How long do tyres last? I bought that only lasted 10,000 miles. We investigate tyre life

tyre life

How long tyres last depends on many factors. Broadly speaking, tyre life is down to the product themselves, how you drive on them, the kind of driving, the type of car they’re mounted on and where they are on the car.

The type of tyres makes a difference

Building tyres is a delicate balancing act. Makers have to take into account multiple factors such as how well they stop in the wet and dry, how economical they will make the car and how well they wear.

Premium tyre makers are much better at achieving this balance. They spend many millions of pounds developing compounds or mixtures of chemicals that make up their products. This research and development, along with almost endless testing, means they’re able to balance the different demands better.

So buy from a premium brand such as Continental or Michelin and you’re more likely to get a tyre that performs well and lasts a long time. It’s worth noting that some budget products will last a long time too. It’s just they may not stop as well in the wet, or their tread may cause your car to use more fuel.

How do you drive on them?

Drive aggressively with full throttle starts, cornering on two wheels and jamming the brakes on and you’ll wear tyres more quickly. More gentle inputs on the car’s increases tyre life. Driving long journeys at high speed tends to wear rubber more than shorter, low speed trips.

How well maintained are they?

Under inflation is one of the main causes of extra wear in tyres. Under inflation by just 6 PSI (most are inflated to between 28 and 38 PSI) will see wear reduced by a quarter. That’s because if a tyre doesn’t have enough air in it, more of it will be running along the road. Friction will be increased and the tread, which is the patterned part, will get hotter and wear more.

tyre life
Expert technicians will be able to advise on how worn tyres are and how to get the most miles from them (Picture©ATS Euromaster)

What type of car are they on?

The heavier the car, the quicker it will go through its tyres. Also, front tyres tend to wear more quickly than rear tyres. This is because they must steer as well as having the weight of the engine over them.

How long does rubber last then?

National Tyres claims the average lifespan for a set of tyres is about 20,000 miles. But it reckons that while front tyres will last for about 20,000 miles, rears should cover up to 40,000 miles.

How do you know tyres need replacing?

Events like punctures aside, tyres need replacing when their tread depth has worn down to 1.6mm. But, as an aside, many manufacturers recommend that they’re replaced when the tread is down to 3mm.

When they near the end of their life, you might notice that vibrations while driving increase. Braking distances might also get longer and you may feel like you have less grip when you’re going round corners.

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