How Often to Change Tires

Updated on June 2, 2022

Every six years, regardless of the number of miles travelled, the NHTSA recommended that tyres be replaced. The key to tyre care is to keep the pressure in the tyres at the proper level. This will give you a lot of headaches in the long run if your tyres are under or overinflated.

How often should you replace your tires?

Tires, unlike air filters and motor oil, do not have a defined replacement schedule. As a result, the number of miles they’ve travelled and their age all play a role in how long they last. When deciding how often to change your tyres, keep these three factors in mind.

Wear

They wear out more quickly because they’re in direct contact with a road’s surface, which means they’re vulnerable to the forces of friction. Wear bars” are used by today’s tyre manufacturers to indicate the wear of the tread. When it’s time to change your tyres, you’ll see wear bars, which are rubber strips moulded into the tread. It’s time to replace your tyres if you observe three or more wear bars.

Mileage

Every 25,000 to 80,000 miles is the recommended replacement interval for most modern tyres. As a rule of thumb, performance-oriented tyres typically have a shorter life span than those that are less so. Touring-style tyres last longer and wear out less quickly than performance tyres because they are softer and therefore better able to grip the road at higher speeds.

Age

Even if you haven’t gone near the mileage limit, tyre manufacturers like Goodyear, Michelin, and Bridgestone recommend replacing tyres when they’re six years old. Light, pollution, and chemicals all contribute to tyre degradation. Regardless of how little driving you do each year, it’s a good idea to replace your tyres as soon as possible because of their age.

Why do tires need to be replaced?

Tires are no exception to the rule that no mechanical element lasts indefinitely. Basic maintenance such as rotation, alignment, and air pressure might expire sooner than expected—possibly in the form of a flat or blowout—if ignored. It doesn’t matter why a pair of tyres needs to be replaced; eventually, they will, and failing to do so could put you in danger while driving.

Decreased traction

There is a sliver of asphalt between your car and the ground, about the size of your hand. On dry roads, the contact points don’t even need any sort of tread to function properly. Tires with no tread can still be used on the road, but with some heat buildup due to the cooling effect of the treads.

When it’s raining, snowing, or icy, you won’t be able to control your automobile if it has slippery tyres. If you watch Formula 1, you’ll see that when it starts to rain, the drivers promptly swap to tyres with grooves for wet weather. The only way to get water out of the way is to pump it. It’s easier for the rubber to stick to the road when it’s wet because the water is channelled away from the tire’s surface. Throttle depth is crucial at this juncture, and the greater the tread depth, the better.

Poor braking and steering

New tyres bring with them a sharp and responsive steering response, which you’ve certainly felt firsthand. In addition, the smoothness and stability of fresh tyres in the corners creates a sense of confidence. The tire’s ability to dissipate heat generated by road contact decreases as its rubber degrades. As the tread wears, the tyre will lose its capacity to cool. Tires with hot, slick surfaces can cause issues with braking and steering, such as being unable to stop fast or take curves at high speeds.

More susceptible to puncture

Tires lose their protection when the tread wears away. Rubber between the road and the air inside of a slick or highly worn tyre is very low in density. Road debris and even little nails can damage a tyre, causing a blowout.

How to tell when your tires are worn out

I use a Garmin and Strava to keep track of my rides, but I have no idea how far my tyres have gone. So, I’ll have to rely on the more obvious evidence that it’s time to replace my tyres: the tread on my tyres.

Tread

A pattern of groove cut-outs can be seen on the tread of a road bike tyre. There is a lot more to these than simply a pretty face. Tire wear can also be seen by looking at the tread depth.

As the tyres wear, the grooves will get smaller and smaller until they are completely flat. Some tyres even contain circular perforations in the tread so that you can tell exactly how much tread there is remaining.

You’ll have less traction on the road and be more prone to flats if your tyres have less tread.

More frequent punctures

In that vein, if you find yourself getting more and more punctures on your rides, it’s probably time to invest in a new set of tyres. Because of the smaller walls, there is less space between the inner tube and any sharp items.

It’s worth checking for thorns or other debris, though. Why waste a perfectly fine tyre that simply needs a sharp thing removed from it? That’s absurd.

Dry-rot

This is more likely to occur if your tyres are old and in need of replacement. Cracks are most likely to appear on the side walls. Signs are emerging that the rubber is beginning to break down.

It’s best to change your tyres when they show signs of dry-rot. If you continue to use them, they will quickly degrade.

What to do with your tires

What do you do with your tyres when the tread is so low that you can no longer drive on them? The tyres on your wheels need to be replaced, and I’m hoping you or someone you know can help. However, I’m thinking of including instructions on how to accomplish it in a subsequent post.

If you want to be able to ride immediately after a tyre blows, you should have a spare on hand.

Rotate

The front and rear tyres of your car wear down at various rates, much like on a car. As a rule, the rear tyre will degrade first, followed by the front. It’s possible to alternate the wear of your tyres, just as you would on a car.

To maximise the duration between tyre replacements, this technique requires that both tyres be purchased at once.

Move it back (now y’all)

Rather than swapping your front and back tyres, you can acquire a new front tyre and transfer your old front tyre to the rear wheel. As a result, it means that you’ll have to buy tyres more regularly, although only once every few months.

For the most part, I believe that people rotate their tyres and those who move their front wheel back are about evenly split. Also, I’ve heard of folks purchasing a second back wheel and mounting the old tyres on it to use as a training wheel.

Whichever

Once one of your tyres goes flat, you may simply replace it with the next one that needs to be replaced. This is a great tactic for minimising work and stress, but I prefer a more in-depth approach to tyre positioning.

Clean slate

It’s possible to replace both tyres at the same time if you’re willing to put up with the inconvenience or simply enjoy working on your bike.

Despite the fact that I don’t recommend it, it does work. When you’re driving, you’ll almost always have new tyres. Due to how frequently you buy and how much you spend each time, it’s the most expensive alternative.

In Bulk

There’s nothing wrong with buying a bunch of tyres at once if you have the storage room. If you’re only going to have one spare tyre, why not have six? In a technical sense, this is true for all of the approaches. You should always have a spare tyre on hand.

I hope that I’ve given you the confidence to know when it’s time to replace your tyres, so you don’t have to worry about running out of gas.

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