Buying tires is a part of car maintenance, and believe it or not, this type of maintenance is easy to forget. The tires are an essential part of your vehicle and you must replace them before they become worn. Let’s discuss tires and when you should buy new ones.

How Long Do Tires Last?

Having good tires on your vehicle contributes to your overall safety on the road. The tires are the only part of your vehicle that comes into contact with the ground, and because of this, they are subject to wear and tear.

Worn and damaged tires compromise your vehicle’s ability to respond to your inputs, such as braking, steering, and handling. The longer you drive with damaged and worn tires, the more risk there is of a tire blowout, which can make you lose control of your vehicle or an auto accident. Driving a vehicle that has tires that have little to no tread compromises your safety and the safety of everyone around you.

So, how long do tires last? The lifespan of tires depends on the following factors:

  • Climate
  • Mileage
  • Age
  • Air pressure
  • Tread compound
  • Rotation schedule
  • Wheel alignment
  • Driving habits

In general, high-quality all-season tires can last anywhere between 50,000 to 75,000 miles, which is approximately 5 to 7 years for average drivers. Even if you don’t drive that many miles, you should change your tires every 6 years.

How Do I Inspect a Tire’s Tread?

You should inspect your tires every month for wear and tear. Paying attention to the tire tread depth is essential. To inspect the tire’s tread, use a quarter, and place the head of the quarter into one of the tire’s big grooves. If the top of the quarter is flush with tread, this means you have approximately 4/32 inches of tread remaining. With this amount of tread, your tires have a little bit of grip for snowy or rainy conditions. This is the best time to shop for new tires. However, if you can see space above the quarter’s top, you need to replace your tires immediately.

Another way you can determine your tire’s tread is by looking at the tread wear indicators on the tire. These treads are raised and built into the tires. They are evenly spaced groove sections on the tire’s tread. For new tires, tread indicators are not as high as the tire’s tread. Once the tread reaches the same level as the tread indicator, this means it’s time for you to replace your tires.

How Do I Know When It’s Time to Change My Tires?

There’s no trick to knowing when to change your tires. You need to be observant and know certain information. Here are different ways to tell it’s time to change your tires.


Did you know tires have an expiration date? You can use the expiration date to get an idea of how much time you have left before you need to replace your tires. To locate your tire’s expiration date, you need to find the tire’s sidewall, which is the outer part of the tire that faces outward. Next, look for the tire size information and the four-digit number that indicates the manufacturing date. Now you need to identify the manufacturing data code. There will be a four-digit code or number on the sidewall. Use this code to determine the week and year of manufacture using this information.

Generally, tires are good for approximately 6 years. Your tires may be able to last a little longer if you don’t drive often but don’t keep your current tires for more than 10 years. Over time, rubber degrades due to environmental conditions. While tires may appear in great shape on the surface, they could be concealing structural damage and other issues.

Can’t remember when you purchased your current set of tires? No problem! You can view the manufacturer’s expected lifespan by checking the make and model on the manufacturer’s or a tire store’s website. There is also a 16-digit code, the tire’s identification number, you can use to find tire information. This information is printed on the tire’s sidewall. The first three digits of this code represent the US Department of Transportation. The next four digits tell you the tire’s age by revealing the week and the last two digits of the year in which it was manufactured, such as “1117”, which would mean the 11th week of 2017.

Uneven Tread Wear

When your vehicle’s tires begin to wear down unevenly, the tires need to be replaced. For instance, if the tread wear indicators show through some spots, but not all spots evenly, or if you notice areas where the tire’s surface is inconsistent with the overall wear, the tires need to be replaced.

Your tires can wear down unevenly for different reasons. The good news is that most of the repairs are fairly easy to make. When you get new tires on your vehicle, take the time to perform the proper maintenance on them, such as ensuring they’re correctly inflated. Also, have a mechanic check your vehicle’s alignment and suspension, especially if you’re having problems with excessive vibration or handling.

Visible Damage

If your tire’s tread is punctured by road debris, nail, or other object, you may be able to repair the tire. However, if the tire’s sidewall is damaged, the tire will need to be replaced. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking your tire’s sidewall for damage, such as cuts, cracking, bludges, or blisters.

