How long do tires last on my car?

Tires lifespan: Step by step explanation to how long do tires last.

Updated on 12/01/18
8 minute read

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Tires on your car are incredibly important.  

They are the part that no one really checks regularly but is responsible mainly for your safety and car ride quality.

Let's use shoes as a metaphor. Will you enjoy striding in low quality, bad shape pair of shoes? 

The driver and driving habits have a lot to do with the lifespan of a tire.

In this article, I will address important aspects of tires lifespan and maintenance. Read more to find out how long do tires last?.


Right off the bat, the answer to the question is:

It depends. 


Here is the deal:

The lifespan of a tire is influenced by 4 major factors.

  1. The age of the tires
  2. Quality of the tires
  3. Mileage driven
  4. Last but not least, driving habits or nature of usage

There are more factors I will address in a later section, though my focus is on the more common ones above. 


The age of the tires

Assuming you bought a new car. All 4 tires are new, original, high-quality tires.

If you never drive the car, will the tires last forever? Will they still be good after 10 years?


Tires do have a shelf life.

Tires usually have 4-6 years of shelf life.  Depends on the quality and brand.


In the picture above you can see the week and year the tire was manufactured in.

The first 2 numbers represent the week number in the year, and the second represents the year. 

In this case, the tire was made in the 13th week of 2014.

I think it is safe to say that if your car tires are still in good shape and 5 years have passed since the tires were manufactured, you need to change tires. 

This is due to material fatigue. The rubber is probably old and dry and will not perform well. The tires road grip may be significantly reduced. 

The 5 years point is a guideline. It is highly recommended to consult a professional when in doubt about your tires condition.


How can you prolong the life of the tire

Besides following car manufacturer instructions regarding air pressure, you can also use tire shine. This will keep the rubber of the tires young and fresh, making the tire outer part less prone to cracks and dry surface. Tire shine spray, no wipe, on Amazon

Here is an experiment with cheap tire shine. You can see the results yourself:




Quality of the tires

Quality is a matter of opinion. Each person has its own opinions of what tire specifications should include and how they should perform. 

People also have different needs when it comes to tires. 

I do want to say that if you decide to go with branded tires, from a well-known manufacturer, with good values on traction and grip, you chose quality. 

Without being nitpicky about the definition of quality, tires of better quality tend to have a longer lifespan

that is not a guaranteed, but most likely that will be the case.

I don't necessarily recommend buying the most expensive tires. Select what is good for you according to your needs.   


Mileage driven

This is pretty intuitive. 

The more you drive your car, the more your tires will wear. This is normal and no tire or brand is excluded.

What is the normal mileage expected from tires?

Typical family-car tires are expected to last for around 70,000 Km or 45,000 miles (not a 1 to1 Km/Miles conversion). That is provided that the driver is not aggressive and the tires are often driven on paved roads. Meaning no off-road rides with the tires.

This is again, a guideline. The values may differ from one manufacturer to the other.


Not all tires are equal

The values in the previous paragraph don't reflect an equal wear on all 4 tires. 

Front tires tend to wear faster due to the weight of the engine and the breaking load. From my experience, my front tires tread depth is always smaller than the back tires' treads. 


Driving habits

Here we are entering the realm of driving styles. No one really likes being told how to drive or whether his driving style is aggressive.

Nonetheless, a more aggressive driving style will shorten the lifespan of tires. That's a fact.

When driving aggressively, you wear off more tire for the same period of time. 



What is aggressive driving for that matter? 

Frequent hard breaking, fast accelerations, hard steering wheel input, fast turns, and more. You get the idea.  

Such driving style, besides being dangerous in extreme cases,  can significantly shorten the life of tires, cost more in gas and car maintenance.


To conclude so far

The 4 factors mentioned above should give you the basic understanding of how long do tires last.

Generally, Good driving habits and maintenance will help you at least maximize the mileage on your tires. It can save you money and time.

Those are not the only factors. In the next section,  I will address more factors. 


