tires can sit in the warehouse for years before they’re delivered to the tire store. Tires should be stored away from sunlight and in cool conditions. If you see tires stored in an outdoor tire rack, avoid buying from that store.

©, 2022 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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