How long tires last depends on much more than just quality. Here are some expert tips to maximize the life expectancy of your car’s tires.
Who’s driving the car, where and how?
Ask your mechanic and he’ll tell you… tire wear largely depends on how a car is driven.
- Take note if your vehicle is used by the whole family and you find yourself purchasing new tires too frequently. That suggests at least one person in the family drives with a heavy foot, takes curves a little too quickly, or perhaps brakes at the last moment.
What else wears down a tire?
Bad driving aside, the wear on your tires also depends on your driving environment.
- In the city and suburbs, there are traffic lights and stop signs at every intersection, not to mention traffic jams.
- In the countryside, traffic moves more fluidly. Just keep in mind that gravel roads are not to be taken lightly.
Beyond road conditions, other factors include:
- Total mileage put on tires and the severity of the seasons.
- Air pressure, whether overinflated or underinflated, also impacts the wear and tear of tires. Check the tire pressure each month, in summer and winter.
- Improper wheel alignment can also unevenly wear out tires. Have the alignment adjusted yearly.
The typical lifespan of a tire
Under normal conditions, an average tire should be changed about every 30,000 km.
- To prolong the life of your tires, a rotation is recommended every 5,000 to 8,000 km.
- To help you remember, try integrating the rotation of your tires with your regular oil change (every second oil change) schedule. Or if you live in a province where winter tires are required by law, have them rotated with the change of season.
There is a manufacturer’s date on each of the tires (often on the inside of the tire).
- Never buy a tire that dates back more than six years. Why? The rubber will have hardened and this considerably reduces its lifespan.
- Don’t forget to regularly check the age and condition of the spare tire!
What is a bald tire?
This expression means the tread pattern is so worn-out that it is nonexistent and provides zero traction on the road.
- Bald tires can be very dangerous so get rid of them at once.
- The minimum tread depth of a usable tire is 1.6 mm – anything less is too shallow.
There are a wide range of guarantees when it comes to tires. Some manufacturers guarantee the lifespan of their tires for up to 130,000 km, but this varies a lot and is typically much lower.
- If your tires wear out before the guaranteed mileage mark and you want to take advantage of a free replacement, you need to prove that the wear on the tires is even and normal.
- You will also need to prove that you’ve taken all the preventive maintenance measures indicated by the manufacturer, such as proper storage, rotation, wheel alignment and more.
While bad roads and weather are not under your control, how you drive and the condition of you car tires are: common-sense driving and regular maintenance will mean longer lasting tires and less money spent on fuel.