For many drivers, the first line of defense out on the open road is ensuring your tires are in tip-top condition because where the rubber meets the road is the start of a safe journey. Understanding the basics of how long tires last, recognizing the warning signs of a dangerous tire, and knowing about maintenance and repair is critical for a safe ride.
The Signs of a Well-Worn Tire
All too often, people drive with little regard to the condition of their tires. That being said, nothing enhances your safety more than quickly checking each tire's condition. Specifically, keep your eyes open for any of the following signs:
- Treadwear — most modern tires are equipped with wear bars, which are bits of rubber woven into the tires pattern, and they indicate the amount of wear the tire can safely bear. Once the tire tread meets the cross-hatching of the wear bar, it is time to replace the tire.
- Bulges, cracks, and gouges — cracks or gouges in the sidewall of your tire can indicate that something is seriously amiss with your tire, and it is recommended that you have a professional look at the problem as soon as possible.
- Thumping and Vibrations — those thumping noises and vibrations you hear and feel can be signs that your tires are in trouble. If the problem seems to stem from under the seats, the rear tires need balancing, and issues felt near the steering wheel column could be a suspension issue. Either way, those
noisesand vibrations deserve attention.
Nothing lasts forever, and that includes the tires on your car or truck. So, how long do tires last?
How Far Can You Go?
Just driving takes a toll on your tires, whether you pay attention to it or not. If you drive the industry standard norm of 12,000 to 15,000 miles a year, you can expect properly maintained tires to last for three to four years. In these instances, tire failure comes from tread wear long before the rubber compound of the tire itself begins to break down. For those who park their vehicles more days out of the year than they drive them, watch out for aging tires.
Tire Maintenance Tips
Visually inspecting, checking tire pressure, and staying aware of the current state of your tread will go a long way in keeping you safe out on the road. Additionally, rotating your tires twice a year will provide even wear across the lifespan of your tires. How long do tires last? Not forever, but with proper maintenance, you can easily extend the life of your tires.