How Long Can Tyres Last?
Tyres are one of the most important safety features on your vehicle and they need looking after to get the best performance on the road.
It is estimated that over 70% of drivers are driving with 2mm or below tyre tread depths and of these drivers over 27% are driving with below the legal minimum tyre tread depth limit of 1.6mm.
It is also estimated that over half of UK drivers are driving their vehicles on underinflated tyres.
We have put together some information to help you understand why tyres wear out.
How Long Do Tyres Last?
This is not an easy question to answer as it depends on many things; how many miles you drive, how you drive your vehicle, where your vehicle is parked, road conditions and tyre maintenance.
Tyres can also deteriorate over time especially when left stationary for long periods and when they are exposed to UV light. Storing your vehicle in a garage can help your tyres last longer.
Over time tyres can also lose air pressure, so it is very important to check these regularly.
The general consensus among tyre safety experts and tyre manufacturers is that tyres will need changing every 20,000 miles or between 5-6 years, depending on your driving style and tyre maintenance routine.
If you drive a front-wheel drive vehicle your front tyres wear out more quickly and if you drive a rear-wheel drive vehicle your back tyres will wear out more quickly.
Premium tyres usually last longer than budget tyres, but the overall performance of all tyres has vastly improved.
Different Types of Tyres
There are lots of different types of tyres; summer, winter, all-season, 4x4, off-road, energy saving and run flat tyres. Make sure to choose the correct tyres for your vehicle and never mix tyre types.
Most vehicles in the UK are fitted with summer tyres as original equipment and there are quite a number of drivers who also invest in a set of winter tyres for added safety in the colder months.
Your driving style affects the life span of your tyres.
Drivers who accelerate quickly from a standstill can wear out tyres faster. If your vehicle is front-wheel drive the front tyres will wear out faster as they receive the most power from the engine and vice versa for rear-wheel drive vehicles.
Taking corners too quickly puts extra pressure on the edges of your tyres and hard braking causes flat-spotting, as the tyre’s contact area will endure more friction and heat, resulting in uneven tyre wear and a flat spot on the tread.
Tyre manufacturers are constantly developing new tyre compounds, with safety and the environment a key factor.
Performance tyres, which includes summer tyres have softer compounds designed to perform in higher heats. Tyres with softer compounds tend to wear out faster. When temperatures drop below freezing the summer compound becomes less effective, reducing the tyre’s grip on the road.
Winter tyres have harder compounds that can withstand colder temperatures and best performs in the snow and ice. Winter tyres tend to last longer due to the harder compound but will wear out faster if used in normal conditions.
All-season tyres, have a slightly softer compound than winter tyres but harder than summer compounds. The combined compound on an all-season makes these a good choice if you don’t want to switch tyres throughout the seasons. They will wear out quicker than winter tyres but will last longer than summer tyres.
When the temperature drops your tyre pressures can drop as well. Many drivers ignore tyre pressure warning lights and will continue to drive on under-inflated tyres. Under inflated tyres cause uneven tyre wear on the edges and can affect your road handling.
Warmer temperatures can cause tyre pressures to rise slightly. Over inflated tyres make less contact with the road causing more friction which results in uneven tyre wear, especially in the centre of the tyre tread.
Tyres exposed to UV light will deteriorate over time and causes the tread to dry out and crack.
Tyre Maintenance Routine
How often do you check your tyres? Probably not often enough.
Routine maintenance will prolong the life of your tyres.
Check your tyre pressures regularly, incorrect tyre pressures cause rapid tyre wear and can affect your vehicle’s handling and road safety.
Please remember to adjust tyre pressures according to your load. A fully laden vehicle will need extra pressure, but please remember to adjust when your vehicle returns to its normal load.
Tread depths should be checked regularly and can easily be done with a tread depth gauge or even using a 20p coin. If you are using the 20p coin method, simply pop the coin into various points across the tyre tread and around the circumference, if you can see the outside edge of the coin your tyres may be very close to the minimum tread depth of 1.6mm and will need to be changed ASAP.
We recommend rotating your tyres to balance out tyre wear and we also recommend changing tyres in pairs, but ideally, change all four tyres at the same time to maximise your safety. If your vehicle has different tyre sizes on the front and back, you will not be able to rotate your tyres and in this case, we recommend changing in pairs.
Please do not mix different types of tyres, for example, 2 summer tyres and 2 winter tyres. Mixing tyres can be dangerous.
Wheel alignment should be part of your tyre maintenance routine and we recommend getting this checked every 6,000 miles, when you have new tyres fitted or when there are signs of uneven tyre wear.
Hitting a pothole or a kerb can cause the wheel alignment to be knocked out and cause internal tyre damage and we recommend you get your wheel alignment checked and your tyre inspected ASAP.
Hitting potholes and kerbs can also cause damage to your suspension, which can cause premature tyre wear.
At National, all newly fitted tyres are balanced and any repaired tyres will be rebalanced. Occasionally you may lose a balancing weight while driving and you may notice that your vehicle is shaking or vibrating, if this happens makes sure to get your tyres rebalanced ASAP to prolong the life of your tyres.
Any signs of uneven tyre wear are a cause for concern and should be checked ASAP.
Tyre pressures are very important for your safety and correct pressures will help your tyres last longer and save you money on fuel.
There are so many different vehicles and different tyres, and therefore so many different tyre pressure settings, but each vehicle will have a standard tyre pressure setting set by your vehicle manufacturer.
Tyre pressure settings can be found in your vehicle’s handbook and are usually stamped on the sill of the driver’s door. On some vehicles, the pressures can be found inside the fuel cap. If you can’t find your vehicle’s tyre pressures, we can help with our tyre pressure look up system, head over to www.national.co.uk/information/check-your-tyre-pressures.
Please note there will a different tyre pressure setting for full laden vehicles. Please remember to reset the tyre pressures when the load returns to normal.
Under inflated tyres can affect your road handling, steering around corners will be more difficult and your tyres might start to overheat, increasing your risk of a tyre-related incident or tyre blowout.
Driving on under inflated tyres causes rapid tyre wear on the edges, which affects your braking performance and will increase fuel consumption.
Over inflated tyres cause the tyre compound to become harder on the sidewalls and tread and you may notice that your ride is more uncomfortable and you will have reduced traction.
Over inflated tyres cause rapid tyre wear in the centre of the tread due to reduced traction. This can affect your braking performance and will also increase fuel consumption.
Tyres naturally deteriorate with age, especially if exposed to UV light. Keeping your vehicle in a garage can help prolong your tyres life. Tyres can also deteriorate if your vehicle is stationary for a long period, especially when left in storage.
Cracking on the tyre’s sidewall is a sign of deterioration.
Routine maintenance will prolong the life of your tyres.
Check Your Tyres Today
Checking your tyres regularly not only keeps you safe on the road but also saves you money on fuel and will prolong the life of your tyres.
When checking tyres don’t forget to check the general condition and remove any stones or foreign objects from your tread. Check your tyres’ tread depth at various points on your tyres and check the tyre pressures on all four tyres, plus the spare if you have one.
When checking front tyres turning your steering wheel will make it checking easier to check and will give you a view of the inside edge of your tyres. For back tyres, you are best to inspect these from the back of the car for uneven tyre wear.
Low tread depths can compromise your safety and most tyre manufacturers recommend changing your tyres when the tread depth reaches 3mm. As your tread depths get closer to the legal minimum tread depth limit, your braking performance will be affected.
Any signs of deterioration or uneven tyre wear should be checked by a tyre professional.