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How To Make Tires Last Longer

You may be purchasing some new tires and wondering why did your old tires not last long. Neglected tires wear faster. Most drivers don’t give their tires the attention they need to ensure they last as long as they possibly can.

How To Make Tires Last Longer

Proper maintenance and driving habits will do the most to make sure your tires last longer:

  • Drive Conservatively
  • Check Tire Pressure Monthly
  • Rotate Tires Every 5,000 Miles
  • Rebalance & Align Tires Every 10,000 Miles
  • Inspect For Damage Regularly

Driving style and proper maintenance is done regularly and consistently is important.

Let’s take a closer look.

Drive Conservatively

Your tires are going to wear out quicker when they’re used aggressively. Braking too hard, driving too fast, taking corners too aggressively, and accelerating too quickly will add extra friction to your tires.

Friction is the main reason why you see tread wear out in the first place. Any time you hear your tires squealing while you’re driving is an auditory sign that you’re driving too aggressively.

A good way to preserve your tires and make them last longer is to commit to driving conservatively. You should gently press your pedals in a controlled manner in order to maximize the life of your tires.

Check Tire Pressure Monthly

If your tires are overinflated or underinflated, the tread won’t make correct contact with the road while you drive. In either of these cases, a common side-effect is uneven tire wear across your tire.

Uneven tire wear will cause you to need to prematurely replace your tires. Incorrect air pressure is a common source of uneven tire wear.

Many assume their Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) will alert them when they need to top up the air pressure. TPMS unfortunately isn’t designed for replacing regularly checking and maintaining your tire pressure. It only alerts when the pressure drops below 25% of recommended levels.

How can you avoid this issue? By checking your tire pressure monthly. Use an air pressure gauge and plug it into the valve stem of your tires. Press the gauge firmly against the valve stem and then remove the gauge. Read the indicator to see what the tire pressure is. Repeat this process 2 more times and then take an average value of all three readings.

Repeat this process for the remaining 3 tires and note the pressure of each tire.

Look in the driver’s door jamb and check for a sticker that lists the manufacturer’s recommended proper tire pressure. It is typically a different pressure for the front and rear axle.

If any of your tires are above or below the recommended values, then you need to adjust the tire pressure. Add air to increase the tire pressure, and push against the valve stem to release air which decreases the tire pressure.

recommended tire pressure sticker in driver's door jam
Tire Information Sticker In Driver’s Door Jamb

Rotate Tires Every 5,000 Miles

Another way to extend the life of your tires is through a regular tire rotation. A tire rotation will help mitigate the potential for uneven wear, and it will stop any issues before they get worse. The direction of your tire rotation will depend on the drivetrain of your vehicle.

If you fail to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles, then the lifespan of all four tires will diminish.

forward cross rotation pattern diagram
Forward Cross Tire Rotation Pattern
rearward cross rotation pattern diagram
Rearward Cross Tire Rotation Pattern

Rebalance And Align Tires Every 10,000 Miles

There is another sector of maintenance that can help you: rebalancing and realigning your tires. This should be done every 10,000 miles, and it’s more involved than a simple rotation. You’ll need to go to a mechanic to utilize their specialized equipment to do a balance or alignment.

Tire Balancing

Your tires need to be perfectly round and rotate smoothly as you drive. They’re held through a central axis, which means that their weight needs to be uniform around the axle.

This is where tire balancing comes in. Tire balancing is the act of adding small weights around your tires to eliminate vibration, ensure uniformity, and create a tire that rotates smoothly.

Without a tire balance, you’ll find low spots and uneven wear across your tires. And if you don’t occasionally rebalance your tires, they will fall out of balance over time as they wear and as potholes and curb strikes create subtle bends and dents in your wheels.

If you feel your car or steering wheel vibrating at highway speeds, it’s a good indicator that your tires aren’t balanced. Even after a balance, it’s possible for the weights to dislodge and revert your tire back to an imbalanced system.

do tires need to be balanced when rotated
Wheel Balancer

Wheel Alignment

The next piece of maintenance is wheel alignment. For the best results, all of your tires need to be parallel and square to one another and the rest of your car.

Wheel alignment is measured through three angles: toe, camber, and caster angles.

Without a proper alignment, your tires will suffer and you could experience performance issues. Over time, you’ll notice uneven tread wear and issues with the tread pattern on your tires. This will force you to replace your tires too early, wasting your time and money.

An alignment problem is the most common source of uneven tire wear. Alignment problems occur over time due to potholes and curb strikes bending and tweaking suspension components.

Having an alignment performed every 10,000 miles will go a long way toward ensuring you get the most tire life possible.

Wheel alignment is usually done by your local tire shop with some sophisticated equipment to help simplify the process and ensure it is measured accurately.

This process can be attempted to be done at home, but we recommend you leave this task to the professionals unless you have some experience.

what is tire alignment
Wheel Alignment Example

Check For Uneven Wear or Damage

Remember to consistently check your tires for any damage or uneven tire wear. If you ignore tire damage for too long, you are risking a tire blowout.

Going too long with uneven wear can lead to unsafe situations and cause you to lose control while driving. The uneven wear can also propagate to your other tires and lead to drivetrain issues.

The bottom line is that checking for tire wear and damage is critical. It should be done at least monthly, and it should definitely be done after hitting a curb or getting in an accident.

does tire rotation cause shaking
Inspect Your Tires Regularly


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

Final Thoughts

To maximize tire life you need to perform regular and consistent preventative tire maintenance. Most of these tasks don’t take long but they often get forgotten.

New tires aren’t cheap so taking the time to have these maintenance tasks performed by your or someone at your local tire shop is important to get the maximum life out of your tires.

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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