5 Tips for Longer-Lasting Tires According to Consumer Reports

If you drive anything short of a tank or a plane (and some other stuff, I guess), then you have to deal with buying tires. Although buying tires can be a drag for many drivers, there are some things you can do for longer-lasting tires and ultimately save you some cabbages in the long run. Consumer Reports offers a few suggestions for just such an occasion. 

The proper tire pressure can make for longer-lasting tires

Taking care of your tires is not very difficult it just requires a little bit of knowledge and consistency. The first and one of the most important things you can do to support longer-lasting tires is by keeping an eye on tire pressure. 

large collection of tires sitting behind a man
An Arrows mechanic checks the Bridgestone tires | Mark Thompson /Allsport

Consumer Reports states that you should take a look at your tire pressure at least once a month, especially in the colder months. Cold air condenses and, in turn, can deflate your tires slightly. Riding on low-pressure tires or deflated tires can make them wear more quickly and even make your car handle poorly. Look inside the doorjamb of your car to find the proper tire pressure and keep a tire pressure gauge in your car at all times. If you don’t have one, stop by a tire shop near you, and they should have plenty of options. 

Look out for those potholes!

Potholes can be a major tire killer. Many major cities and rural roads can be littered with potholes. These propose two major risks to your tires. The first is the more dramatic and damaging of the two, hitting a pothole at high speeds and rupturing a tire. We don’t want that. So, slow down when you see potholes and try to avoid them completely if you can.

A car drives past potholes and broken asphalt on a road in Los Angeles, California, on Friday, January 21, 2011
Potholes abound in a road in Los Angeles | Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The second danger of potholes is they can throw out your car’s alignment. This is something that happens slowly over time anyway, but potholes can certainly speed that up. Having your car out of alignment can wear tires unevenly and require premature replacement. Along with alignment, you should also have your tires rotated every 5,000-8,000 miles. Think about it like changing your oil. 

Don’t light ‘em up

This should go without saying, but you are burning them up anytime you can hear your tires or smell them. Doing donuts, drifting, or even barking your tires when you take off quickly is one of the fastest ways to ruin a set of tires. Avoid doing this if you want longer-lasting tires. (I feel old even suggesting such a thing.) 


How to Avoid Hitting Potholes and Keep Your Tires and Wheels Protected

Consumer Reports suggests having seasonal tires

You may not know this, but there are many different types of tires for many different driving conditions. The main two kinds of tires worth mentioning are winter and summer tires. Depending on where you live, you may not need winter tires, but if the weather stays below 40 degrees for over a month, they may be worth it.

The same thing that makes winter/snow tires work is the added tread marks in the tires. Summer tires don’t need as much tread because the road temperature will heat the tire to become more grippy. However, if you run winter tires in the summer, you might find that all that added grip makes extra friction, and friction makes heat which wears down tires much faster. 

It is smart to keep one set of winter/snow tires and wheels and another set for summer. It will be more costly upfront, but switching tires throughout the year can actually save you money in the long run. 

Don’t forget to ask around

Opinions on stuff like tire maintenance can vary from person to person and region to region. Since there are so many different variables for tires and the type of driving you do, keep an open mind and ear when it comes to safe tire maintenance.