By Anthony Santiago - Editor-in-Chief

July 26, 2022
Why Do New Car Tires Wear Out So Fast

Why Do New Car Tires Wear Out So Fast

When was the last time you checked your tire pressure on your car? Do you even know how many miles are left on your car's original tires?

Tires are expensive, and most drivers never think about the rubber that meets the road until the mechanic or dealership tells them so. You might be wondering why tires are so expensive, where to get services and how to find the best prices.

In this article, we'll talk about why tires wear out, how to get more life out of your tires and, and when you know when it's time to replace your car tires.

New Car Tires and Why They Wear Out So Fast

New car tires are designed to last between 30k and 60k miles with proper maintenance. However, your driving style can greatly impact your tire's lifespan. They're supposed to be rotated every 3,500 miles or 5 months. But most people drive fewer than 10,000 miles per year—so rotating them one a year is a good rule of thumb.

However, why do tires wear out so fast?

First, let's review how tires are made and manufactured...

The answer lies in how automakers make tires. Most tire companies use a process called vulcanization. Vulcanized rubber can withstand high temperatures, but it doesn't hold up well to cold weather. When you put a tire on a vehicle, it gets hot inside the wheel rim. To prevent the rubber from cracking, the manufacturer adds chemicals to keep the temperature down. This makes the tire harder, but it also limits its lifespan.

To extend the life of a tire, manufacturers add compounds that absorb heat and expand when exposed to air. These materials are often referred to as "extenders." Extender compounds are added during manufacturing, and they help the tire maintain its shape and resist damage. Depending on the manufacturer, these compounds allow the different brands to create different sets of tires for various conditions and environments.

But extenders aren't meant to last forever. Over time, the rubber loses some of its ability to expand, causing cracks to form along the tread surface. As the cracks grow deeper, the tire becomes less effective at gripping the road. Eventually, the tire needs to be replaced. 

Why Do New Car Tires Wear Out So Fast - dry rot

These cracks are sometimes referred to as dry rot or cracking. The tire no longer has enough moisture to keep the tires supple. You will definitely want to consider replacing it when this happens. 

Vulcanization isn't the only way to make a tire. Some manufacturers use another method known as retreading. Retreaded tires look almost identical to original ones, but there's no chemical compound involved. Instead, a layer of old rubber is glued onto the existing rubber. This technique allows manufacturers to produce longer lasting tires without adding extra materials. Most commercial trucking companies look to retreads to save on costs of replacement tires.

And since consumers tend to buy new cars every five years, many manufacturers prefer to stick with vulcanization.

Why Do Tires Wear Down?

Tire manufacturers produce tires with different types of tread patterns and sizes to fit different vehicles. A tire manufacturer might design a tire for a car with a low profile, such as a sports car, or one with a high profile, like a truck. They might also make a tire for a light truck, a heavy truck, or even a tractor trailer.

As the tire wears down, the grip decreases and it becomes harder to control the vehicle. When you start noticing problems, such as excessive vibration while driving, it’s probably too late to do anything about it.

The absolute lowest tread is 2/32 tread for passenger cars.

This can be tested with a penny. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, it's time to replace it.

The tread pattern is what provides traction and helps keep the tire attached to the road surface. The size of the tread area determines how much contact there is between the tire and the ground.

A touring tire is designed to last longer than a performance tire because it has a larger tread area and fewer grooves per inch. This allows the tire to hold onto the road better and give the driver confidence. In addition, touring tires typically have softer sidewalls for a more comfortable ride. 

Performance tires are softer compounds and therefore wear out faster. But because of their low profile, their sidewalls are stiffer to avoid flexing in corners. If you notice the tread wearing away quickly, it could mean that the tire needs replacing soon.

The tread wear warranty gives an estimate of how long the tire should perform well. You can find the information online or ask your dealer. 

Top 3 Reasons Why Your Tires May Be Wearing Out Too Quickly

Uneven tire wear can often occur because of one of three reasons: improper tire rotation, driving styles and/or faulty braking mechanisms. If you are noticing uneven wear on your tires, it is important to check out the following areas to ensure proper maintenance.

  • Lack of Tire Rotation - Proper tire rotation is an essential part of keeping your car running smoothly. This is done every six months or year so that all four corners wear out evenly. 
  • Underinflated Tire Pressure - It is important to maintain the correct tire pressure in your car. Driving on underinflated tires can lead to a number of problems, such as decreased fuel economy, decreased tire life, and increased stopping distances. Underinflated tires can also cause your car to handle poorly, making it more difficult to control in bad weather conditions.
  • Aggressive Driving with Acceleration or Braking - Aggressive driving can quickly wear down your tires. When drivers speed, brake hard, and make sharp turns, they create friction that can wear down the tread on their tires. To keep your tires in good condition, avoid aggressive driving and be mindful of your speed and braking habits.

Built for Ride Quality, Not Durability

The softest tires are built for comfort, not durability. They're designed to reduce road noise, improve handling, and make you feel like you're riding on clouds. But they don't last long. In fact, they'll wear out much sooner than hard rubber tires. 

Why Do New Car Tires Wear Out So Fast

How to Prolong New Tire Life

Tire manufacturers recommend checking tire pressures once a month. But how often do we actually check our tires? And what are some tips for keeping them in good shape?

