New tires come with a treadwear rating, but it’s just a general guideline that doesn’t guarantee how long your tires will last. Some tire manufacturers even have mileage warranties, but it’s still important to keep an eye on their overall condition to know how often you should get new tires. 

The simple fact is, there’s no specific timeline for how often you should get new tires, but there are many factors that play into how long your tires will last. High treadwear ratings on most all-season tires will usually mean that you can get tens of thousands of miles or several years of use out of them. Of course, those numbers can vary greatly.

Someone who drives a sports car on high-performance summer tires will need to get new tires more often than someone who drives an economical commuter car on touring all-season tires. As a general rule of thumb, if your tires are six-years-old or older, you should consider replacing them. Even if they’re only a couple of years old but have low tread or show any other signs of damage, the should be inspected regularly.

To visually inspect your tires, you don’t necessarily have to have them looked at by a professional. Here’s what to look for when inspecting tires yourself:

Visual Inspection Tips

Wear Bars: Most tires have wear bars, or wear indicators, designed to let you know when they’re due for replacement. Look for a raised indicator in the circumferential grooves of the tire, and if the tread is equal to that bar, it’s time to get new tires.

Tread Depth: You can also use the old “penny test” to check (or use a quarter). Use the top of the president’s head as an indicator—if the top of the head is visible, it’s replacement time. You can also use an actual tread-depth gauge; 1/16” (usually measured as 2/32) means it’s time.

Cracking: Climate and sun exposure can also age a tire more rapidly, so regardless of the tire’s age, look for dryness or small cracks on the sidewall or in the base of the tread. Small cracks may not be anything to worry about, but have them professionally inspected if in doubt.

Sidewall Integrity: Bubbles or bulging of the sidewall are signs that a tire should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid a potential blowout and loss of control.

Age: Even with great tread depth, rubber does age out, and most tires should be replaced once they reach 5-6 years old. All tires have a DOT (Department of Transportation) date code on the sidewall. Look for the four-digit code, and use the first two numbers to know the week of production and the last two for the year. A tire with 2519 would’ve been produced during the 25th week of 2019.

How many years or miles should I get from my tires?

It would be great if there was a set timeline for getting new tires, whether it was based on mileage or age. At the far end of the spectrum, you can realistically hope to get about 50,000 miles and/or five to six years, but that depends on many factors.

Different tires will get different mileage, and even within tire categories, factors such as climate, road quality, driving style, and suspension alignment have a big effect on tire mileage. Here are some of the most common factors that can speed up the wear of your tires:

Factors that speed up tire wear/damage

  • Extreme temperatures
  • Oil, grease, gasoline
  • Prolonged sun exposure
  • Potholes and bad roads
  • Wrong air pressure (too low or too high)
  • Bad suspension alignment
  • Irregular tire rotations
  • Driving on a flat tire
  • Driving style (heavy acceleration, fast cornering, heavy braking)
  • High speeds

What will happen if I drive on worn-out or old tires?
If you check the date code on your tires as recommended above and see that they’re older than five or six years but still have a lot of tread left, you may be tempted to continue driving on them just to save a few dollars. And you might be okay doing that, at least for a while. 

Rubber ages, however, and that means it loses its elasticity. With a tire, that means they’re much more susceptible to damage. Driving on an old tire that has a blowout because of an encounter with a mild pothole could not only ruin your day, it could potentially cost you considerably more than a new set of tires would have. Think about the potential damage to your vehicle, property around you, and the passengers in your own vehicle or people around you.

Driving around on tires without enough tread might also be tempting for someone driving around on a nice summer day in Texas, but what happens when it starts to rain? Tread depth plays a huge role in water evacuation, so low tread can result in uncontrollable hydroplaning at highway speeds and lack of grip for cornering and braking.

And if you drive a sports car with old tires that have low tread depth, don’t fool yourself into thinking that means a larger contact patch for better grip and traction. That’s true for race and track-day tires but not typical street tires. As your street tires age and wear out, the rubber becomes harder due to age and numerous heat cycles.

How to get longer life from your tires

We all want the best bang for our buck, and that means getting the most life and mileage out of your tires. Even with high-performance summer tires, you can do a few things to get a bit more life before needing to replace them.

Extend the life of your tires

Monthly Visual Inspection: Check your tires for odd wear, punctures, or signs of damage regularly. Get in the habit of doing a thorough visual inspection monthly and before long trips.

Adjust Your Driving Style: If you’ve got a lead foot and heavy hands, the easiest way to extend the life of your tires is to slow down. Accelerate at a moderate pace, take corners less aggressively, and use consistent, smooth braking when slowing down.

Adjust Tire Pressures: Check your car’s manual or the driver’s side door for your proper tire pressures, and adjust accordingly.

Tire Rotation: Use your car’s manual to ensure the proper tire rotation direction, and rotate your tires approximately every 5,000 miles (or at every oil change).

Get an Alignment: You should get a wheel alignment at least every 2-3 years, but more often may be ideal depending on your roads. When you inspect your tires monthly, look at the tread wear across all tires and use a tread depth gauge to verify even wear. Note: If your wheels go out of alignment often, have your mechanic inspect your suspension bushings for potential wear and tear.

If you’ve followed the above guidelines and realized it’s time to get new tires, or if you need help deciding if yours need replacement, contact Zohr online or call/text us at 816-800-9175 and we’ll be happy to help. Plus, since we’re mobile tire installation technicians, we can go to your home or office and perform an on-site tire rotation, or we can deliver and install new tires wherever you are.

Linkarowe Maintaining Your Car's Tires in Kansas City | Zohr How Does Mobile Tire Repair Work? | Zohr Linkarowe

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