How Often Should You Change Your Tires?

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Written by: Mason Cole

How Often Should You Change Your Tires?


The frequency of tire changes is influenced by several factors, including how quickly they wear out, the number of miles they’ve driven, and their age. These variables must all be considered when deciding when to replace your tires​​. Modern tires are generally designed to be replaced every 25,000 to 80,000 miles, with performance-oriented tires (which are softer and for better high speeds) usually needing replacement sooner due to faster degradation​​.

In terms of age, tire manufacturers like Goodyear, Michelin, and Bridgestone recommend replacing tires before they reach six years old, even if their mileage hasn’t hit the limit. This recommendation stems from the fact that tires degrade over time due to exposure to sunlight, pollution, and chemicals. Therefore, even if you don’t drive many miles annually, it’s wise to consider replacing your tires before they wear out due to age​.

Tire Lifespan

Tires are an essential component of your vehicle, and they play a vital role in ensuring your safety while driving. As such, it’s crucial to understand how long tires last and what you can do to prolong their lifespan. In this section, we’ll offer an overview of the average lifespan of tires, discuss factors that can influence this, and provide practical advice for prolonging tire life.

How long do tires last?

The lifespan of a tire depends on several factors, including its type, usage, and maintenance. Typically, most tires last between 25,000 to 50,000 miles before needing replacement. However, this is just a rough estimate and actual lifespan can vary depending on various factors such as:

  • Driving habits: Aggressive driving such as quick starts and stops can cause excessive wear on your tires.
  • Road conditions: Rough roads with potholes or sharp debris can damage your tires quickly.
  • Climate: Extreme temperatures or weather conditions like snow or rain can affect the wear rate of your tires.
  • Type of tire: Different types of tires have varying treadwear ratings which determine how long they will last.

What can you do to make your tires last longer?

Proper maintenance is key to extending the life of your car’s tires. Here are some tips on how to make them last longer:

  1. Regularly check tire pressure and inflate them to the recommended PSI.

Underinflated or overinflated tires can lead to irregular tread wear that shortens their lifespan. Check your car owner’s manual for recommended tire pressure levels and use a reliable pressure gauge when inflating them.

  1. Rotate your tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

Rotating your car’s wheels helps distribute weight evenly across all four wheels leading to even tread wear which extends their life span.

  1. Regularly inspect tires for damage and wear.

Check your tires for any signs of damage, such as punctures, cuts, or bulges. Inspect them for wear patterns like irregular tread wear which can indicate alignment issues.

  1. Drive responsibly to avoid quick starts, stops, and fast turns.

Aggressive driving habits lead to excessive tire wear that shortens their lifespan. Avoid sudden stops and starts and take turns slowly to reduce the impact on your car’s tires.

What do you do after getting new tires?

After buying brand new tires, it’s essential to take proper care of them to ensure they last longer. Here are some steps you should follow:

  1. Inspect the tires for any visible defects.

Before installing your new tires, inspect them carefully for any visible defects like cracks or bulges on the sidewall or tread surface.

  1. Break-in the tires by driving carefully for the first 500 miles.

Newly installed tires require a break-in period where they settle into their optimal shape and size. During this time, drive at moderate speeds and avoid hard braking or accelerating excessively.

  1. Check the tire pressure regularly.

Proper inflation is crucial in ensuring your new tires last longer. Check your tire pressure regularly using a reliable gauge during the first few weeks after installation when they are still settling in.

  1. Schedule a tire rotation

After approximately 5,000 miles of driving with your new set of tires, schedule a tire rotation appointment with a professional mechanic or auto shop near you to ensure even tread wear across all four wheels.

Tire Replacement

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Tire replacement is an essential aspect of maintaining your vehicle’s safety and performance. However, many car owners are unsure about how often they should change their tires. In this article, we’ll discuss the warning signs that your tires may need to be replaced, factors that affect tire lifespan and replacement needs, and how to determine the appropriate frequency for tire replacement.

Signs That Your Tires Need to Be Replaced

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There are several warning signs that indicate it’s time to replace your tires. The most obvious sign is when the tread wears down to 2/32 of an inch or less. This level of wear indicates that the tire has reached the end of its useful life and no longer provides adequate traction on wet or slippery roads.

Another indication that your tires need replacing is if you notice bulges or cracks on the sidewall. Bulges occur when there’s a weak spot in the tire’s structure, which can lead to a blowout while driving. Cracks can result from exposure to UV rays or extreme temperatures and can weaken the tire’s overall integrity.

If you notice any vibration while driving, it could be due to an out-of-balance wheel caused by a damaged tire. In such cases, replacing the worn tire with new ones will help get rid of vibrations.

Factors That Affect Tire Lifespan and Replacement Needs

Various factors can influence the lifespan of your tires and replacement needs. Some of these factors include driving habits, road conditions, tire type, and maintenance.

