How Often Should You Replace Your Car Tires? (Expert Advice)

No one wants to travel with worn or old tires since these broken parts may dangerously result in flat tires or blow out. Yet, not many people know when they should change their automobile tires. 

So how often should you replace your car tires? Don’t worry. We have got some tricks that can help you detect when to change your tires at home. Check out our article to find the ultimate answers alongside other helpful information about tire replacement. 

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How Often Should You Change Your Tires?

Although the timing of your tire replacement may vary depending on numerous factors such as tread depth, manufacture date, or mileage, experts advise replacing your tires after six years at least.

At that time, those tires had already survived through pretty much rough road surfaces or heavy breaking. Consequently, even though they appear undamaged, the rubber has become too dry or contained some invisible cracks. It may eventually lead to an undesirable flat tire or blowout. Thus, you should consider changing these when the time comes. 

Nevertheless, aside from the time, there are several more indicators that can tell you when to invest in a replacement. So keep reading to figure out!  

Why You Should Replace Your Tires

As a matter of fact, car manufacturers have constantly innovated new technologies and utilized some best materials to develop their cars. Hence, tires you have seen nowadays are much better in quality in comparison to the past. Yet, over time, through several journeys, your tires may well lose their best performance. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2016 demonstrated that, on average, there were over 11,000 car crashes due to weak tires every year. Sadly, they also estimated that almost two hundred people died from these accidents. 

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Indeed, keeping worn-out or old tires means that you have put many people’s lives at risk. So here are various situations where you may trade off the safety for a few savings on car maintenance. 

  • Blowouts: Overinflated or underinflated tires sometimes cause sudden blowouts. As a result, you may well lose control of the car and eventually crash into some other objects on the road. 
  • Difficult stopping: Worn-down tread of old car tires may impair your brake efficiency. 
  • Compromised road grip: While good grips are of great importance in vehicle control, old tires can deliver you only weak grips. They are not suitable for traveling on ice-covered or snow-covered roads. 
  • Potential fire hazard: When an underinflated tire contacts the wheel, there can be some unwanted rubbing between these two. The rubbing may cause excess heat, consequently inflicting a fire hazard.  

Without a doubt, you would never want to face such horrible situations. Therefore, you should not procrastinate when it comes to tire replacement. This maintenance activity is essential to protect your beloved people and you from possible dangers in the future. 

What Factors Can Cause Damage to the Tires?

While there are tons of tire damage causes, some of the most common ones include lack of basic tire maintenance, potholes and curbs, bad alignment, sudden acceleration, and climate conditions. 

Lack of basic tire maintenance

Tires in different positions confront different issues, eventually wearing unevenly. For example, when the front tires bump into curbs, you will be cautious and try your best to minimize the damage on the back tires. Thus, the back ones usually experience less excessive wear and tear compared to the front ones. 

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This is why tire rotation becomes essential. Switching the front tires to the back ensures that all tires are exposed to similar threats on the road, thus wearing off evenly. Usually, your mechanic knows when to rotate your tire and which position he should place your tire into. 

Besides tire rotation, these experts will help you examine the air pressures, alignment, and visible wear. Thus, don’t forget to visit the car repair and maintenance shop after few months. Your car tires may suffer from less damage if you take good care of them. 

Potholes, curbs

Even when you check your tires regularly, it does not mean they can refrain from damage caused by potholes or curbs. After a tire hits potholes, these unwanted incidents may cause it to wear unevenly, bend the rim, or encounter air leaks. 

Also, bumping into curbs can harm the sidewall’s integrity. When the integrity is compromised, the sidewall experiences more pressure. Also, its strength may be drastically decreased. As a result, these would all impressively change how the tires ride and threaten the tires’ integrity.  

Bad alignment

While wheel alignment is critical, obstacles, potholes, or curbs can significantly ruin this alignment. If you travel in a misaligned vehicle, you will not notice any fundamental issues. Yet, when the front tires are not parallel with the steering wheel, they suffer from increased wear and tear.    

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Sudden acceleration

If you habitually press the car’s acceleration excessively to reach a high speed, then slam the brake pedal suddenly to slow down, you tend to do more harm than good to your tire. Since they stimulate the friction between the road and the tire, excessive acceleration and braking can cause severe damage to the tire tread. 

Climate conditions

The outside temperature has impressive impacts on your tire conditions. For example, frigid weather reduces the tire’s durability and performance. Under the below-freezing temperature, the tires may lose traction, stiffen, or deflate. Besides, when the rubber gets stiff, it loses its natural elasticity, thus easily tearing apart. On the other hand, excessive heat from sweltering weather conditions increases the air pressure, leading the tires to pop or wear prematurely. 

Tire design

Each manufacturer has built their tires to last within a specific amount of time. Some may endure more than 70,000 miles, while others need replacement after around 30,000 miles.

