How Long Are Tires Supposed To Last?
Whether you are a new or used car, motorcycle, truck, RV, or other vehicle owner, it’s a question we need to ask ourselves as a vehicle operator. How long are my tires supposed to last? While most of the tire manufacturers might label their tire with a 50k mile life, as an estimate. There are various factors that determine the life of a tire which makes the answer a bit complicated. But don’t worry, in this article, you will get a good idea about the causes of tire wear and what to look for.
Some of the most important factors to be considered while evaluating tire life expectancy include:
Different tires have different treadwear ratings. A higher treadwear rating means the tire will generally last longer. When comparing the treadwear ratings it is recommended to compare Treadwear grades on tires from the same manufacturer.
Softer rubber provides a better grip on the road. But the drawback is that these soft rubber tires wear at a faster rate. The tire rubber composition is decided based on the usage condition of the tire. High-performance tires wear out faster than an all-season tire.
A smoothly paved road causes less wear to the tire tread than gravel and dirt roads. If you use an all-season tire in an off-road condition then it will drastically reduce the tire's expected life. For the same reason (among others), off-road tires have thick tread and wider groves to withstand harsh terrains.
Fast starts and stops create more friction and heat at the contact patch and therefore cause faster tread wear. This issue is more prevalent now with electric vehicles that possess a high amount of torque. Smooth pressure on the brake and gas pedal results in uniform acceleration and helps in increasing the life of the tire.
A tire experiences more tangential force and friction while pulling the vehicle uphill. Going downhill the tangential force decreases. Uneven terrain accelerates the tire wear process.
Most economy passenger cars are front-wheel drive. That means the power from the engine is directed to only front tires. This causes the front tires to wear faster than the rear tires. This is the reason it is advised to rotate the tires every 6 to 8k miles. Swapping the front tires with the rear tires creates more uniform tread wear. It is the opposite with rear-wheel drive vehicles. All-wheel drive and automatic power distributed vehicles might show more uniform tread wear and might not require tire rotation that often, except perhaps from the driver’s side to the passenger’s (if the tread is asymmetrical). It is therefore recommended to get the tire visually checked by the tire technician every month for clear answers. To avoid a hassle, install the Cerebrum Sensor smart tire sensor to check intelligent analytics that updates all the tire-related issues in a mobile application.
Most of the tire manufacturer’s warranty expires at 6 years. Wondering why? This is not an arbitrary number. Tires lose their performance capabilities and their structural integrity starts to degrade after the 6-year mark. Tires are manufactured with anti-aging properties called antioxidants that help the tire to stay soft and grippy. With time, the air still permeates the tire rubber walls and results in the oxidation process that causes the tire to lose strength and becomes brittle. Also known as Dry Rotting. Another factor for tire aging is exposure to heat. Research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that tires age faster when exposed to the warm climate and under direct exposure to sunlight. This accelerates the oxidation process and makes tires brittle.
Now you know about all the important factors that are responsible for reducing the tire life expectancy but the tire loses rubber even at the most ideal conditions. The legal limit for minimum tread depth is 2/32 of an inch. This doesn't mean tires are perfectly safe if they have 3/32 of an inch left. This is simply a legal limit at which you won’t pass the tire safety inspection. Based on the average yearly mileage of 12k miles for American drivers, the tread may wear down to 3/32 of an inch in 3 to 4 years.
How To Extend The Tire Life?
- Keep tires properly inflated at the recommended pressure. Use the Cerebrum sensor mobile application to keep track of the tire pressure and check the recommended pressure for your specific tires in the tire settings screen.
- Rotate your tires every 6 to 8k miles to keep tread wear even and avoid excessive wear on the drivetrain tires. Use the tread depth measure feature of the Smart Cerebrum Sensor in your tires to automatically measure the tread as you drive.
- Get the alignment check and tire balanced as specified in the owner’s manual or when you experience vibrations or odd shaking from the tire. Cerebrum Sensor mobile application gives notifications for such abnormal behavior from the tires.
- Start and stop gradually and build good driving habits. Use the intelligent sensing technology of Cerebrum Tire Sensor to help you achieve this goal.