There's no way to know how long your tires will last, at least not in the sense that they "expire" after a certain number of years or miles. The lifespan of your tires is dependent on several items including driving habits, the tire’s design, the climate, road conditions and tire maintenance. All of these are things you need to stay on top of to know when it's time to swap your old tires out for some new ones.
Here are some things to think about when deciding whether it's time to invest in a new set of tires.
How Many Years Do Tires Last?
The length of time that tires last will vary from car to car. A vehicle that is driven only on weekends is going to get more time out of their tires than one that is used for a daily commute. Generally speaking, the maximum lifespan for a tire is about 10 years. It's a good practice to have your tires inspected by a professional after five years of use. You should keep an eye on them yourself in between visits.
What to Look For in an Inspection
If a tire is bulging on the sides and at the bottom, it's likely underinflated either due to normal wear and tear or because something has punctured it and is causing a slow leak. Cracks on the tire indicate dry rot, which is usually seen on aging tires or tires that are not used very often. Gouges can occur from driving over something sharp that cuts into your tire.
Check your tire pressure with a tire gauge to make certain they are inflated to the right PSI. This number for pounds per square inch is on the sidewall of your tires. Tires that are low on pressure will wear out more quickly than properly inflated tires.
Tires that appear cupped or scalloped in appearance have most likely not been rotated as often as they should have been. This can also cause your steering wheel to have vibrations in it while you are driving.
Check for irregular tread wear on your tires. If the wear pattern is uneven, it can be a sign you need your tires realigned or that you have a worn suspension, both of which shorten the life of your tires. A professional auto repair shop should correct these items before you purchase new tires.
How to Check the Tread
The easiest way to check the tread on your tires to determine if they need replacing is by using the so-called “penny test.” Place a penny with President Lincoln facing you with his head down inside your tread. If the top of his head is visible, you need new tires. If the hair on his head is partially visible, you will need new tires soon. If the tread is as deep as Abe's forehead, your tires still have some life in them.
Don't forget to examine the tread wear bars on your tires. These are the small bridges between the treads on your tires. When the bars become visible and are level with the tire’s tread, it is time for new tires.
How to Extend the Life of Your Tires
Tires will eventually wear down just from normal usage and age. However, there are a few things you can do to keep them in great shape a bit longer. Try to avoid potholes, curbs, obstacles in the road and sharp objects, and always slow down for speed bumps.
Driving through oil, grease and chemicals can wear your tires, and so can parking in direct sunlight on a daily basis. Another helpful tip: do your best to avoiding speeding, using the emergency brake, quick starts and driving on damaged roads.
Practicing regular tire maintenance is another great way to get more life out of your tires. Check the air pressure and wear or damage to tires, and have a professional auto repair technician examine any damage to them. Routine alignments and rotations also extend the lifespan of your tires.
Concierge Auto Repair is a comprehensive auto repair and maintenance shop in Spring, Texas, that strives to keep all of our customers safe on the road. Call to schedule an appointment to have our experts on luxury cars check your tires for you!