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How Long Should Car Tyres Last?

calendar Published on: Thursday, 25th April 2019 | female icon Author: Rebecca Taylor

The tyres are one of the most important parts of your car, affecting everything from fuel efficiency to grip and steering. They cost a reasonable amount to replace, so you’ll want to do all you can to get good value from your tyres and extend their usable life.

Here, we’ll take a look at how long you can expect your tyres to last, as well as tips for getting more from your tyres and how to tell when it's time to replace them.

How many miles should tyres last?

There’s no hard rule for how long tyres should last before they need replacing. There are simply too many factors involved to put a figure on it, from the road conditions to your driving habits. How well you maintain your car and tyres will have an impact on tyre shelf life, as will the original quality of the tyre itself.

As a guideline, we’d recommend getting your tyres professionally checked out every five years. You should probably replace tyres that are ten years old just to be on the safe side. Besides, old tyres don’t offer you the performance or efficiency you need, as well as being a potential safety risk. If you’ve travelled 20,000 miles or more on your front tyres, get them changed. Rear tyres should last longer, around 40,000 miles or more.

How long should a set of car tyres last will depend on several factors. For example the front tyres will generally wear more quickly that the rear ones as, together with the front brakes, they play a bigger part in stopping the car when applying the brakes. If one or more if your tyres are underinflated then these will wear more quickly and unevenly. Also, if you mix tyres from different manufacturers or even with different tread patterns they are likely to wear at different rates. Therefore is very unlikely that your tyres will all wear down at the same rate meaning some tyres will need replacing before others.

How to tell if your tyres need replacing?

You shouldn’t just rely on the above recommendations before changing your tyres. There are simple checks you can do to make sure your tyres are in a roadworthy condition. The crucial thing to check is tread depth, the section of rubber that makes contact with the road and offers grip. You should check tread depth regularly to make sure your tyres aren’t too worn, you can do it easily with just a 20p coin. Simply put the 20p into the tread grooves on the tyre and if the coin’s outer band can’t be seen, your tyres are in a safe condition. Make sure you do this at various points around the tyre. If you can see the coin’s band, this means there isn’t enough tread and your tyres may be unsafe. It’s important to get them checked out by a professional or get them replaced.

The legal limit for tread depth is 1.6mm, but experts recommend a depth of at least 3mm to give you maximum grip and to improve stopping distances. It’s against the law to drive on overworn tyres, and you could face a £2,500 fine per tyre and three points on your licence if caught - not to mention the fact that worn tyres are an accident waiting to happen. It only takes a moment and a 20p coin, so do it today.

Other signs of worn tyres

You can also spot a problem with your tyres during driving, if the car feels like it wobbles a little on its tyres when you’re driving above 40mph. This could be a sign that your wheels need to be rebalanced, but it can also mean that there is uneven wear and tear on your tyres. Get them looked at by a tyre specialist to make sure.

Making your tyres last longer

There are many things you can do to squeeze the very most out of your tyres, and make them last as long as possible. For example:

  • Rotating your tyres between the front and the back wheels. This can help to ensure even wear and tear on the tyres, as those on the front and the back take a different burden. As a rule of thumb, you can do this once a year or once every 7,500 miles.
  • Gentle driving. Tyres wear more during heavy braking and rapid acceleration, as well as taking corners abruptly. It’s better for your tyres, for your fuel efficiency and for safety reasons too, if you can drive more gently. Read the road ahead so you can start slowing down early, by taking your foot off the accelerator rather than braking.
  • Keeping your tyres at the correct air pressure. Tyres that are over or under-inflated causes problems with fuel efficiency and performance, as well as potentially being at risk of blowout (with over-inflated tyres). They’re also less effective in wet weather. Crucially though, tyres at the wrong air pressure just don’t last as long. You should check your tyre pressure around once a month - take a look at your vehicle handbook for the correct pressure for the driving conditions and load of the car.
  • Drive carefully near potholes and speed bumps. These road obstacles can cause real damage to your tyres and their air pressure and they can be difficult to avoid. However, if you can look at the road ahead and anticipate them, you’ll avoid last minute braking and driving too fast over potholes and speed bumps. If you can avoid potholes safely, do so. Otherwise, go really slowly and report really bad potholes to your local authority to hopefully get them filled in.?    Drive carefully near potholes and speed bumps. These road obstacles can cause real damage to your tyres and their air pressure and they can be difficult to avoid. However, if you can look at the road ahead and anticipate them, you’ll avoid last minute braking and driving too fast over potholes and speed bumps. If you can avoid potholes safely, do so. Otherwise, go really slowly and report really bad potholes to your local authority to hopefully get them filled in.
  • Be careful around kerbs. You may know that potholes are the biggest danger to your tyres, but kerbs can be just as bad. Some lazy or rushed motorists may be tempted to drive over kerbs to get to a junction or cut a corner, but this is potentially damaging to your tyres. It’s best to avoid them altogether. If you do need to mount the kerb, to park for example, do it slowly and carefully. Go as slow as possible and ease onto the kerb rather than driving straight into it and make use of dropped kerb sections where you can.
  • Get your wheel alignment checked. Ensuring your wheels are properly aligned means that your tyres will have the best possible contact with the road. They won’t be pulling to one side when steering, which can wear them prematurely.
  • Consider using better quality tyres. Lastly, consider spending a little more on better quality tyres. Mid-range or premium tyres can offer better performance and safety, and they can last longer.

Choosing the right tyres for your car

The best tyres for your vehicle will depend on your needs. Generally tyres from premium manufacturers such as Michelin and Goodyear are the most efficient tyres as these companies have spent millions of pounds on research and development to create the safest, best performing tyres available. If you are looking for the most fuel efficient tyres, the EU tyre label may help. Every new tyre is required by law to be rated for its fuel efficiency, wet braking and exterior noise. Look for tyres with an A rating for fuel efficiency for tyres that will last longest.