So How Long Should I Expect My Tires to Last?

Your tires are the only thing on your car touching the road, so ensuring they are up to the task is incredibly important.

Close up road view of a tire on the passenger side of moving car while traveling on a bridge

Consider the tires that are currently on your vehicle. How old are the tires? How worn are they?  How long will your tires last? As important as your tires are, it helps to know a little bit more about them.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average American drives 13,476 miles every year - that’s over 1,100 miles a month! Goodyear offers select replacement tires, which include treadwear wear-out warranties for up to six (6) years, or the mileage indicated (shown at the Tread Life Limited Warranty webpage), or whichever occurs first. Keep in mind that a tire’s warranty begins on the purchase date and not on the date the tire was manufactured.

Most tires last until the tread wears out under proper maintenance and service conditions and come out of service for normal wear-out or typical service conditions after 3 to 4 years of typical driving and service.  Keep in mind, this is typical wear on properly inflated tires, on a properly aligned car, driven under normal driving conditions. If the alignment on your car isn’t to the factory standards, or your tires are underinflated, the tire tread can wear abnormally. And, if you drive your car aggressively, the tread can wear away more quickly. Learn more signs for tire replacement and tips on when to replace your tires.

Using the Penny Test to Check Your Tread Depth

Tread wear can easily be checked with coins in your pockets. Take a penny and hold President Lincoln’s head upside down. Stick the penny in one of the primary tread grooves. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you have less than two thirty-seconds of an inch (2/32”) of tread. Also, your tires have wear indicators - these wear indicators are located at several places around the circumference of your tires and rise 2/32 inch from the bottom of the groove.  When the tread has worn down to the 2/32-inch level, these indicators become flush with the tread surface and appear as a smooth bridge connecting the two adjacent tread ribs. And remember you can always visit a Goodyear Authorized Service Center to have your tire treadwear and inflation pressure checked.

Checking tread depth penny test

If you don’t drive enough miles to wear the tread down, it might still be time to replace the tires. Remember, rubber used in many tires is a natural product, which can degrade over time simply through exposure to the elements.

Effects of Storing Your Car on Your Tires

If your tires - or even your entire car - is stored for part of the year, your tires could very easily fall victim to sidewall weathering/cracking (a condition some may call “dry rotting.”). The sidewall weathering that is visually evident on the tire occurs when the rubber compounds used to make the tire begin to break down. Those cracks can cause a weak spot in your tire. If you spot this evidence of sidewall weathering, it’s recommended you contact a Goodyear Authorized Service Center or Goodyear dealer to have your tires inspected to gauge the severity of the issue.

If you do store your car or your tires for part of the year, it’s best to keep the tires unloaded - if the tires are mounted on a car, try and park the car on jack stands so the full weight of the car isn’t on the tires. If you store the tires off the car, try to hang the tires by the wheels so weight isn’t compressing them. Whenever possible, store the tires inside, away from direct sunlight and away from electric motors that produce excessive ozone, as ozone can hasten sidewall weathering as well. Learn more facts about how and where to properly store your tires.

It’s been discussed that brand-new tires should last three to four years in most typical driving situations. However, there are those situations where you may not know the age of your tires, such as when a used vehicle is purchased. The previous owner may not have a record of when the tires were purchased or installed.  Inspecting your tires for wear and tear is a common practice that you should begin working into your schedule, whether it’s inspecting a new vehicle, or using this routine on a monthly basis for your current vehicle.

Learning to read your tires and the codes on them will be extremely valuable. Grab a flashlight, a pencil, and a notebook - or take a few photos with your cellphone - and be ready to learn about one of the most important parts of your car.

Reading the Tire Date Code

Most tires on the road today will have a twelve-character Tire Identification Number or TIN stamped on the tire sidewall immediately following the letters “DOT.”

Goodyear DOT number shown on sidewall close up.

If it only has 11 characters, it’s well past time to replace those tires because they were made before the year 2000. Otherwise, look at the last four digits of the code. The first two digits there are the week of the year the tires were made, and the last two are the year they were made. In the example shown here, M64BIC1R3317, these tires were made the 33rd week of 2017. Be aware that some tires are manufactured with the date code portion of the TIN only on one side of the tire, so if you do not see the TIN ending in four digits on one side, you need to look at the other sidewall of the tire to determine the date of manufacture.

Be sure to check all four tires, as they may not have been replaced all at once. Much like a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, such are your tires if two are new and two are many years old.

Learning how long tires may last is dependent upon many factors. Mileage placed on the tires is one of the factors - but not the only factor. How the tires are used and maintained, including especially inflation maintenance - or not used and maintained if they are stored - can contribute to how often you should change your tires.

Remember, the only thing on your car that’s in contact with the ground is your tires. It pays to keep them in top condition.

While finding the right tire for your vehicle may seem like a daunting task, Goodyear.com has an easy-to-use tire finder to help you select the best options for your car and your budget. If you ever have questions about the condition of your tires, contact a Goodyear location.