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How Long Do Car Tires Last?  A Burning Question.

How Long Do Car Tires Last?  A Burning Question.

There are a lot of rumors circulating about how long car tires last.  Generally, car tires last five to ten years.  However, that isn’t always true as many different factors affect tire life.

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


This blog aims to set the record straight on how long tires last and why that is such a challenging question.

We will take a look at some of the most common questions that occur when people think about how long car tires last.  Some of today’s questions don’t relate to how long, but they do fall in line with the theme.

For example:

  • How many miles should a car tire last?
  • How often should a car tire be replaced?
  • How long do tires last on average?
  • Do tires go bad after five years?
  • How do I know that my own car’s tires are going bad?
  • What types of tires last longer?

If these burning questions are holding you up in your ability to understand how long tires should last, there is plenty to read about!

How Long, or How Many Miles, Should a Car Tire Last?

Inquisitive minds want to know how long, or how many miles, car tires should last. Car tires should last you quite a while, but not forever.  They should last, on average, about 50,000 miles.

Cars seem almost indestructible at times.  When we buy a new car, we think it will last forever.  Then again, anybody who’s driven an old car knows that one day the end will come.  Either way, new tires may be on the to-do list before you know it.

You might think you need new car tires, but be honest with yourself.  Do you need a whole new car?  Sometimes the tires are bad, but so is the transmission, the brakes, and the rearview mirror. 

When you have an old car, it’s time to let it go.  Call a tow truck to help you out.   Some of them even pay you cash money on the spot in exchange for your broken down or old car.

How Often Should Tires Be Replaced?

If you are searching how long car tires last, you might be thinking about how often the tires should be replaced as well.

The short answer is that car tires need to be replaced when they no longer are safe to use.  That could take five years.  It could take ten.  Most mechanics insist that tires cannot be used after ten years.

To avoid frequent tire replacement, you have to take care of your tires.  For example, you need to avoid driving over nailbeds and speedbumps.  You have to realize that driving on cobblestone streets does more damage than highway driving.

Easy on those brakes! Even using the brakes too much can cause tires to go bad faster. 

Potholes don’t make for great tires either.  Snow, salt, and water take its toll, too. If you don’t take care of your tires, they won’t take care of you.

How Long do Tires Last on Average?

How long do car tires last on average?  It’s such a simple question with a complicated answer!  

To begin, there is something to be said about how we can measure tire life in different ways.

Some people measure tire life in miles.  Others in time.  We shouldn’t measure tire life by one or the other. The truth is, both aspects apply.  

Instead, you should measure tire life based on tread.  You can even ask your mechanic how much tire life remains when you get your oil change.

The trick is that driving habits are different for every person.  Wear and tear are different for every year, make, and model of a car. What does this mean?

It means whether you need new tires in four years or six years depends on the driver, the car, the make, the model, the year, the weather, and the types of roads on which the car is driven.  There could even be factors not mentioned on this list!

Do Tires Go Bad After Five Years?

When people ask “how long do car tires last?”, it’s easy to blurt out the most obvious and simplistic answer:  ABOUT FIVE YEARS!  

That’s true, but it also isn’t.  Car tires don’t automatically expire like milk in the refrigerator – not at five years at least.

Mechanics generally agree no tires should be on the road after ten years.  However, a five-year expiration date misses the mark a little.  The tires could go bad in less time if you drive thousands and thousands of miles in a year, for example.

Tires can go bad if you drive over tire spikes that deflate your tires.   That happens in an instant.

Tires go bad based on many factors – not just time.  That said, be alert that after ten years, the tires should be changed even if they have some tread left.

How Much Do Car Tires Cost?

Maybe you want to know how long tires last because you’re going to be investing in a new set of tires in the near future.  Perhaps you’re just a curious person who likes knowing what various items cost.  

Changing one tire for an inexpensive new one will run you around $150.  That’s just a ballpark estimate.  

The type of car, the distance from the nearest tire shop (if you call a tow truck or roadside assistance service), and the quality of the tire all impact the final price point.

High-end tires can run more than $1,000 per wheel! That might seem expensive to some, but quality and luxury are to be expected at such a high cost.

Specialty tires will cost more, too.  If you need tires that are very big or designed for snowy weather, you’re going to pay top dollar for them.

How Do I Know When My Car Tires are Going Bad?

People who search the Internet for information on how long car tires last might really be asking the question “are my tires going bad?”

Maybe!

