Tires don’t last forever and there is no way to tell exactly how long a tire will last. The lifespan depends on a number of factors including driving habits, tire care, tire design, climate, and road conditions.
The two main reasons for buying new tires are tire wear and tire damage. There are ways to diagnose the health of your tires yourself, but you should also get your tire thoroughly inspected by a professional at least once per year after five years of use.
Another reason to buy new tires is that some vehicles require seasonal tires and need to change them to match the season. Lastly, you may also buy new tires simply to upsize your tires. Some performance-minded drivers do this for improved traction or just cosmetics and to make a car look more sporty. Upsizing tires can offer better handling when done properly.
Proper care plays an important role in extending a tire’s lifespan. Maintain correct air pressure, perform regular tire rotations and carry out regular vehicle maintenance to increase your tire's longevity. Though the lifespan and mileage of tires vary, it is recommended to consider changing your tires at least every 6 years regardless of use. 10 years is considered the maximum service life for tires. You can also check your owner's manual for specific recommendations related to your car.
Once you’ve decided that you need new tires, selecting the right tires for your needs and budget can seem like a confusing and difficult task. We’ve put together some information to help simplify the process for you.
Number of tires: If you need to replace just one tire due to damage or uneven wear, you should replace it with a similar brand, series, speed rating and load capacity to your three remaining tires. When replacing two tires, these can be of similar or better quality and should always go on the rear of the vehicle. Lastly, purchasing all new tires opens you up to a much wider range of options.
Tire size: If you’re replacing your tires with the same size as before, there are several ways to determine your tire size. You can check the sidewall of the tire itself. Alternatively, the information would be available in your vehicle’s owner’s manual and on the vehicle’s tire placard. When going for a different size, tires with a lower profile improve stability and handling of the vehicle. Plus-sizing your tires improves tire response and handling. Upsizing, or selecting a larger tire, is common among SUV and truck owners. Taller and wider tires improve performance and ride quality. On trucks, larger tires can improve traction, load carrying capacity and appearance.
Driving conditions: What, where and how you drive affects the type of tire you need for your vehicle. Most people purchase all-season tires for acceptable performance and traction across the range of possible driving conditions in all four seasons. Performance enthusiasts often use seasonal tires for better handling and traction, using winter tires during snow and summer or dry type designs the rest of the year. For pickups and SUVs, you should consider purpose-built tire design to match your driving needs, ranging from HT (highway tread) to AP (all-purpose) to AT (all-terrain) to MT (mud terrain) in order of aggressive tread design. Highway ride quality diminishes as the tread design becomes more aggressive.
Performance and speed ratings: When comparing tires within a brand, you can use the UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grading) ratings (treadwear grade) to calculate value and compare them by price. Traction and temperature ratings are standardized and can be used to compare tires between brands. The speed rating corresponds directly to a tire’s handling response and speed capacity. We recommend always replacing tires with those possessing the same or a higher speed rating to safely achieve the speeds your vehicle was designed for.
5 questions to ask your dealer: Finally, you should not forget about a very useful resource available to you when buying tires. Instead of feeling intimidated by the tire buying process, ask your dealer any questions you may have, including the following:
- Are my current tires the best tires for my vehicle?
- What are the best tires that match my driving habits and my price?
- Can you give me a pricing tier of my tire type with three choices?
- What is the mileage warranty (if any) of my new tires?
- Is the tire manufacturer highly reputable?