4 Signs That Your Tires Need to Be Replaced

Only mechanics who have the required expertise can properly tell whether you should replace your tires or not. However, some signs reasonably reflect your car tire conditions. Understanding these signs will help you to plan for car check-ups before it becomes too late.

Tire warning light 

If you purchased a 2008 or later model, there is a high possibility that the manufacturer has equipped your car with a low tire pressure warning light system. Unfortunately, whenever this little U-shaped indicator appears on your car monitor’s screen, the tire pressure has sunk way under the manufacturer’s recommendation. Since low pressure can result from some other issues in your tires, you should blow them up and take your car to the mechanics for further investigation.   

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Vibration

While driving, if you feel severe vibrations in the wheel, it may imply some tires’ unusual problems. For example, poor alignments or damaged suspension may lead to such serious vibration. Therefore, you should detect these issues early to ensure safety on the road. 

Cracks

When you come across any crack, hole, or some stones embedded in your tires, do not ignore them. Cracked tires are not safe for use since these cracks may result in slow tire leaks. Moreover, as the tire integrity worsens, there is the likelihood that it may blow out someday. A blowout can make it hard to control your automobile or cause you a total loss of vehicle control, which is pretty dangerous. 

Tread depth 

The last warning signal of a poor car tire is the tread depth. Tread is the rubber part of the tire that makes contact with the roads. Eventually, the more you travel in your car, the more the tread will wear down. 

The typical tread depth of a new tire is around 8 to 9 millimeters (equal to around 9/32 to 11/32 inches). When the tread depth reaches below 1.6 millimeters (2/32 inches), you definitely should consider replacing your tires soon. 

A tire with a low tread depth can have negative impacts on the braking distance and vehicle control. Also, it lacks grip. Thus, it is recommended that you examine check your tread depth utilizing the penny or quarter test. This would help you determine whether these tires need replacement. 

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When Should You Replace Your Tires?

If you encounter some of the abovementioned warning signs, it may be a good time to replace your car tires. 

In addition to tire wear, you should also consider tire age. According to professionals in the automobile industry, it is wise to plan your tire replacement after six or ten years of purchase. Although you cannot witness any crack or damage on the tire, at this point, the rubber may reach its limit already. Thus, the tire no longer can perform as well as it used to.   

Nonetheless, it would be better if you sought advice from experts, such as mechanics. They can know for sure when it is necessary to change your tires. 

How To Select New Tires For Replacement

Whereas numerous people go to the car manufacturer for a direct replacement tire, many others decide to look at some other models and switch to the one that can fulfill their needs. If you prefer selecting new tires on their own, here is a guide on choosing your future tires. 

Step 1: Choose the right size for your vehicle 

Refer to the placard on the driver’s door or your car manual to identify the exact fit tire measurements. For example, your automobile appears to go well with P195/55 R16 87V tires. In this label, the “P195/55 R16” part indicates the width and diameter of your tires. Meanwhile, the number 87 reflects how much weight your tire typically supports, usually called the load index. Finally, the letter “V” refers to which maximum speed your tire can reach according to the load index. 

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Remember one critical rule: Your new tire should share the exact size measurements as your old tire, but you can adjust the load index and speed rating based on your preferences. So bear in mind your tire width and diameters. You need those numbers to find the most suitable car tires! 

Step 2: Consider the type of tire you need

Now that you have become aware of your tire size, it is time to consider some characteristics that may satisfy you the most. First, you should take into consideration the worst and the typical driving conditions that you encounter. Then, refer to the table below. We have listed out all the common types and their characteristics. You may come across the ideal tire type to select here. 

No Tire Name Speed ratings Characteristics Note
1 All-season tires S, T speed rating
  • Famous for its long mileage and all-weather grips
  • Fit to mainstream cars and SUVs
2 Performance all-season tires H, V speed rating
  • Provide with better cornering grip
  • Wear off faster compared to all-season tires
3 Ultra-high-performance all season ZR, W, Y speed rating
  • Ideally used for performance sedans and sport cars
  • Have an M&S (Mud & Snow) designation on the sidewall
4 Summer tires ZR, W, Y speed rating
  • Don’t have any cold-weather traction
  • Present you with impressive performance capabilities 
5 All-terrain truck tires
  • Come in large sizes
  • Serve light-duty pickup trucks and SUVs
  • Effectively support off-road traction as these tires’ tread patterns are pretty aggressive  
Have the “A/T” or “All Terrain” mark in the model name
6 Winter/snow tires
  • Their treads contain a lot of sipes
  • Have a mountain and snowflake symbol 
  • Designed for winter use
  • Should be purchased in a set of four

 

Now that you know which tires can serve your driving habit the most, it all comes down to your budget and the available option. Make a wise investment so that these tires can bring you good value! 

