Tire replacement is one of the most significant expenses that you'll face during the course of vehicle ownership. So we can understand why you’d want to delay that expense and get the maximum life and value out of your tires.
Being “tire aware” and proactive is the name of the game when it comes to maximizing tire life. Don’t worry – you won't have to think about your tires every waking minute, but it does require awareness and a few simple actions.
Here's how to make your tires last longer:
Ever watch motor racing? Notice how the drivers make pit stops and change tires multiple times per race? Well, if you work your daily commute like it's Sunday at Daytona, then you're going to need new tires sooner, too.
Tires wear – it’s one of those immutable automotive truths. But how fast they wear largely depends on how aggressively you drive. Be measured and controlled with acceleration, braking, and steering to make your tires last longer.
Maintaining the tire pressure(s) specified by your vehicle manufacturer is critical not only to vehicle performance, but also to tire wear. You’ll find tire psi numbers on the information placard located on the driver-side door jamb.
Running too high, or too low tire pressure will result in uneven tire wear. If tire pressure is too high, the center section of the tire experiences accelerated wear. If tire pressure is too low, the shoulders of the tire carry a disproportionate amount of the vehicle load, and therefore experience more wear.
Running the correct tire pressure works to distribute the vehicle load evenly across the tire tread, creating even tread wear.
Uneven tread wear is one of the primary causes of premature tire expiration. Check tire pressure in all tires at least once per month, and adjust as necessary.
Note that significant fluctuations in ambient temperatures (seasonal changes) will affect tire pressure. Most commonly, tire pressure will drop quite significantly with the onset of winter, and regular sub-freezing temperatures. Be sure to check your tire pressure as the seasons change, and temperatures swing.
To learn more, see Knowing your tire pressure.
You'll have to invest a little in service to save a lot, and to help your tires last longer. Tire rotation every 5,000 - 8,000 miles will significantly prolong the life of your tires.
If tires are not rotated and properly maintained, you won’t just lose a few hundred miles from their lifespan – you could lose thousands of miles. In fact, tire life can literally be cut in half if you don’t follow a proper tire rotation schedule. Regular tire rotation also helps to keep your manufacturer’s warranty in good standing.
For more information, see How often should I rotate my tires?
No matter how spot on your tire pressure is, and no matter how easy you are with your driving inputs, all your tire awareness can be meaningless if vehicle alignment isn't right. A misaligned vehicle is a surefire way to create uneven, sometimes terminal tire wear.
If it's been over a year since your last alignment, or if you're thinking to yourself, "alignment…?” – you're probably due. See our alignment article for additional guidance and information.
Think of tires like shoes. The differences in terms of function between snow boots and tennis shoes, or flip-flops and football cleats, is much the same as the functional differences between types of tires. The various types of tires are drastically different in many ways, including expected tire lifespan.
If your goal is to make tires last as long as possible (as opposed to prioritizing maximum tire performance in some context), then you’ll always want to use tires that are engineered with that purpose in mind. Look for a significant treadlife warranty, a high UTQG rating, and long tire life as a selling point/statement of purpose.