Tires manufactured today are more durable than ever before. They are made of steel, rubber and fabric woven together. Over 1 billion tires are produced every year.
However, it is still important to be very well aware how long can you use tires before you make the replacement. The life expectancy of a tire greatly depends on its maintenance, environmental conditions and the driving style of the driver. Did you know? As long as 40 years ago, the average life expectancy of a tire was not more than two years! It is best to change your tires after every 6 years at least. Because before you bought your tires from the dealer, they may have had been in his inventory for more than a year. Even if a tire may be unused but manufactured 5 years ago, it should not be used for more than a year. After tires hit a life span of 6 years, they should be discarded. This is because rubber loses its elasticity and resistance properties over the period. This may not always be noticeable and it is hard to test whether a tire has reached its expiration period even by a professional. However, you should not use this as an excuse to not get it checked by a professional at least after 5 years of use. Every automobile manufacturing company mentions this date in the owner’s manual.
The best way to know your tire’s life expectancy is to check its tread count. It refers to the tread count number printed on the sidewall of your tires. The side walls also bear the date of manufacture of your tire that starts with DOT followed by a 4 digit number that stands for the number of week in the year in which the tire was manufactured. Every tire manufactured according to the specifications of the U.S. Department of Transport, must bear a tread count number. If your tread depth, after years of use, has become 4/32nd, it’s time to ditch them. However, the only glitch you may face here is that every manufacturer has his own method to rate his tread wear. Every company is allowed to choose their own standard for relative comparison and subsequent tread rating of its tires. However, the UTQG rating denotes the durability of the tire with respect to the standard tire whose rating is 100. Go for one that is the highest, it will last longer.
Factor Affecting the Life of Tires
If you stay near the beach or if it rains a lot in your area, the chances are the moisture in the air will ruin the rubber too soon. Go for a snow tire if that is possible and then replace it according to the season. The tread designs on a snow tire or a winter tire helps it to create more friction while on the road. Also, they are made up of softer rubber compounds which deteriorate less easily.
A bumpy ride can also reduce your tire’s life expectancy by causing more damage than a tire endure may endure on a well-built road. In fact, if you are a rash driver, too much friction will wear out your tires in less than 5 years.
Exposure to Sun
Simply put, the more the exposure to the sun, the sooner the tire ages. Rubber and the sun do not get along well. So, park your vehicle in shaded areas to avoid interaction of the rubber with the heat. If you live in tropical regions, consider buying tires manufactured especially to be driven at a high-speed. Research shows that they last longer.
Frequency of Use
If the tires were used infrequently, they are prone to becoming unusable within a short span. This is because when they are not on the road, but parked, their standing period is a lot. This causes flat spots due to consistent pressure on specific parts which will, in turn create imbalance and increase friction.
Quality of Maintenance
How long you can use tires depends a lot on how you took care of it in the first place. When the tires are neglected or the wheel alignment is not correct, it will accelerate the aging process of the tires. If you notice that your tires have started to wear out from the edges, it is an indicator of improper wheel alignment or inflation. Also, if you did not store your tires properly or appropriately to their utility when changing them between seasons, they will deteriorate quickly in the storage period. At all times, make sure the inflation pressure in your tires is optimum with a quality air gauge. The maximum inflation pressure allowed for your tire is mentioned on its sidewall. This is, however, not recommended level.
Avoid exceeding the total limit of weight allowed for your tires to carry. If your tires can together carry not more 5 persons. Try not to exceed this limit else it will put unnecessary pressure on your tires which is not good for their health.
Tips to Increase the Life of a Tire
- Park your car in shade. The rays of the sun gradually alter the chemical composition of rubber and deteriorate your tires as well as your car’s body, over a period with regular exposure.
- Always dry out your garage before you park your car. The water, consumed from car washing, can deteriorate your tires if its sits in your garage. The moisture will cause them to soften. The chemical compounds in your car washing kit may also react with the tire’s material.
- Regularly clean your tires. Check inflation pressure and wheel alignment.
- Also, regularly rotate your tires.
Technology today, will soon lead to the manufacture of tires with a tread wear of as much as 80,000 miles. Do watch out though, wearing out of the tire differs from its aging process. Tires are perishable and when it wears out, it becomes absolutely unusable. Aging, on the other hand, means that tire is deteriorating and on its way to wearing out. But, a tire may become unusable if it speedily ages even before it wears out. Since they have already undergone wear and tear, buying used tires is a safety risk. If you stay in the colder regions, never use your winter tires all throughout the year, especially summers. You need to replace them with all-season tires or summer ones. Keep a check on your spare tires too because they are often the most neglected ones. In fact, you should rotate them too at regular intervals. This means after 10,000 miles you should make the rotation along with the spare tire so your tires last you for around 50,000 miles. You could improve the life expectancy from 6 years to 10 years. The right maintenance of your tires can help ensure that they stay in good condition and durable for longer periods.