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How Long Do Tires Last?

Tire manufacturers try to design tires with excellent performance and long tread life. The balance between performance and tread wear is what ultimately determines how long a tire will last.

How Long Do Tires Last?

Most drivers in America can expect 50,000 to 60,000 miles from a set of tires.

The average American drives 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year. This equates to a range of 3 1/2 to 5 years for the lowest and highest of the averages.

Different types of tires designed for different uses will last various lengths of time. Tire tread depth will wear away more quickly on performance-oriented vehicles, while commuter-oriented vehicles will have tires that last longer.

One of the biggest factors however is proper tire maintenance. Poor tire maintenance practices will accelerate the wear of your tire tread and can dramatically shorten tire life.

Let’s take a closer look.

tire tread life expectancy chart

How Many Miles Should Tires Last?

Most tires on passenger cars and light trucks last 50,000 to 60,000 miles. Often, tire manufacturers offer a mileage guarantee that can give you a good idea of the mileage you can expect from a specific set of tires.

The tire warranty will provide you with a prorated discount on a replacement set if your tire life does not meet the guaranteed mileage. There are requirements that must be met to claim the warranty, however. These requirements vary from tire to tire.

Usually, warranty requirements include the original purchase receipt along with the mileage of your vehicle at the time of purchase, proof of tire rotation within a certain amount of mileage, even tire wear, and no signs of neglect or abuse.

Causes Of Premature Tire Wear

There are many factors that determine the rate of tire wear such as:

Driving Style

An aggressive driving style will obviously shorten tire life. Jackrabbit launches, ABS-inducing stops, and hard cornering will all accelerate wear.

Try to change your driving habits by shifting into granny mode. Probably not the advice you want to hear but the advice you expect.

Vehicle Type

The family truckster will be able to more gingerly get you from point “A” to point “B” without the need to replace tires as frequently.

A Corvette, on the other hand, will chew through a set of shockingly expensive rear tires in a disturbingly short number of miles. Most sports cars with more aggressive suspension geometries will suffer this problem.

Air Pressure

Maintaining proper tire pressure is something many people rely on their tire pressure monitoring system to alert them about. This is a big mistake. 

Tire pressure monitoring systems aren’t designed to help you keep your tires properly inflated. They are designed to warn you when there is a serious problem. Smaller fluctuations in tire pressure can cause uneven wear and shorten tire life.

The tire information sticker in your driver’s door jamb should be your reference for the correct air pressure in your tires and you should be keeping an eye on this once a month.

recommended tire pressure sticker in driver's door jam

Tire Rotation

Regular tire rotation is important for getting the most out of your tires. It’s also often a requirement for maintaining your tire manufacturer’s tire warranty.

Having your tires rotated every 5,000 miles will usually meet or exceed the requirements of most tire manufacturers.

Tire Balance

Having your wheels and tires balanced when you purchase new tires is something that must be done. But wheel and tire assemblies will fall out of balance over time for many reasons. 

Curb strikes, potholes, bent wheels, lost wheel weights, and more can cause imbalances and ultimately cause uneven wear of your tire tread. Even imbalances due to tread wear can happen.

We recommend rotating your tires every 10,000 miles to account for the buildup of wear and tear that causes balance problems over time.

Wheel Alignment

The most common source of uneven tread wear and shortened tire life may be problems with wheel alignment. Just like with wheel and tire balance, wheel alignment will fall out of spec over time due to wear and tear.

The various misalignments that can occur due to incorrect toe, caster, and camber settings can create a wide variety of uneven tire wear patterns.

Like tire balance, we recommend you have your alignment checked every 10,000 miles. This isn’t just good for your tires but your suspension. Worn suspension components are often the cause of alignment problems and having your alignment checked will identify these problems.

Suspension Geometry/Components

How Many Miles Are Left On My Tires?

We can estimate the remaining mileage left on your tires by measuring the tread depth and comparing that to the guaranteed mileage of your tire warranty.

You’ll need a tread depth gauge to get an accurate tread wear measurement. Once you have the current depth and have looked up the guaranteed mileage, you can use those to get a rough estimate of the expected remaining tread life using our tire life calculator.

Tire Life Calculator

How Many Years Should Tires Last?

Tires last approximately 6 years whether they are used or not, if they are not worn out first. This is due to dry rot caused by exposure to the sun and ozone in the atmosphere.

Over time, ultraviolet rays and ozone break down tire rubber and cause the rubber to become brittle and crack. Minor cracking can still be safe for use, but past 6 years of age, tires can suffer enough dry rot to become dangerous to use.

How Long Do Tires Last With Low Mileage?

In general, tires should no longer be used once they have reached 6 years of age. You should have them replaced and purchase new tires for your safety.

You can check for dry rot a discontinue use once they reach the level of major sidewall dry rot.

How Long Do Tires Last If Not Used/In Storage?

It’s possible for tires to last longer if they are kept out of direct sunlight and protected from ozone. Storing tires in airtight tire storage bags and keeping them stored at room temperature, and out of sunlight, can extend their usable life to up to 10 years.

Why Do New Car Tires Wear Out So Fast?

Some vehicle manufacturers will spec tires that use softer rubber compounds which will improve performance and ride quality, but at the cost of tread life.

When shopping for aftermarket tires, you may be looking specifically for tires that will last for more miles usually have a firmer rubber compound, and are more durable.

OEM tires last a reasonable amount of time usually, but maximum tread life isn’t the main factor that vehicle manufacturers use to decide which tires to sell with their cars and trucks.

Why Are My Rear Tires Wearing Out So Fast?

There are many factors that cause tires, in general, to wear more quickly, but most tires on the rear axle of a car or truck that are suffering from premature tire wear are caused by negative camber.

Negative camber is a suspension alignment setting that is desirable for tires on the rear. It creates improved handling and performance, but it comes at the expense of the inside edges of the tires wearing more quickly.

Negative camber is when the tops of your rear wheels tilt inward toward the centerline of your car or truck when viewed from the rear. This causes the rear tires to ride on the inner rear shoulder more and creates more friction and wear at that point.

Sports cars and vehicles designed for improved handling performance will often experience accelerated wear on the rear tires for this reason.

A common cause for excess negative camber on cars and trucks not designed for performance driving characteristics is a sagging suspension due to worn shocks, springs, or bushings.

negative camber

Why Are My Front Tires Wearing Out So Fast?

Excessive toe-in alignment can often be the cause of premature wear on the outer edge of front tires. Toe-in is desirable to promote stability but too much toe-in will cause the outer edges of your tires to wear more quickly.

Aging suspension components can also increase toe in as the suspension sags. When your car or truck sits lower than designed, toe alignment tends to tilt inward more and will naturally increase toe in.

toe in


Below are some links you may find helpful when learning about tires

Final Thoughts

The most important aspect of getting your tires to last as long as possible is tire maintenance. You can also make a tire warranty claim on most tires from most tire manufacturers, although this isn’t always the case.

The average tire will last 50,000 to 60,000 miles but that’s only an average. Many of us are a little more unique and our required tire type and usage can have a significant effect on what we can expect.

Check the documentation your tire manufacturer provided with your tires to ensure you meet the requirements of the mileage guarantee and you can recoup the unused mileage if you find that your tires are wearing out more quickly than expected.

Most tires should be replaced after six years regardless of how much tread depth remains. 

Good luck and happy motoring.

About The Author
Will Creech
Will has been an automotive enthusiast since he was old enough to make engine sounds. Formerly a member of the contract training team at Discount Tire, he is unusually knowledgeable on all things related to tires. He is now the owner of and main contributor to TireGrades.com.
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