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12 Tire Buying Tips


8
Selecting Tires Based on Tread Wear
A manufacturer's estimate on how long a tire should last is based on their testing and not always on real-world conditions.
A manufacturer's estimate on how long a tire should last is based on their testing and not always on real-world conditions.
Brian Stablyk/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Tire longevity is dependent on several factors, which include your driving habits, the elevation of where you live, climate, road conditions and the manufacturer's tire longevity estimate. The harder the road conditions, the faster your tire will wear down.

Curvy roads, pot holes and other road conditions will cause the tread to wear down faster. If you're the type to make long burn-outs on the road, we probably don't have to tell you that your tires won't last as long as they're supposed to either.

The average mileage length for all-season tires is about 40,000 to 100,000 miles (64,374 to 160,934 kilometers) [source: ConsumerSearch]. Other types of tires typically won't last as long. High-performance all-season tires will have a longevity of 40,000 to 70,000 miles (64,374 to 112,654 kilometers) and top-performance tires don't even have a guaranteed tread life and usually don't last more than 25,000 miles (40,234 kilometers) [source: Motor Trend].

A manufacturer's estimate on how long a tire should last is based on their testing and not always on real-world conditions [source: Cook]. To determine how the tires you're purchasing will wear, look for the tire's Uniform Tire Quality Grading, or UTQG. The UTQG is the U.S. Department of Transportation's labeling system for the tread wear, temperature resistance and traction of each type of tire [source: Cook]. A tire with a UTQG tread wear of 300 is predicted to last three times longer than a tire with a UTQG of 100. A scale of A to C is used for temperature ratings, and a scale of AA to C is used for traction ratings.

Although the UTQG can help you compare tire longevity within a single brand, the grading system can be interpreted in different ways between different brands. So using the UTQG between two different brands may not be beneficial [source: Tire Rack].

If you buy an average all-season tire, you can probably expect it to last several years under normal driving conditions and even longer depending on what road conditions you encounter, how you drive and what type of tire you purchase.

On the next page, we'll learn why it's a good idea to use the manufacturer recommended size and tire type.