The average car owner checks his or her tires about once per month, according to AAA. However, it’s important to remember that tire pressure affects safety more than just the tread life. A low tire pressure can cause a blowout during high speeds, tire damage and rim damage increasing the risk of injury or death.

Checking your tire pressure is easy: You simply pull off one side of the tire valve cap, insert a gauge into the hole, and read the number displayed. Your recommended pressure is printed directly on the sidewall of each tire. You can check the recommended tire pressure on the driver's side door.

To prolong the life of your tires,  follow these simple steps:

  1. Check your tire pressures regularly.
  2. Rotate your tires frequently.
  3. Drive carefully.

Have Good Driving Habits and Avoid Aggressive Driving

Driving too fast causes tire wear, according to Michelin. In fact, driving faster than 50 mph increases tire wear by up to 20% compared to driving slower speeds. This is because tires are designed to handle loads over a certain speed limit. When you go beyond those limits, the load becomes unevenly distributed across the contact patch, causing increased heat build-up and resulting in greater tire wear.

In addition, aggressive starting and launching can cause damage to the suspension system. If you accelerate hard, the car body moves forward, while the wheels move backward. As a result, the front end of the vehicle lifts off the ground. This forces the rear wheels into the air, which puts even more stress on the suspension components.

As mentioned previously, hard braking and cornering also increase tire wear.

Braking creates friction, which heats up the rubber compound inside the tire. This generates additional force on the sidewalls, pushing them inward. Because of this, the tread depth decreases and the tire wears out faster.

Keep Your Tires Clean

Clean your tires regularly to prevent dirt and debris from building up on the tread. Use a brush to clean off loose material, and wipe down the sides of the tire with a damp cloth. Make sure to wash the tires thoroughly, including under the valve stem and wheel well area.

How to Check Your Tire's Tread Depth

Tire tread depth refers to the amount of rubber left on the tire. When the tread wears down, it becomes thinner, exposing the steel belt inside the tire. As the tread gets thinner, it needs less air pressure to maintain proper contact with the road surface.  You can use a tire gauge to measure the thickness of the tread.

More tires have wear indicators that are bars in between the tread pattern. When these are worn down, these indicators will be at the same depth as the tread. When this is the case, it's time to get new tires. 

Why Do New Car Tires Wear Out So Fast

Checking the Tread Depth With a Penny

You'll need a penny and a ruler. Place the penny upside down in the tread groove with Lincoln's head facing down. If you can't see the top of Lincoln's head, your tread depth is at least 2/32 inch, which is the minimum recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. So look at Abraham Lincolns head to help you determine if you need new tires.

The best way to determine whether your tire tread is worn out is to look at the tread pattern.

  • Look at the grooves in the center of the tire. Do they seem even?
  • Are there sections where the tread looks very worn? You might need a 4 wheel alignment in order to correct it. 

If you skip the alignments, you will be shortening the life of your tires and you will need to replace tires sooner before the warranty is up. 

How Often Should I Change My Tires?

If your car is over 20 years old, you probably want to change your tires every 5 years. Newer vehicles usually require replacing tires every 7 years or 10 years. However, many people keep their tires longer than necessary because they're afraid of having to pay extra money to replace tires. But, most modern tires come with a warranty that covers them for at least three years or 50,000 miles. 

It's recommended to replace tires in pairs and order the same model and size. However, I have mixed tires in the past. It's not ideal but it does work in a pinch.

You can find information about your vehicle's recommended tire replacement schedule online. Also, check your owner's manual. Many manufacturers recommend changing your tires at specific mileage intervals. 

Why Do New Car Tires Wear Out So Fast

How Do You Know If You Need New Tires?

Have a mechanic check the condition of your tires. Any damage to the sidewall or bubbles should be addressed immediately. These are not safe on the highway and can lead to blowouts. 

Here are the top reasons to replace tires asap.

  • If you have any bubbles or sidewall damage, it's time to replace tires. 
  • If you have any dry rot, it's time to replace tires. 
  • If your tread is worn to the nylon threads, it's time to replace tires. 
  • If the outer edge is worn significantly, it's time to replace tires. 
Why Do New Car Tires Wear Out So Fast

If you notice any vibrations or shaking while driving, it might be a sign that something else needs attention. A cracked rim or damaged sidewall could cause your car to vibrate. Or it could be a sign that your tires aren't aligned correctly. Either way, you should schedule a professional alignment inspection to see if it's time to replace tires.

In Conclusion

So we have covered the ins and outs of tires, as tires are an essential part of a car's safety system. They help keep your vehicle stable and prevent it from veering off course. However, because they're made of rubber, they eventually wear out over time. This means that you'll need to replace them sooner than you'd like. 

Before heading to the shop though, check your owner's manual to ensure that you know which type of tire you need. Then, look online to compare prices and read reviews. Finally, ask your mechanic for recommendations. With these three steps under your belt, you'll be able to save money and avoid unnecessary frustration. We will be covering more tire brands and reviews in other articles. 

In the next article in our tire series, I'll tell you exactly where to shop to save hundreds of dollars every year.

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Anthony Santiago - Editor-in-Chief

About the author

I am a passionate car enthusiast who likes to help people save money and avoid headaches when it comes to cars. I believe that everyone can find the right car at the right price. I share my tips and experience so you can learn quickly and maximize your next SUV, truck or car purchase.

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