How long do tires last?

The lifespan for a set of tires depends on a few factors:

  • Usage. The type of use-stop and go city driving, long-distance highway driving, driving on gravel or old and worn roads, carrying large and heavy loads of cargo, and so on.
  • Quality of care. Making sure the tire has the right amount of inflation or pressure, whether or not it has had a puncture and been repaired, whether the driver stops and accelerates aggressively, and so on.
  • Distance. Whether you use your tires around the standard average of 20,000 to 25,000 km per year, below that average, or above it.
  • Age. As rubber ages it begins to harden and crack, which can cause the tire to lose grip and separate from the rim.
  • Quality of tire. High end tires that are made to last longer will add chemical compounds to the rubber to slow the aging process.

The general rule from experts is that you should replace your tires after 5 to 7 years. Note that this doesn’t mean 5 to 7 years of use, but after the tire is 5 to 7 years old. Once tires become that old, they will harden and deteriorate much more quickly than before, even if the tread still looks fine. Tire shops will even send any unsold stock they have if they are older than 2 years.

Be sure to check your car’s manual as some makes and models tend to go through tires more quickly or slowly, and keep the above factors in mind. When you’re buying replacement tires, make sure you aren’t buying a used set that is already several years old. You can double check the date of manufacture yourself, by looking at the code stamp on the side of the tire.