Driving habits such as speeding or hard braking can cause unnecessary wear on your tires leading to a shorter lifespan. Similarly, driving on rough roads or over potholes can damage the sidewalls resulting in early replacement needs.

Road conditions also play a significant role in determining how long your tires will last. Driving through snow or ice with summer tires can cause them to wear out much quicker than winter-specific ones designed for such conditions.

Tire type is another factor that affects the lifespan of your tires. High-performance summer-only performance-oriented cars require different types of rubber compounds than all-season touring sedans do which means they have different patterns and designs for their treads.

Lastly, proper maintenance is essential to extending the life of your tires. Regular tire pressure checks, rotations, balancing, and alignments are necessary to keep them in good condition.

Tire Rotation

Tire rotation is an essential part of tire maintenance that helps to extend the life of your tires and maintain vehicle safety. In this article, we’ll explain why tire rotation is necessary, how often you should rotate your tires, and what factors can affect the frequency of rotation.

Why do tires need to be rotated?

Tires wear down unevenly due to various factors such as steering, braking, driving style, and wheel drive. The front tires tend to wear out faster than the rear ones because they carry more weight and are responsible for steering and braking. Some vehicles have a specific wheel drive configuration that causes one set of tires to wear out faster than others.

Uneven tire wear leads to reduced traction, poor handling, and compromised safety on the road. By rotating your tires regularly, you can ensure that they wear down evenly and last longer. Rotating your tires also allows you to detect any alignment or suspension issues early before they cause significant damage.

How often should tires be rotated?

The general guideline for tire rotation is every 5,000-7,500 miles or every six months—whichever comes first. However, this recommendation may vary depending on several factors such as:

  • Driving habits: If you frequently drive on rough roads or engage in aggressive driving habits such as speeding and hard braking, you may need to rotate your tires more often.
  • Vehicle type: Different types of vehicles have different weight distributions that can affect tire wear patterns. For instance, sports cars with high-performance tires may require more frequent rotations than standard sedans.
  • Tire pressure: Underinflated or overinflated tires can cause uneven tread wear that may necessitate more frequent rotations.
  • Left rear vs right rear vs left front vs right front: The position of each tire on the car affects its wear pattern due to steering angles and other factors.

To determine how often you should rotate your tires, consult your vehicle owner’s manual or ask a trusted mechanic for advice. They can inspect your tires and recommend a rotation schedule that suits your driving habits and vehicle type.

Tire Ratings: Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards (UTQG)

there are several factors that should be considered. One of the most important is the Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards (UTQG). These standards were established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to provide consumers with a way to compare tires based on three key categories: treadwear, traction, and temperature.


Treadwear ratings are an indication of how long a tire will last before needing replacement. The higher the number, the longer the tire is expected to last. For example, a tire with a treadwear rating of 500 should last twice as long as a tire with a rating of 250.

It’s important to note that treadwear ratings are only useful for comparing tires within the same brand and model line. Different brands and models may have vastly different treadwear ratings due to variations in materials and construction.


Traction ratings indicate how well a tire can grip the road under wet conditions. This is especially important for areas with rainy or snowy weather conditions. Tires with better traction ratings will be less likely to slip or skid on wet roads.

Traction ratings range from AA (the highest) to C (the lowest). A higher rating means better traction performance. However, it’s worth noting that high-traction tires may not always provide optimal fuel efficiency due to increased rolling resistance.


Temperature ratings indicate how well a tire can withstand heat buildup during extended driving periods. This is particularly important for high-performance vehicles or those that frequently travel in hot climates.

Temperature ratings range from A (the highest) to C (the lowest). A higher rating means better heat resistance and less chance of failure due to overheating.

It’s worth noting that UTQG standards are not perfect indicators of overall tire quality. Other factors such as handling, noise level, and ride comfort should also be considered when selecting a tire.

Factors That Can Cause Damage to the Tires

Tires are one of the most important components of a vehicle. They provide traction, stability, and control on different types of road conditions. However, they are also vulnerable to damage caused by various factors. In this section, we’ll outline some common factors that can cause damage to your tires.

Improper Inflation

One of the most common causes of tire damage is improper inflation. When your tires are underinflated or overinflated, they can wear out faster than usual and become more susceptible to punctures and blowouts. Underinflated tires tend to wear out faster on the outer edges while overinflated tires wear out faster in the middle.

To avoid tire damage due to improper inflation, it’s important to check your tire pressure regularly using a tire pressure gauge. You can find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle in the owner’s manual or on a sticker located inside the drivers door jamb. Make sure you inflate your tires according to these specifications.

Poor Alignment

Another factor that can cause tire damage is poor alignment. When your wheels are misaligned, they don’t point in the same direction which results in uneven wear patterns on your tires. This can lead to premature wearing out of your tires and affect their performance.

To prevent tire damage due to poor alignment, it’s essential to get regular wheel alignments from a professional mechanic. A wheel alignment involves adjusting the angles of your wheels so that they point in the right direction as per manufacturer specifications.

