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Tire Change Chronicles: How Often to Swap the Rubber Soles!

  • Wheels and Tires
  • Xavier Sabastian
  • 7 minutes

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How often should you change your tires? Picture this: thin treads, rubber breakdown, damaged sidewalls. Sounds like a recipe for an annoying flat tire, or worse, a blowout or a shaky grip causing an accident. Wear and tear are predictable, just like the need for a tire change. Get ready to decode the signs that scream, “I’m done!”. Say hello to safe travels.

The car industry agrees that you should replace your tires at least once every six years, but there is no magic number for how often you should do this.

Tires are no longer safe when the tread gets too thin, when time and weather break down the rubber, or when the sidewalls are damaged. A flat tire is annoying, but a blowout or shaky grip could cause an accident.

Save up to $3000 yearly on your car expenses

Tires can be a big expense for a car owner all at once, but wear and tear are predictable, as is the need to change them. Here’s how to tell if your tires need to be changed and the most common signs that your tires aren’t up to par.

Tread depth

The tread on tires is the line that helps them stick to the road. Most new tires have about 10/32nds of an inch of tread depth, but the tread wears down over time. This makes it harder to turn your car, decreases traction, and takes longer to stop.

The United States Department of Transportation deems tires with less than 2/32nds of an inch of tread hazardous. 

There are three ways to find out the tread depth of your tires:

  • Tread wear indicators: Tread wear indicators are raised spots evenly spread in the grooves of your tire tread. They are embedded within the tires. They are lower than the tread depth of fresh tires. But when the tread gets to the same level as the markings, it’s time to get new tires.
  • Tire tread gauges: Tire tread gauges are inexpensive tools that can measure your tread depth in thirty seconds of an inch. This will tell you the exact size of the tread on your tire.
  • Penny Test: The penny test lets you figure out how deep the tread is by looking at where a penny fits into the tread. To do this test, flip a penny over and put it straight down in a hole in a tire’s tread. Look at the penny straight to find where the tread meets President Lincoln’s face. You need new tires if you hit the mark and can see his whole head.

Consider getting new ones if your tires are over six years old or the tread is worn down to less than 2/32nds of an inch.

Tire Age

Tires wear out and become more likely to fail, no matter how many miles they’ve been driven. Even if a tire is only driven a few hundred miles a month, things like the weather, how it is stored, and how well it is taken care of can affect how long it will last.

Even though there isn’t a hard-and-fast rule about when to change tires based on age, the general rule is to replace them six years after they were made and never drive on tires older than ten years.

Possible Tire Change indicators

Even if your tread measurement says otherwise, there are other times when your tires will tell you it’s time to get new ones.

You’ve relocated to a new region: Some tires are made for certain situations, like high temperatures. Winter tires, for example, have deeper treads and are made to be more flexible in cold weather. Driving on warm roads can wear them out faster. If you move to a different region, watch how the roads are and how the weather changes to see if you need new tires.

Car’s momentum is fading: If you feel like your car is slipping or sliding when wet, it could be because your tires don’t have enough grip and can’t drain water as well as they should. Tire tread wears in different places. You might not notice that some of it has worn down, making it harder to grip the road.

When most new cars lose traction, a warning light comes on. Check the state of your tires if you see this warning light more often as time passes.

Tire Pressure is always low: The air in your tires isn’t staying in them as it should. Some kinds of tire damage, like dirt between the rim and the tire or damage to the sidewall, can cause the pressure in the tire to keep going down. Some damage can be fixed, but sometimes you’ll need new tires.

Most tires last between 36,000 and 75,000 miles or about six years. 

How can you make the tires on your car last longer?

Tires are made to last six years, but they only last that long if taken care of. A simple way to ensure your tires last as long as possible is to check the tire pressure once a month. Ensure they are filled to the recommended PSI. Most current cars have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System that will let you know if one or more of your tires have low tire pressure. Get them changed every year or 10,000 miles, or every time you change your oil.


How long do tires last on average?

Most tires last between 36,000 and 75,000 miles or about six years. But the real life of tires depends on things like the weather, how well they are taken care of, and how they are driven. No matter how good they look, tires should only be used for up to ten years.

When should I replace my tires?

Consider getting new ones if your tires are over six years old or the tread is worn down to less than 2/32nds of an inch. Changes in how your tires work could also mean that you need to get new ones. Tires that are worn out often lose their grip and must be pumped up constantly.

Should all four tires be replaced at once?

If you drive an all-wheel drive car, you must change all four tires simultaneously to avoid messing up the drivetrain. You have more choices in other kinds of cars. If you only need to replace one tire and the others still have a lot of treads and are in good shape, you can replace the damaged one. If you need more clarification, talk to a tire expert about the best way to change your tires.

How frequently should you replace tires if you rarely drive?

Over time, all tires will start to wear down. Even if they have not been used much, the tread will start to wear down. Tires may last longer than the average five to six years, but regardless of how frequently you drive, you should always replace them before age ten.

How often do you need new tires?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says drivers should change their tires every six years as a general rule. But a few things can make tires wear out faster and cause drivers to change them more often.

How many km should you change tires?

There is no clear answer to how long your tires should last, but it is suggested that you always replace them after ten years. Suggestions about how many kilometers your tires should last range from 10,000 to 50,000.

How do I know if I need new tires?

If the top of Abraham Lincoln’s skull can be seen through the treads, the tires must be replaced. A tread depth measurement is a quick and easy method to determine the state of your tires. It quantifies the tire wear between 0 and 19/32 of an inch.

Can tires sit for two years?

Tires can be saved for years if they are kept correctly. But many tire experts say that tires should be replaced six years after they were made. 

Are 5-year-old tires safe?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and official tire makers say it’s safest to use a tire until it’s 5 or 6 years old. But some people say a tire can work for up to 10 years if it is checked for problems every year after the 5th year.

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