How Long Will They Last: RNR Talks Tread Wear

Dear Bree,

A friend of mine was giving me tips on what to look for in my new tires, and he said I need to know something about tread.  All I know is that I need some.  What is he talking about?

Treading Water in Lakeland


Dear Treading,

He could be a bit more specific, couldn’t he?  I think your vague friend is referring to the longevity of the tire based on tire tread; and how long your tires last comes down to several factors, like your driving habits, the weather and climate where you live, road conditions and the tire manufacturer’s tire longevity estimate.

If you drive like a maniac, love to peel out and think breaks are for wimps (until you really have to stop), then your tires may not last as long as your grandmother’s new tires.  When you leave rubber on the road, it just makes sense that your tires will wear out faster, right?  If you live at the end of a road decorated with potholes or spend a lot of time winding around curvy roads, your tires will tend to wear out faster, too.

If you want some idea on how long a specific tire will last, you can check the tire manufacturer’s tire longevity estimate.  This is an estimate based on the testing conditions used by the manufacturer, and while it definitely gives you a jumping off point, the tests are not necessarily based on real-world conditions (like those potholes and curves we just talked about).  To get a better idea about how tires will wear in this case, take a look at the UTQG, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s labeling system for the tread wear, temperature resistance and traction of each type of tire.  Here’s an example of how it works:  If you’re looking at a tire with a tread wear rating of 300, then it should last 3 times longer than a tire with a rating of 100.  Temperature ratings range from A to C, and traction ratings, from AA to C.  When you’re looking at longevity ratings between different tires within the same brands, these ratings are the most helpful.  The grading system between brands can be interpreted differently, so using the UTQG rating alone to determine the difference in longevity between tires of different brands may not be the best idea.

Generally speaking, the average tire life of an all-season tire is between 40,000 and 100,00 miles.  That’s a pretty big swing, but there are so many factors that come into play in determining a tire’s life, that our best advice is to do some research, read reviews, and talk to people in the know (like the guys at RNR!).  Tires are a big investment, and you want to get as much life out of them as possible, so put some time and thought into buying them. And don’t forget that RNR offers an easy rental plan to help you get back on the road without laying down a huge chunk of change right now.  Get the tires you need on a schedule you can afford.  Hope to see you soon!