A frequent question about tyre maintenance concerns service life. How long will your tyres last before they need replacing?
The answer depends on various factors, such as your driving style, the tread design of the tyre, regional climate, road conditions and how frequently the car is in use.
Another factor is you, the owner. Just like the rest of the vehicle, you have an essential role in the care and maintenance of the tyres on your wheels; they will last longer the better you look after them. You’re also responsible for deciding when it’s time to replace worn tyres with new tyres.
Use the following guidelines to assess the point of maximum service life for your tyres. If you still have questions beyond this article, try consulting a professional at your local tyre retailer; they’ll be more than happy to help.
Continental designs and makes its tyres to provide thousands of miles of excellent service. Achieve maximum benefit from your tyres by taking care to avoid damage from improper use that may shorten their lifespan.
The conditions that you subject your tyres to during daily use – inflation pressure, load, speed, road hazard damage and so on – are key to determining service life. So too is regular rotation and proper storage of your tyres. But since service conditions vary widely from car to car and driver to driver, to apply universal predictions on how long a tyre will last is impossible.
However, you can be proactive and increase the longevity of your tyres through proper maintenance. To avoid having to buy replacement tyres prematurely, things to consider include:
Here’s a simple tip to help in determining the age of your tyres: it’s written on the sidewall! You can calculate the physical age of any car tyre by examining the markings on the tyre sidewall following the “DOT” lettering:
For example, a tyre with XXXXXXX2714 after the DOT lettering has a manufacture date in the 27th week of 2014.
Be aware of the following when you inspect your sidewall markings:
As an example, a tyre with the information “DOT XXXXXXX274◄” was manufactured in the 27th week of 1994.
Continental is not aware of any technical data to support the removal from service of tyres past a specific age. But the same principle applies to the tyres of your vehicle as for any other part of your car – age matters.
Together with other members of the tyre and automotive industries, Continental advises that all tyres (including spare tyres) made more than ten years ago should be removed from service and replaced with new tyres.
You should follow this advice even if:
In short, even though a tyre over ten years old may seem fine for driving, we still recommend getting new tyres for your car. Drivers cannot rely on visual inspection for rubber cracking, wear to the tread or other signs of deterioration due to age. While tyres may appear perfectly functional, their age is a factor for replacement.
Some vehicle manufacturers may recommend a different chronological age at which to replace a tyre. Such guidance comes from their understanding of the specific vehicle application; Continental recommends that drivers pay heed to these instructions.
In any case, most tyres will likely need replacement for worn treads or for other reasons before any recommended removal period. At the same time, a stated removal period in no way alleviates the driver’s responsibility to replace worn tyres when necessary.