Tires have an expiration date – no matter how well you drive and maintain your car. New car tires risk wearing out faster and could become a serious safety issue. Moreover, auto insurance does not cover wear and tear on tires. So, it is a good idea to get a clear answer to – “How long do tires last on a new car?” Let’s find out the safe limit and learn more about how to make your car tires last longer than average.
While being well-versed in car talk is good, not everyone has the time to delve deep into Treadwear Rating and Drivetrain Distribution. So, here’s an easier place to start – How many miles should tires on a new car last?
The general estimate is 50,000 – 60,000 miles for OEM tires that come with a new car. However, this is the maximum it can stretch based on good driving habits and optimal driving conditions. Practically, the life span of stock tires would be much less if you drive every day, even on smooth pavement. So, the answer to ‘How long do tires last on a new car’ can vary based on multiple factors – we’ll discuss these below.
OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or OE tires are specified and fitted by an automaker in their new cars. When you buy a new car, it comes rolling out of the dealership in OE tires, also referred to as stock tires.
Do tires on new cars wear out faster?
OEM or stock tires on a new car may wear out faster because:
1 – Tires usually do not come under warranty. So, the vehicle manufacturer may not put in OE tires built to last. However, some automakers ensure high-quality tires specially made to suit their product, like the Tesla-approved Michelin T0 tires.
2 – OE tires usually have softer rubber components to give you that smooth test-drive experience. The dealers may also lower the air pressure to improve the ride quality. Softer material and inadequate inflation have an impact on the durability of car tires.
How Long Do Tires Last on a New Car?
On average, Americans drive around 13,000 miles a year. So, an all-season tire of satisfactory quality should last you for three to five years. Tire manufacturers and safety experts stress that all tires must be replaced after ten years, even if it has some tread left.
Whether you continue to use the OE tires or switch to a higher-quality replacement, regular checks by an expert and adequate maintenance are required to keep them in good shape. You must also inspect your tires thoroughly, if not replaced, at least every six years and ensure the wear is within acceptable safety standards.
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What causes tires to wear out too quickly?
Apart from the usual suspects – aggressive driving and air pressure/alignment issues – several other factors may affect your car tire’s durability. Such as:
Summer, winter, all-weather, all-terrain, all-season – several types of tires are available to suit varying driving conditions and needs. The rubber component is one of the main factors that make these tires adapt to the specific climate or driving surface. Softer tires give you a smoother drive but also wear out quickly due to the increased friction. So, high-performance tires wear out faster than standard all-season tires.
To know your car tire’s treadwear rating, you can check the tire itself – it is mentioned on its sidewall, along with other specs. The higher the treadwear grade on a tire, the longer it will last. When the tread depth on your tire is at 2/32” or below, the tire is worn out and has lesser traction, which is a safety issue, especially in bad weather. Do the Penny Test to ensure your tire has enough grip and is safe to drive.
If the power from the motor is going to a single wheel, that tire could wear out faster than the other three non-drive tires. In the case of EVs, the power is sent directly to the axle, which results in higher torque – so the increased force wears out the tires faster. So, it is important to rotate your tires at the right time – generally, every 5000 – 8000 miles depending on the extent of wear.
How to extend your tire’s lifespan?
The answer to “How long do tires last on a new car” may vary, but instead of worrying about the upcoming expense, here are a few steps to delay it.
- Get your car tires checked regularly for damage. Frequently driving on dirt and gravel road can accelerate wear and tear. Even if you don’t go off the road, driving up and down hills or tailgating can have a similar effect due to increased pressure.
- Ensure the air pressure is maintained and your tires are aligned/rotated at the right intervals.
- If you regularly face challenges like hitting the curb or driving over potholes, it could increase the risk of misalignment and suspension damage. Get your car and its tires thoroughly inspected by a mechanic at least once a year.
- If you notice off shakes or bounce while driving, look for abnormal wear patterns or cupping on the tires.
- Drive with a lighter foot – do not start or stop abruptly and accelerate gradually. Sudden brakes and quick acceleration will burn out tires. You should also avoid turning the steering wheel when the car is not moving to avoid unnecessarily grinding down the tire surface. Defensive driving techniques can help make practicing these driving habits easier.
Did You Know?
Minimally used tires can expire due to age than wear and tear. For example, tires on collectible care or recreation vehicles. Even spare tires that have been sitting for years age due to lack of driving and should not be used after a certain period. It may still have the tread, but the rubber and other chemical components would have deteriorated and weakened the tire’s structural integrity.
How do you know how old your tires are?
If you are unsure how old your car tires are, you can quickly inspect the sidewall for an answer. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number is mentioned alongside other tire specs like the size, treadwear grade, traction, temperature, etc.
Look for the letter “DOT” followed by a series of letters and numbers – usually eleven or twelve characters. The last four digits of the series indicate the week and year of manufacture. For example, if the last four digits of your tire’s DOT number is 3819, it was made in the 38th week of 2019.
Note: Tires made before 2000 will have a 3-digit week and year code. You should replace these tires immediately, as they have aged beyond the safe limit.
How do you know if tires need replacing?
The common signs of a worn-out tire include the tire warning light, noticeable cracks, and uneven wear. The tread would be shallower and if you aren’t sure it’s past the safe limit of 2/32”, try the Penny Test.
What is a Penny Test?
Place a penny, with Lincoln’s head pointing down, into the tire’s tread. If the top of his head disappears into the tread, it is deep enough to be safe for driving. If you can see the head, the tire has worn out below 2/32” of tread depth.
If you notice uneven wear on the tire, it may also indicate another car problem. For example, if there is inner or outer shoulder wear, your car wheels could be misaligned. You may need to rotate or inflate, or both if the wear is more pronounced on the edge of the shoulder. Overinflated tires will have wear in the center, that is down the middle of the tire. Hard acceleration can also cause center wear. Meanwhile, cupping is usually a sign of suspension issues.
In case of alignment or suspension damage causing your tires to wear out faster, you may also notice unusual vibrations, shakes, or noises while driving. It could become a serious safety issue if left unchecked, putting you and other passengers in your car at risk.
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