The average American drives between 14,000 and 15,000 miles a year, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration. When you live in an area like Lynchburg, those miles can be rough with narrow, windy roads and poor weather conditions. These sorts of things can affect how long your tires can last, let alone be safe.
Ultimately there is no way to tell exactly how long a tire lasts. There is a general rule of thumb of tire maintenance that says that most tires should be inspected, if not replaced, at least every few years. The actual lifespan and mileage of a tire depends of a combination of factors: its design, the driver’s habits, the climate, the road conditions and the care that’s put into the tires. Here are a few things to look for:
When to Inspect Your Tires
Once you’ve put a couple of years on your tires, regardless of the mileage, it’s good to have them checked regularly. Have the team at Harris Tire inspect your tires at your convenience, or have it done while your vehicle is on for another regularly scheduled service such as rotations and/or oil changes.
Check your Tread
A tire is considered unsafe once the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A great way to measure depth is with a tread depth gauge. Specifically, you may have heard of the ‘Penny Test’; NHTSA recommends putting the penny in the tire tread groove with Abraham Lincoln’s head upside down and facing toward you. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires.
Checking your tire pressures are another crucial element to your safety. Your tires wear so easily during colder months and typically decrease in pressure due to the cold winter air. Winter tires can easily be treated by visiting your local Harris Tire where the professional staff can assist with putting air in your tires. Even in the warmer months, be sure to check this, as debris and other objects can puncture and affect the quality of the tire.
Ten years is a maximum
If the tires haven’t been replaced 10 years after their date of manufacture, as a precaution, Michelin recommends replacing them with new tires. Even if they appear to be in usable condition and have not worn down to the tread wear indicator. This applies to spare tires as well.
Extend Tire Life through Maintenance
It’s important to to extend the life of your tires as best you can. You can increase your tire’s longevity by maintaining the correct air pressure, performing regular tire rotations and vehicle maintenance. For original equipment: follow the vehicle manufacturer’s tire replacement recommendations.
So how long will your tires last? There’s no definitive answer for that unfortunately, but keep an eye on the tips above and follow a consistent maintenance schedule so you don’t end up driving on unsafe tires or spending more on new tires than you need too. Time to replace your tires? Call the Harris Tire nearest you for your next replacement tires or if you have questions and/or concerns and our staff would be happy to help!