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How Long Can Tires Typically Last?

Car owners often ask how long their vehicle’s tires will last before they would have to replace them. A general consensus is tires should be inspected regularly. They for sure need to be replaced after 10 years even if they are not worn.

You can determine the age of your tires by looking at the code on the sidewall. The 4-digit number is the date code that identifies the age of the tire. The first two numbers indicate the week of the year it was made (out of 52 weeks per year), and the second two numbers represent the year.

To find out how long a set of tires would last on your car, you will have to calculate the number of miles you drive each year. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average American drives between 14,000 and 15,000 miles a year. For a used car, start with the mileage reading when you first got the vehicle. Then compare that with the advertised warranty of the make and model of the tires.

Obviously, rough driving on a car will shorten the life of your tires. In the winter, you can switch to snow tires for better traction, stability and stopping power.

Here are basic maintenance tips to ensure the condition of their tires are always excellent on the road.


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a tire should be changed once its tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch. The easiest way to check the tread of a tire is to place a penny upside down in the tread groove of the tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it means the treads are shallow and worn and the tire needs to be replaced.


Check your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended level for tire pressure. This can be found in the vehicle’s doorjamb or owner’s manual. Keep a handheld tire pressure gauge in your car so you can regularly check your tire pressure. It is best to check tire pressure when the tires are cold.


Rotating your tires can help prolong tire life. The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) recommends tires be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.


Vibration in your steering wheel, floorboard, or seat means your tires need balancing. Balancing all four wheels reduces wear on your tires and creates a smoother ride. Auto experts say a good rule of thumb is to have your tires rebalanced after every 12,000 miles or every other time your tires are rotated.

Wheel Alignment

A wheel alignment helps ensure all four tires are correctly angled with each other and the road. If the wheels are misaligned, the driver will experience a drop in handling capability. Follow the recommended interval in the car owner's manual or have wheel alignment checked once or twice a year.

When in the market for a used car, stop by Carousel Preowned.  Carousel Preowned serving Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, North Liberty, Marion, and Coralville, IA, is proud to be an automotive leader in our community. We do our best to ensure your complete satisfaction every time you step into our car dealership. This is why we offer the widest selection of used and pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs and provide true ease of purchase in Iowa.

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