Blisters and bulges on tires indicate there is structural damage on the inside of the tire. This type of damage can result in tread separation or a blowout while you’re driving. If you notice that your tires are cracking, have cuts, or other surface impurities, tire degradation can occur. Damage from road debris can also occur. In either situation, the tire has been compromised and must be replaced.


You should pay attention to the way your car feels as you’re driving. It will also help to pay attention to the sounds your car makes. Paying attention to these two details can help you catch a problem before it escalates to a major problem. If your car is making a weird sound that it didn’t make before, or your vehicle feels different when you’re driving it, don’t wait to have your car inspected. Prolonging a vehicle check can result in expensive repairs.

Excessive vibration can be a sign of damage in one of your tires, or be an indication that one of your vehicle’s wheels is bent or misaligned, which can cause premature tire wear. If your vehicle is vibrating excessively, there may be issues with the suspension system, which can also cause premature wear of the tires and other issues.

Do the Type of Tires I Put On My Vehicle Matter?

Yes! There are different types of tires available, and the ones you decide to put on your vehicle make a difference in the way the vehicle performs. Each tire type has unique strengths and limitations. All-season tires are made to perform well in different road and weather conditions to improve their longevity.

If you’re looking for an overall good type of tire, performance all-season tires may be what you need. These tires provide better handling and grip on the road better the other tire types. However, performance all-season tires are more expensive than other tires.

You can also purchase ultra-high performance (UHP) tires. Whether you purchase UHP summer tires or UHP all-season tires, you’ll enjoy the great on-road handling, but the tread life of these tires is not long-lived.

As a general rule, the higher the performance of the tires, the more it will cost, and the quicker the tires will wear. It’s a good idea to stick to the type of tire that came with your vehicle when you purchased it.

If you’re like a lot of drivers, you’re looking for different ways to save money on vehicle maintenance. However, downgrading to a different tire type to save a few bucks can have a negative affect on your car’s handling performance and braking.

Repairing vs. Replacing Your Tires

Should you repair or replace your tires? There are upsides and downsides to both, so we’ll let you determine the best course of action for your situation.

Pros of Repairing (Patching) Your Tires

  • Patching a tire is often a less expensive option
  • All four of your tires will wear evenly because they have the same tread depth

Cons of Patching

  • Patching a tire poses higher safety risks than replacing the tire
  • You can only patch a tire once

Pros of Replacing a Tire

  • Your tires will have improved traction
  • Improved performance
  • Improved safety

Cons of Replacing a Tire

  • Replacing a tire is often the most expensive option
  • If you’re only replacing a single tire, this can lead to uneven wear and tear due to a difference in tread depths

When Is the Best Scenario to Replace a Damaged Tire?

If you’re stuck between replacing a damaged tire or repairing it, here are a few factors you need to consider.

  • The severity of the damage
  • The puncture position on the tire
  • Tire repair history (have you repaired the same tire before?)
  • Tread depth

Repairing a Damaged Tire

Replacing even one tire can be expensive, making patching a tire a more feasible option. The following types of tire damage can be repaired by patching a tire:

  • A puncture that lies within the puncture repair area, including the center part of the tire (about 1 to 1.5 inches from the shoulders)
  • A puncture that does not exceed ¼-inch

Replacing a Damaged Tire

There are some instances when repairing the tire won’t suffice because applying a patch or other type of repair will compromise your safety. Scenarios when you should replace a tire include the following:

  • There is a puncture on thh sidewall or the shoulders of the tire (these locations are often referred to as the no-repair zone because the puncture is outside of the repair area.)
  • The puncture is bigger than ¼-inch
  • The puncture overlaps or is adjacent to a previously repaired area
  • There is little to no tread depth
  • There is excessive wear or cracks on the sidewall

When it comes to tire maintenance or the overall maintenance of your vehicle, it’s a good idea to consult a mechanic. These professionals can extend your vehicle’s overall lifespan and give you expert advice about how to properly care for your car.

While some DIY repairs are okay to make, there are some car repairs that require the skills, equipment and expertise of a professional. To help keep money in your wallet, we suggest no waiting until the last minute to perform basic maintenance on your vehicle, such as buying new tires. Your car and your wallet will thank you for keeping up with regular maintenance. Stay safe and happy driving!