Regularly rotating and changing your car’s tires are important parts of your maintenance schedule. But even if you’re not buying the most expensive car tires, quality ones don’t come cheap. So, naturally, most people want to make sure they’re getting their money’s worth when it comes to longevity. Especially if they’re buying all-seasons, even though they’re really not for ‘all seasons.’ In that vein, Nokian Tyres recently announced a new all-season tire, the One, that claims to last up to 80,000 miles. But can it really?
The Nokian Tyres One all-season tire
Although Finnish company Nokian Tyres is arguably less well-known in the US than, say, Michelin, it has an extensive history. It was the first company to create a dedicated winter/snow tire, for example. And its Hakkapeliitta line is one of the best winter tires you can buy, Car and Driver reports.
However, Nokian Tyres also makes all-season tires. And in a recent press release, the company claims it developed its newest model, the One, specifically for the North American market. In particular, the potholes that ravage many of our roads.
Like every other tire, the Nokian Tyres One isn’t just made of rubber. But few if any car tires on the market today use Aramid fibers in their sidewalls. That’s the same material used in bulletproof vests and “spacecraft landing cushions,” Road & Track explains. And it’s what Nokian Tyres claims gives the One such a high degree of pothole protection, by better absorbing the jarring impact. And as a side-effect, the One has an 80,000-mile tread-life warranty, Forbes reports.
To be fair, this isn’t the first Nokian Tyres product with these fibers. Some of the tiremaker’s truck and SUV tires, including the Hakkapeliitta R3 and R2, have them, Car and Driver reports. But this is the first time the company has released a car tire with the technology. And in a show of confidence, Nokian Tyres’ no-cost Pothole Protection warranty will replace any road-hazard-damaged unrepairable car tire free of charge.
Plus, the company claims the One has lower rolling resistance and better braking performance than its predecessor, the Entyre 2.0, Motor1 reports.
Is an 80,000-mile tread-life warranty on a car tire unusual?
Tread-life warranties differ not just between tire brands, but also between a manufacturer’s specific models. A summer tire, for example, typically doesn’t last as long as an all-season one, because of its tread designs and softer compounds. But without those treads and compounds, summer car tires wouldn’t grip as well.
With that in mind, is Nokian Tyres’ claim about its new tire’s tread-life warranty unusually long? Not necessarily. The all-season Michelin Defender T+H, for example, has a 90,000-mile tread-life warranty. And another Michelin all-season car tire, the CrossClimate +, has a 75,000-mile warranty. So, while the One’s warranty length is on the higher end, it’s not the longest-lasting warranty on the market.
Plus, the One isn’t the only tire with ‘bulletproof vest’ materials; several other tiremakers use Kevlar in their products, Forbes reports.
When should you replace your tires?
As practically tires do nowadays, the Nokian Tyres One has a built-in way to let you know when it should be replaced. It’s called the Driving Safety Indicator, and all of the Finnish company’s tires have one.
In the One’s case, it’s a block of numbers indicating the % of remaining tread: 100%, 80%, 60%, and 40%. There’s also a rain-drop symbol. When it wears away, the One’s “hydroplaning capabilities are no longer optimal,” the company claims.
In other tiremakers’ tires, you can eyeball the tread life with the wear bears, Kelley Blue Book explains. These are little rubber “bridges” within the treads’ grooves. If the bars are level with the top of the treads, your tire needs to be replaced.
If you’re unsure about using the wear bars, or can’t see them because of the tire’s position, you can just measure the tread depth. The ‘traditional’ way is using a coin, such as a penny, and seeing if you can see the top of the president’s head when you put it in the groove. However, that can actually be misleading, Tire Rack reports.
The ‘penny test’ tells you when your car tire has about 2/32” of tread, Car and Driver reports. But that’s an unsafe amount of tread—if you were to drive in the rain, you could hydroplane. What you should really be doing is using a quarter, The Drive reports. The top of Washington’s head corresponds to 4/32” of tread depth. You still need to replace the tire, but you have enough tread remaining to drive reasonably safely.
Age also factors into tire replacement. If you haven’t worn out the treads, you should ideally replace your tires every six years, Car and Driver reports. And regardless of the remaining tread, do not drive on any tires over 10 years old.
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