Additional factors that affect tires lifespan

There are few more factors to consider when evaluating how long will tires last.

These factors can potentially cause damage, uneven wear, cracks and more when not taken into account.

Here are some of them:

  1. Wheels alignment. 
  2. Frequently driving on gravel roads.
  3. Extra weight on the car, like heavy tools left in the trunk.   
  4. A high or low pressure in tires. Always fill tires following manufacturer instructions.

There are more causes for tires treadwear or general tires wear. Let me know in the comments if you know more.


Tips for tires maintenance and extending the lifespan of tires

There is a lot to do with that. I think we do not need to go to the extreme. Tires wear, it is OK.

But it doesn't mean we can't at least avoid unnecessary tire damage and safety issues. 

Here are some guidelines:

  1. Check air pressure every 2-4 weeks. Always inflate the tire according to manufacturer instructions.
  2. Avoid off-road driving or driving on gravel. 
  3. Go easy on the gas pedal. Same goes for the breaks pedal. 
  4. Avoid frequent fast turns. Fast turn put a lot of weight and friction on the tires.
  5. Try to have smooth controlled turns instead of abrupt input on the steering wheel.

Important: Always follow manufacturer instructions.

Another way to maintain your tires is using tire protectant product. This is a great solution to maintain that new tire look while protecting the rubber from the road, UV rays and more. 


how long should tires last on a brand new car?

Original tires, those who come with a new car are usually of good quality. At least from my personal experience. 

Let's put aside all the factors I mentioned above, and the tire type, size, etc: It is safe to say that brand new tires on a brand new car will last 5-6 years OR 70,000 Km / 45,000 miles OR until the tread depth is lower than  2mm / 2/32 inches. Whichever comes first.

This is an average. Numbers may vary. 

Here is an image that presents tire with new threads.


You can see that brand new threads are around 1/4 inch deep or 7-8 cm, depends on the brand and tire type. 

If you do not often change your driving habits, the threads will gradually lose their thickness until it is time to replace the tires. It can help you assess when you should replace your tires so you keep your car safe for driving. 

Related Article: How to clean your car interior plastic and vinyl parts.


How much should you inflate your tires?

This is pretty simple. 

Every car has a metal plate or a sticker (I will call it 'the sticker' for the sake of convenience') that specifies the right air pressure.

The sticker is usually located on the door frame. In some cars, it is located on the inner side of the gas tank door.

Here is an example:


The stickers are not uniform and can contain different information and pressures. 

In the above sticker example, you can see that there are two recommended air pressure settings, depending on how much load there is on the car.

Usually, my car is not driven while fully loaded with passengers and equipment so I go with 35 /33 PSI (front tires/back tires).

The most important thing is to follow the instructions and fill the air pressure according to the sticker. 

Tip: some people say that overinflating tires by 10% may reduce fuel consumption. Personally, I can't say if it is a guaranteed result. 


when should I change tires?

Let's start with the easiest part. 

Visible damage to the tires

If you see any deformation, change in color, visible damage or any sign of damage to the tire (cracks, damaged rubber, dry rubber).

In any doubt, consult a professional and change tires accordingly. 



Another sign is age as mentioned above. If your tires are older the 5 years, replace them.


Uneven wear

Uneven wear may reduce road grip. This is a safety issue.  

Ideally, tires should wear off evenly across the tire surface. 


Treads depth

Make sure the depth is greater the 2mm or 2/32 inches. Beyond that point, the tires are not road worthy.


Here you can see the I have 5mm depth on my tires. Means the tires are ok and I can drive a few more thousands of miles with them.

As mentioned before, If you are in doubt, consult a professional.


Final Conclusions

Tires are one of the most important parts of your car.

Answering How long do tires last brought me to address many aspects of tires lifespan and maintenance.

Check your tires regularly following the guidelines I provided above.

The lifespan of car tires is not linear. It may change over time.

In general, maintaining your car is important. Another topic I cover here is When should you replace your car battery?

In any doubt, consult a professional and make sure your tires are ready for your next ride.