Tires are an integral part of maintaining your automobile and ensuring a safe driving experience. Riding on old tires is extremely dangerous, but many drivers are unaware of just how often they should be replacing their tires. Here is some important information about the average tire lifespan, so you can make sure your tires are in good shape as you hit the roadway.
How Long Do Tires Usually Last?
There is no consensus between tire makers, automakers, or rubber manufacturers about the average tire lifespan. In the past, using a penny to determine thread depth was considered the “gold standard” of determining whether tires need to be replaced.
However, tread depth is only one factor of tire lifespan—with age being an equally critical one. It’s important to realize that rubber ages regardless of tread depth—which means that even tires which are rarely used can still be dangerous. Although tires contain anti-aging compounds within the rubber, oxidation still occurs–causing tires to become weak and brittle over time. Many automakers and recommend replacement after six years, and some tire manufacturers claim that tires can last up to ten years if they are regularly inspected. Here are some factors that you should consider about the tire lifespan:
Tires that are stored in garages or the trunk of a car will age more slowly than those that are in regular use. However, even spare tires need to be replaced as the rubber ages over time. This means you should have your spare tire inspected and replaced from time to time, as you want to avoid using a compromised spare during an emergency.
According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tires that are in warmer climates age more quickly. Being in direct sunlight or coastal climates can directly affect how quickly your tire ages. These conditions may require you to replace your tires more often.
The tire lifespan can also be directly affected by its uses. If your tire is under-inflated or has ever been punctured and repaired, it may age more quickly. How often you drive your car can also affect its aging process.
Determining the Age of Your Tires
To determine the age of your tires, you’ll need to check for its DOT (Department of Transportation) code. Every tire manufactured after the year 2000 has a 4-digit DOT code imprinted onto its sidewall. The first two numbers of the code tell the week that the tire was made, and the last two numbers tell the year. For example, a code of “1918” means that your tire was manufactured in the 19th week of the year 2018.
For tires made before the year 2000, a three-digit code was used. These codes are a bit more difficult to decipher. If you see a three-digit code on your tire instead of a four one, it’s a safe bet that it’s time to replace your tires as soon as possible.
In addition to checking the code on your tires, you should always inspect the rubber. Are the treads distorted in any way? Are there any small or large hairline cracks in the sidewalls? If so, these signs of aging could mean you need to replace your tires immediately. Also, pay attention to any unusual vibrations, noises, or changes in ride quality, as these could also be indications that new tires are in order.
Having old or aging tires can be extremely dangerous. At GoMobile Tires, we are committed to educating drivers about tire safety so that they can get the most out of their driving experience. We allow you to skip the tire shop and get your tires installed at home, at work, or on the go. Explore our website to learn more about our state-of-the-art service and schedule an appointment today!