Consumer Reports Treadwear Testing: How Long Do Tires Last?

No one likes replacing expensive tires, especially prematurely. How do drivers know when it is time to replace a set of tires? Consumer Reports did some treadwear testing to determine just how long winter, summer, and all-season tires will last.

How many miles do tires last?

Consumer Reports Treadwear Testing: How Long Do Tires Last?
Consumer Reports treadwear testing: how long do tires last? | Philippe Huguen/AFP via Getty Images

In true Consumer Reports fashion, the experts logged more than 265,000 miles to test treadwear ratings on tires accurately. In the testing, Consumer Reports determined that many family car tires can last 70,000 or more. This number is based on evaluations done on eight all-season tires and 18 performance all-season tires.

All-season options for light trucks and SUVs also lasted 70,000 miles or longer. The CR testing found that ultra-high-performance (UHP) tires tended to wear out faster. Some of these tests in western Texas using a UHP variety only lasted 25,000 to 30,000 miles.

For most of the trials, Consumer Reports ran each tire for 16,000 miles, excluding winter tires. The experts used eight fairly identical Toyota Camry vehicles to study the treadwear over six months. The experts tested 64 varieties for a total of 1,024,000 miles over 500-mile per day shirts.

All-season tires seemed to last the longest, but don’t forget to rotate

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Testing showed that high-scoring all-season tires generally lasted between 55,000 and 85,000 miles. Performance all-season tires came in just below that at 50,000 to 85,000 miles. Michelin has two options in this category. The Defender T+H all-season and the CrossClimate2 all-weather performance both projected out to 85,000 miles of tread.

But mileage isn’t the only important factor. Consumer Reports says to be mindful of rotating tires if that is appropriate.

“Rotation is very important for optimum wear, but it might not be practical for all cars. If you are using directional tires, they can be rotated only from the front to rear axles, not side to side unless they are remounted on the wheels.” 

Consumer Reports

If your vehicle has wheels with staggered sizes, you cannot rotate these. Having staggered wheels (different sizes in the front/back) also reduces the treadwear warranty by 50% due to the added wear.

How often should these be replaced?

Kelley Blue Book says that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that tires should be changed six years, regardless of the mileage. How often you change your tires is dependant on a few factors, though. How many miles driven, how well the tires are cared for, and even where you park daily can impact its life.

Drivers can monitor the pressure by using a pressure gauge to ensure enough air is in each one. You can add more air at a gas station or shop to ensure even wear. It is suggested that you never over-inflate as this can also cause uneven wear.

Driving a lot and parking outside can bring on premature wear. Wet conditions and snow can cause the tread life to wear down more quickly as well. Keeping an eye on the treadwear of your set of tires is essential to make sure your car stays safe on the road.

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