How Tires Are Rated: The Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards (UTQG)

The NHTSA has evaluated over 2,000 tires based on the Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards (UTQG). These grading standards take into consideration three main factors, including temperature, treadwear, traction. 

  • Temperature: This illustrates how tires resist heat. The highest rating for this characteristic is A, while C is the lowest one. 
  • Treadwear: Car tires go through a specific test to receive this grade. The higher the grade is, the longer the tire can wear. Yet, in reality, you should pay attention to road conditions and driving styles. These have particular impacts on treadwear. 
  • Traction: The rating scales from C, B, A to AA. AA is the best rating. This depicts how well the tires stop on a variety of surfaces. 

You definitely can check out the tires’ grading before making the final decision.

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New Vs Second-Hand Tires

Even when second-hand tires can save you a significant amount of money, it is not worth the price in the long run. Principally, since you cannot always identify all the damages with bare eyes, the second-hand tires offered may not be as good in quality as the dealers say. Also, after replacing your worn tires with a different old tire, you can still encounter some potential risks, such as blowouts and dangerous skidding. Thus, it may not be wise to initiate such an investment. 

Replacing Spare Tires

Although you have never used them, spare tires lose their qualities after a certain time, especially if they are not stored appropriately. Years after the production date, the rubber of these spare tires gradually degrades, leading to some tiny cracks and cuts. Moreover, over time, these tires no longer can maintain their initial flexibility and road grip. Besides, their structural integrity is impaired.  

Hence, when replacing your current tires, do not forget to ask the mechanics to check the spare tires’ conditions. If they cannot retain sufficient quality, you should consider buying some new ones.

FAQs For Tire Replacement

Which tires wear out first?

The two front tires face several more threats, such as steering, acceleration, and braking, compared to the rear ones. As a result, in theory, these tires are usually the first on to wear out. Yet, if you perform proper car maintenance, all four tires should go through tire rotation. Thus, in reality, all four tires may have the same tread wear. 

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Why do tires need to be rotated?

If you always leave the fixed set of two tires on the front, they may lose their integrity and quality much faster than the other two at the back after bumps, curbs, and acceleration. Thus, tire rotation proves to be pretty essential because it ensures even treadwear among the tires. 

How often should tires be rotated?

Experts have estimated that tire rotation should occur every six months or after around 6,000 to 8,000 miles of driving. Some people share a trick: Whenever you make an oil change, it can be a good time to rotate your tires. Nevertheless, it would be valuable if you referred to the manual. Manufacturers usually leave some guidance or detailed recommendations for the particular model they produce. 

How long do tires last?

This is a tough question. There are so many factors that affect tire durability. But, generally, you can be assured since most modern car tires are built to last for at least three or five years. Sometimes, you can also have a look at the mileage you have traveled. In several cases, after approximately 12,000 or 30,000 miles, the tires are not so suitable for further usage.

What can you do to make your tires last longer?

There are three main tips that you should bear in mind to prolong your tire’s life span: 

  • Regularly conduct car maintenance at a professional car repair shop 
  • Rotate your car tires after 6,000 or 8,000 miles
  • Investigate the tires’ alignment at least twice a year
  • Carefully inspect your car treadwear when necessary 

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What do you do after getting new tires?

After installing new tires, you may need some time to get used to these new feelings. Since they are in their best condition, these new tires may bring about some unusual driving experiences. Moreover, if you decide to switch the tire categories, for example, from an all-weather to an all-terrain tire, this change will likely present you with more roughness, noise, or fuel consumption. Yet, be patient! You will soon enjoy these unexpectedly impressive improvements. 

Is it ok to have different brand tires? Do they need to be replaced in pairs?

It would be best to have all tires belong to the same brand. Yet, you can install different brand tires as long as these two tires share some similarities in performance features with the old ones. Don’t mix up two touring tires with two ultra-high-performance tires. 

Besides, experts warn against replacing only one tire at a time. This can be detrimental to your car performance.

Do all four tires have to be of the same brand?

As long as you ensure that all the tires have the same size and closely matched internal construction, it is feasible to install tires from different brands. 

Do you have to replace the tires with the same brand that the vehicle initially had?

You can utilize various brand tires in your car, not just the default one. Still, pay some more attention to the tire size and performance features so that you can make sure the tires from different brands go well together. 

Is the penny test for tires accurate?

This penny test is pretty reliable. You can take advantage of this small test to know when to replace your tire. 

Just put a penny in the grooves on your tires. If the tires cover the top of Lincoln’s head, it is safe to use. If not, you should replace them soon. 

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Final Thoughts

We hope that with the detailed explanation above, you can get a concrete answer to the question “How often should you replace your car tires.” In short, tire replacement usually takes place after six or ten years, depending on your usage. Yet, don’t forget to carry out essential maintenance regularly. These would help your tires extend their life spans.