Car tires give plenty of signals that they are not going to last much longer.  For example, if the brakes are good, but you feel like your car is sliding a little when it is supposed to come to a complete stop, it might be new tire time.

If you feel like the car isn’t gripping in the snow, you may need to schedule an appointment to install new tires.

Do you know what hydroplaning is? That’s when the car drives over a puddle or standing water and just kind of awkwardly slides over it.  The brakes don’t work the way they are supposed to when this happens.  Not only is it scary, it’s dangerous!

Hydroplaning could be a sign that you need new tires.  Check with your mechanic if you think you need new tires.

Another trick is to look at the tread.  Tires have little grooves on them.  This isn’t just for design, nor is it just for friction.  It also is a way of telling when the tires’ end is near.

You can use the penny test to tell how much tread a tire has.

Take a penny (for good luck).  Then, hold it to the grooves present on the surface of the tire.  The President’s head should not be visible.  If you can see it, then the tire tread shows it’s time to buy new ones.

If you’re more scientific, you can measure the groove for yourself.  It needs to be at least 2/32 of an inch to be considered a usable tire.

In summary, tires are bad when they don’t operate as expected in inclement weather (snow, storms, etc.).  The tread may give clues as to how far gone those tires really are.

Fun fact:  having bad tires can be subject to a fine in some jurisdictions.  This is because it is dangerous to have bad tires.  If your car swerves on wet roads, you might cause an accident.  Remember, having a safe motor vehicle is the driver’s responsibility.

The problems you are having with your tires might give you some insight as to why they are going bad.  For example, if the wear is in the middle of the tire tread, the culprit might be over inflation.  The opposite may show that the tire should have been inflated more.

There could be a lot wrong with your tires, and it could have to do with other car problems like bad wheel alignment.  If you think your car isn’t driving the way it used to, or if your wheels are making noise, take the car to a mechanic.

You may be afraid to spend money on new tires, but think of all you could lose by driving on ones that are no longer safe.  It’s a scary concept to consider!

How Long do Various Types of Car Tires Last?

Such a great question regarding how long car tires last:  what types of tires last the longest?  

As stated, tire duration is all about how the car is driven.  That being said, there are some ways to improve tire life – the first starts at the time of purchase.

There are different types of tires.  Of course, tires come in different sizes – but they come in different qualities, too.

Here’s a little experiment:  the next time you find yourself in a big box retailer that sells tires (in store), go take a look at them.  Compare prices and functionality.  You may find out that the tires that cost more seem to have a better grip.  They might be a little thicker or made of a higher-quality material.

There is one rule that rings true when it comes to purchasing and installing tires:  you get what you pay for.

People are always looking for ways to save money, and they could do so by investing in a higher quality tire.  Today’s modern tires offer features that didn’t exist in the past.  Some tires outlive the cars they serve.

One topic that is important to consider is warranty.  If you drive your car with its new tires for two weeks, and they’re deflating without a puncture – you know something is wrong.  If you don’t have a warranty, you could be paying even more money for another costly repair!

Some warranties cover up to 80,000 miles.  That’s great news for the contemporary tire shopper.

Popular tires, and perhaps some of the longest lasting, are usually sold under the names “all-weather tires” or “all-season tires.”  Some people used to change their tires for the seasons! The idea is that these tires are designed for winter, spring, summer, and fall.  

If you’re not sure, ask your mechanic.  Be alert, though.  Sometimes the upsell is tempting but illogical. For instance, do you need snow tires if you live in Florida?  Probably not!  If you live in rural Illinois, on the other hand, you could need some new tires before winter hits.

Folks in big cities like Chicago, for example, know that they should always inspect their tires before they drive.  They never know what pothole is going to bring a tire to its untimely demise!

Remember, the tires on the car may actually be better than the car itself.  If you’re ready to junk a car because it can’t go any further, the tires may be worth something.

For this reason, plenty of people “recycle their old car.”  They just call a junkyard that offers towing services.  Some drivers are even paid cash money on the spot for the old car – perhaps the junkyard will resell the tires!

Tread Lightly on the Tire Talk

Racecar drivers, mechanics, and car salespeople want their car tires to last for a long time.  For this reason, we joke that you should “tread” lightly when talking about tires.

For some people, an old tire is just that – an old rubber tire.  For others, it’s technology, safety, and speed.  Depending on your own needs, and the needs of the car, you will certainly be able to find the tires that are right for you.