Road Hazards

Road hazards such as potholes, debris, and sharp objects can also cause significant damage to your tires. Potholes can cause bulges or bubbles on your sidewall while sharp objects like nails and screws can puncture through them leading to flat tires.

To avoid tire damage due to road hazards, it’s important always be vigilant when driving and avoid potholes, debris, and other road hazards as much as possible. If you can’t avoid them, drive slowly over them to minimize the impact.


Overloading your vehicle beyond its capacity can also cause tire damage. When you exceed the maximum weight limit of your vehicle, it puts extra pressure on your tires which can lead to overheating and premature wearing out.

To prevent tire damage due to overloading, always make sure you don’t exceed your vehicle’s maximum weight limit. You can find this information in the owner’s manual or on a sticker located inside the drivers door jamb.

How Can You Get Your Vehicle’s Tires to Last Longer?

Check Your Tire Pressure Regularly

One of the simplest ways to ensure that your vehicle’s tires last longer is by checking their pressure regularly. Underinflated or overinflated tires can wear out quickly and unevenly, leading to a shorter lifespan. Therefore, it’s essential to check your tire pressure at least once a month or before embarking on long road trips. You can use a tire pressure gauge to measure the pressure accurately and inflate or deflate them accordingly.

Rotate Your Tires

Rotating your tires is another effective way to prolong their lifespan. This involves moving them from one position on your car to another, such as swapping the front left tire with the rear right one. By doing so, you distribute the wear evenly across all four tires, preventing any single tire from wearing out faster than others. Experts recommend rotating your tires every 5,000 miles or six months.

Avoid Overloading Your Vehicle

Overloading your car puts extra stress on its tires, causing them to wear out more quickly than usual. If you frequently carry heavy loads in your vehicle, consider investing in high-quality load-carrying tires designed for heavy-duty applications. These types of tires are built with reinforced sidewalls and treads that can withstand heavier loads without wearing out too soon.

Drive Carefully

Your driving habits also play a crucial role in determining how long your vehicle’s tires last. Aggressive driving behaviors such as hard braking, rapid acceleration, and sharp turns can cause excessive wear on your tires’ treads and sidewalls. To extend their lifespan, drive carefully and avoid sudden stops or starts whenever possible.

Keep Your Wheels Aligned

Misaligned wheels can cause uneven tire wear patterns that shorten their lifespan significantly. Therefore, it’s vital to have your wheels aligned every time you replace or rotate your vehicle’s tires. Proper wheel alignment ensures that your tires make even contact with the road surface, reducing wear and tear.

Is the Penny Test for Tires Accurate?

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The penny test is a popular method used to measure tire tread depth. It involves inserting a penny into the tire’s grooves with Lincoln’s head facing down. If the top of Lincoln’s head is visible, it means that your tires have worn out and need replacement.

While this test may seem simple and straightforward, it has several limitations. For one, it only measures tread depth and does not take into account other factors that affect tire performance, such as age, weather conditions, and driving habits.

Moreover, the penny test only works for measuring shallow tread depths. It cannot accurately measure deeper treads or uneven wear patterns. It may not be suitable for all types of tires since some have different groove patterns than others.

Alternatives to the Penny Test

To get a more accurate measurement of your tire’s condition, you can use alternative methods besides the penny test. One such method is using a dedicated tire gauge that measures tread depth in millimeters or inches.

Another option is using digital calipers to measure the distance between the highest point on your tire’s surface and its deepest groove. This method provides precise measurements and can detect uneven wear patterns that may not be visible to the naked eye.

Furthermore, some newer tires come with built-in wear indicators that display when they need replacement. These indicators are small bars located inside each groove that become visible as your tires wear down.


No, all four tires do not need to be of the same brand. However, using the same brand can ensure consistent performance and handling.

No, you don’t have to replace your vehicle’s tires with the same brand that the vehicle originally had. You can choose any brand that fits your vehicle’s specifications.


Now that you know how often should you change your tires, it’s important to keep in mind the factors that can affect tire lifespan and performance. Regular tire rotations and replacements are necessary to maintain safety on the road. The Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards (UTQG) provide a useful guide for comparing different types of tires.

Factors such as weather conditions, driving habits, and road conditions can all contribute to tire damage and wear. However, there are steps you can take to extend your tire’s lifespan, such as checking air pressure regularly and avoiding overloading your vehicle.

The penny test is a simple way to check if your tires have enough tread depth remaining, but it may not always be accurate. If you’re unsure about the condition of your tires, it’s best to consult a professional mechanic.

In conclusion, keeping up with regular tire maintenance is crucial for staying safe on the road. By following the guidelines outlined in this article and paying attention to warning signs of tire damage or wear, you can help ensure that your vehicle’s tires last as long as possible.

Remember to prioritize safety over cost. Investing in high-quality tires will not only improve your vehicle’s performance but also protect yourself and others on the road.

Stay informed about best practices for maintaining your vehicle’s health by regularly consulting trusted sources like this one.

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