Replacing Tires: A Comprehensive Guide

Our tires play the single most important role in connecting our vehicles with the road. Without them we quite literally wouldn’t be going anywhere. That’s why it’s so important to make sure they’re in great shape. It’s also important to start thinking about replacing tires before a major incident happens.  

If your tires are damaged or old they can pose a serious risk to your safety. In addition, poor tire performance can add stress to your suspension which can consequently damage your car’s body. maintaining and replacing tires before trouble arises can keep you and others safe on the road.

All about replacing tires

How long can tires last

Generally speaking, new tires have a lifespan of about 60,000 miles. This translates to 3 to 4 years based on average mileage usage per year. This timeline can be pushed forward or backward depending on driving habits. For example, those of us who have been working from home this past year probably drive less than those with a daily commute. This can translate to less overall tire usage and extend the life of your tires. In contrast, those daily commuters with longer than average drives see more consistent wear on their tires and thus probably need to replace their tires more often. The same is true for individuals who drive in rural areas with uneven terrain. 

Other factors can influence how long and how well your tires hold up. For example, if you’re driving with winter tires in dry conditions, those tires are likely going to wear down quicker than they would if they were being used in their intended conditions.

While using summer tires during the wet winter months won’t wear down your tires, it will render them useless anyway. This is due to the special rubber compound used to make summer tires. In dry conditions, this compound allows summer tires to grip the road and provides added traction. However, under 40 degrees Fahrenheit this special compound hardens up, leading to poor (i.e. nearly nonexistent) traction and rendering your tires essentially useless for gripping the road.

Regardless of how much wear they receive, tires ought to be replaced every 6 years.

Why wears tires out

Tires are going to wear down naturally with time. However, certain driving habits and poor maintenance can actually cause your tires to wear out more quickly than they should.

In the winter, tires can lose pressure due to the dropping temperature. Driving for a long time on under-inflated tires can cause parts of your tire to wear out quicker. The same is true for over-inflated tires. Bent and worn suspension can also cause tires to wear quickly and unevenly. And, of course, roadway hazards such as nails, screws, and broken glass can all puncture a tire and compromise its ability to hold air. 

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How to tell tires need to be replaced

If it’s been a few years and your tires are looking bald it’s obvious you’re in the market for new tires (or will be sooner rather than later).

But other times the need to replace tires isn’t always also clear. What if you still have some tread and your tires feel fine? 

Besides the quarter method (we talk about it here), tires with nails or holes should be replaced as soon as possible, even if they’ve been patched. And, like we mentioned, tires older than 6 years should be replaced regardless of how well they’re holding up.

Extending the life of your tires

To get the most out of your tires and keep from having to replace them prematurely you’ll want to keep the tire pressure up (but not too high) and stay on top of maintenance schedules. Get your tires rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles and follow alignment schedules to make sure your tires all wear evenly. 

It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyways) that it’s important to make sure your tires are appropriate for the climate you’re in. Winter tires are going to wear and need replacement in warmer whether much quicker. Since we’re in the Pacific Northwest, all-season tires should be your go-to tire type anyway, due to how turbulent our weather patterns can be. 

Replacing tires: Do I really need to replace all four tires at one?

We’ve all heard that just like headlights, our tires should be replaced at the same time to ensure even wear on all tires. And while this is the ideal situation, it’s not always the most practical (either literally or financially). Sometimes we simply can’t afford four new tires all at once.

If replacing tires all at once isn’t possible for whatever reason, you do have the option to replace two at a time instead. This is an especially good option is your car is two wheel drive. 

If you get two new tires put on instead of a full set your technician will likely put the new tires in the back. This is because of the superior traction the two new tires will have compared to your two older tires. When the rear wheels slip up on a front engine car it can increase your likelihood for hydroplaning and skidding out. Replacing tires with better traction on the back will help reduce the likelihood of skidding out and improve your overall handling.

Thankfully, replacing tires is quick and easy.

If you’re thinking of replacing tires, come to Courtesy Auto and Tire Service of Tacoma. Located right next to the Tacoma mall, our trained technicians are here for all of your tire maintenance and replacement needs. Schedule online or give us a call at 253-473-5556 to book an appointment. For more auto New and Tips come back monthly to read more from our blog.