If you are reading this guide, either you or your family member serve the United States military. First things first: Thank you for your service…
Your tires are literally where “the rubber meets the road.” The tires you ride on affect the quality of the drive, the safety of everyone in the vehicle, the gas mileage of the engine, and even the aesthetics of the exterior. To call them important is an understatement.
Tires also go through more use and abuse than most parts of a car. Every mile leaves them a little bit worse for the wear. Eventually, the features of the tire that made it attractive in the first place start to become a liability. The tread begins to wear down, which can compromise the driving experience and give you less grip on the road. Anywhere the rubber becomes thin makes flat tires a risk as well. Important as tires may be, they become a liability after a certain point.
Which is why you need to monitor your tires for signs of age and damage and replace them as soon as issues appear. This is your guide to make sure you purchase the right tires before your current tires give out.
How Long Do Tires Last?
The short answer is around 6 years or 50,000 miles of travel. Past that point, tires become less reliable, and any tires older than 10 years need immediate replacement. The longer but more accurate answer to the question of how long do tires last is that it depends on how you drive.
Harsh driving such as accelerating quickly and breaking suddenly – will wear your tires down faster. So will exposure to harsh weather, including extreme heat and sand or cold and ice. If you drive infrequently, sitting idle in the same spot could create weak points in the tires. Likewise for driving on rough terrain, even for a short period of time. The make and model of car play a role, along with the make and model of the tires themselves. For all these reasons, it’s hard to make universal statements about how long tires last – some will last longer than 6 years, others will need replacement much sooner.
Instead of relying on a schedule to tell you when to replace your tires, track their condition yourself. Notice if your car feels or drives differently – tire issues could be to blame. Take the time to visibly inspect the tires as well. Watch for evidence that they’re losing air faster than normal. Most important, check the amount of tread remaining. Here’s a simple test: place a penny with Lincoln’s head facing down into the treads of a tire. If you can see the top of his head, it’s because there’s very little tread left to cover the penny. You need new tires.
What Kind of Tires Do I Need?
That question has two answers. One, you need the kind of tires recommended for your vehicle by the manufacturer. Basically, that means you need the right size of tire to fit your car. We will cover how to ensure you get the right size in the next section. The second answer to the question of what kind of tires do I need is whatever kind offers the performance you’re looking for. The tire market is full of options that will fit your vehicle. Some offer sporty performance, others upgrade your handling on slick roads, and then there’s the tires that simply look cool. It’s up to you to decide what you want – and important to spend some time on the decision. Most people choose tires based on cost or else they replace their tires with whatever they had before. But as we outlined earlier, your tires have a big impact on your overall driving experience for good or bad. It’s worthwhile to spend some time (and possibly some money) to get tires that suit your real-world driving needs.
How to Choose Tire Size
Picking the right size tire is the most important part of the replacement process. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy. Even effortless. You will probably go to a mechanic or tire shop to purchase and mount your new tires. They can look up exactly what size tires your make and model needs. You could also look in your owner’s manual. One final place to look is on the tire itself. At several places on the side of the tire you will find a number that looks something like “255/60 R16.” The figures might be different, but they will look much the same. They indicate the size of the tire if you ever need to reference what size you currently have. When possible, leave it up to a professional to tell you how to choose tire size.
How to Avoid Premature Replacement
Tires are expensive and getting them replaced is a hassle. It’s the kind of automotive maintenance that you want to put off for as long as possible. Understandable. Give yourself as much time as you can by keeping your current tires in good condition. With a few strategic steps, you can avoid unnecessary wear and tear and prevent common types of damage. Here are some tips:
- Watch Your Tire Pressure – Underinflated tires can throw off your handling, reduce your gas mileage, and cause extra wear to the surface of the rubber. Check the air pressure in your tires once a month, and visually inspect the tires regularly to see if they look flat. Check the side of your tire to learn the correct PSI to inflate to.
- Get Your Tires Rotated – Your four tires will not wear evenly – some wear faster than others. Keep that from leading to a tire failure by rotating your tires every 5,000 miles. Some people get their tires rotated every time they have their oil changed.
- Have the Wheels Balanced – An unbalanced wheel (where the heavy spot of the wheel isn’t balanced properly) can also lead to uneven, unnecessary wear on the tires. The best policy is to have your wheels balanced by a mechanic every time you have them rotated.
- Fix Any Alignment Issues – Your car is out of alignment when the wheels toe in or out rather than riding in a straight line. Alignment issues can make your vehicle pull to one side and cause rapid wear on your tires. If you notice an alignment issue, get your car to a mechanic soon. Otherwise, have a mechanic check the alignment every six months.
- Keep Your Car Off the Road – Long road trips are hard on your tires. Instead of subtracting hundreds or thousands of miles from the life of the tires (and spending hours or days of your time behind the wheel), consider auto shipping instead. Your car, truck, van, SUV, or collector auto rides on the back of a vehicle trailer or inside an enclosed trailer. It moves between any points in the continental US without putting your tires through the stress of travel, not to mention the work it spares your engine and every other aspect of the auto.
Direct Express Auto Transport – Making Auto Shipping Easy
Curious how much it would cost to ship a vehicle? Use our car shipping quote calculator. In moments, you can get a list of vehicle haulers headed along your desired route, plus their rates and scheduling availability. It couldn’t be easier to explore and take advantage of auto shipping. Feel free to contact us with your questions.