The modern world has made most things easier, but some things never change. One of those things is wearing out tyres – even Elon Musk can’t fix that!

So how long do tyres last, and how do you check your tyres? Whether you buy your own tyres, or drive a GoGet and let us buy them for you, understanding tyre wear is a crucial skill for any driver.how long do tyres last

How long do tyres last?

While it varies, you should have your tyres checked by a mechanic every 10,000km, or every 12 months. Consider changing your tyres every 30,000 – 40,000km, or every 5-10 years.

Advice on how long tyres last ranges from 10,000 to 50,000km, but the NRMA recommends changing them around every 40,000km. If these numbers seem high, remember tyre technology has come a long way.

Both the time and distance between tyre changes depends heavily on the type of car, how you drive, as well as environmental factors.

How tyre tread works

The patterns on your tyres look cool, but they’re not just for show! They’re called tread, and help keep you on the road. Different treads are used for different conditions, though Australians rarely need to worry about seasonal tyres, like snow tyres.

Without tread, tyres slip around very easily, making for very dangerous driving. The deepest channels throw off excess water, stopping your car from hydroplaning. The shallower those channels, the more water can get between your tyres and the road, making you slide uncontrollably.

How to check your tyres

You should check how far your tread has worn down each month. Most tyres have a tread wear indicator which looks like a rubber dam in the channels. An arrow on the outside of your tyre will point to where these raised bumps are found. When your tread wears to the level of the bumps, it’s time to replace your tyres.

If this is all too much, your mechanic will let you know if your tread is getting low when they service your car. Your spare tyre also needs to be checked regularly.

What affects tyre wear?

All tyres wear out, but some things speed up the process.

Road conditions: Driving on surfaces your tyres aren’t made for shortens their lifespan. Offroading, driving on unsealed roads, or driving on ice with the wrong tyres will wear them down faster than normal road driving.

Inflation: Tyres are meant to be kept at a specific level of inflation, generally around 30psi, but it varies. If your tyres are too soft or too hard, it can affect the speed at which they wear out. Check your tyres are inflated to the PSI written on the side wall each month.

Sudden braking: If you often break hard or zoom round corners, you’ll wear down your tread faster than normal driving. Instead, ease your car into stops and turns.

Speed: The faster you go, the more friction there is between your tyres and the road. People who drive fast will replace more tyres than people who drive slower.

Climate: Extreme heat or cold will affect your tyres. Extremes affect the rubber your tyres are made from, but also the pressure of the air inside them.

How to make tyres last longer

While some factors effecting tyre wear are uncontrollable, there are things you can do to make your tyres last longer.

Stay out of the sun: Parking your car in the shade will protect the rubber in your tyres.

Drive carefully: Sudden stops, speeding, and skidding will wear your tyres down faster than careful driving.

Keep your tyres inflated: Keeping your tyres at the correct PSI will both prevent tyre wear and increase fuel economy. Most service stations will have a free air pump.

Wheel rotation: Tyres wear differently on the front, back, left, or right of your car. Changing your wheels to different places helps them wear down more evenly. It’s worth doing this every 5,000 – 10,000km. You can do this yourself if you know how to change a tyre, but your mechanic can too. If you’re a GoGet member, we’ll do it for you.

Here’s a video from Ford Australia that explains the wheel rotation process in more detail:

Get your wheels aligned: If your wheels are out of alignment, your tyres will wear down faster. Your mechanic should check this in your yearly service, but if you ever notice your steering wheel wobbling at higher speeds, get it checked right away.

Pair tyres properly: Tyres on the same axle should be of a similar age and wear, otherwise they’ll wear even faster. Try to buy full sets of matched tyres, and don’t drive on your spare wheel for too long (or rotate it with your normal wheels). 

Load your vehicle properly: Extra weight on one side of your vehicle places undue pressure on tyres on that side, causing them to wear down faster.

Tyre maintenance 101

Looking after your tyres isn’t rocket science, it’s just about building good habits. Drive safely, check your tyre tread and PSI monthly, and have your mechanic rotate and align them regularly. Just those three things will help your tyres live a long life.

If you’d like to pass on the cost and hassle of tyre maintenance, there are alternatives. GoGet is an easy way to use different types of cars without owning them, and is often cheaper than owning a car. Learn more about GoGet to see if it’s right for you.

 

 

 

 

About Tim Beau Bennett

Tim is an ex-journalist and radio presenter, and has been a professional writer for over a decade. He regularly writes about technology, lifestyle, and smart cities, and has written for news site including the ABC, SBS, and Australian Financial Review.