How Long Do Car Tyres Last?

Few parts on a car are as important as the tyres. The only contact point between our vehicles and the road, they affect handling, acceleration and ride quality.

With that in mind, how long do car tyres last, and when do they need to be replaced? Read on to learn how to find a tyre’s manufacturing date, the average tyre life span, and what accelerates tyre deterioration.

How long do tyres last?

It’s easy to take tyres for granted and not pay much attention to them. In reality, tyres must be well-maintained and replaced at certain intervals.

The consensus among tyre manufacturers and safety groups is that vehicle owners should replace their tyres roughly every 5-6 years. This is reiterated by the European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation (ETRTO), who state that tyres may be considered new for 5 years from the date of manufacture.

What affects a tyre’s lifespan?

Of course, the lifespan of a tyre will depend on the specific tyre you have and your day-to-day use.

For instance, if you regularly drive on incorrectly inflated tyres or expose them to rough road conditions, chances are that the tread will wear more quickly. Likewise, if you’ve picked up any bad driving habits or your wheels aren’t correctly aligned, this too could contribute to a shorter tyre lifespan. Other factors include how the tyre is stored, what sort of care is taken, and the climate you drive in.

What’s more, tyres age according to a chemical process known as oxidisation. This is when the flexible parts of the tyre are exposed to oxygen particles, and the rubber begins to harden. Oxidisation happens whether a tyre is left on a shelf or it is used regularly, beginning from the moment it is manufactured – however, it accelerates at different rates depending on how the tyre is stored.

How to find and read tyre DOT codes

To the unsuspecting eye, all tyres look the same. Take a closer look and you will see that each one is embossed with its own unique set of tyre markings. One of these markings is referred to as a DOT code. You can think of this as a tyre’s birth certificate – so you’ll easily be able to identify how old your tyres are.

The DOT code comprises an alphanumeric string of several characters – but it’s the final 4 digits that we’re interested in. Here’s how to read a DOT code:

  • While there are many markings on a tyre’s sidewall, the DOT code is among the easiest to find because it begins with the letters “DOT”
  • The final four digits indicate the tyre’s production date, for example, 4419
  • The first two digits indicate the calendar week in which the tyre was produced. In this instance, 44. This is followed by the year of production – for example, 19, referring to 2019

While DOT codes are used primarily to track tyres in the event of a product recall, they are handy for predicting the shelf life of a tyre, not least if you have lost your receipts. Remember, the age of your tyre starts from the manufactured date, not from the period you have it fitted. Remember to check the DOT number on your spare tyre too; especially if you’ve never replaced them.

When should a tyre be replaced?

As a rule of thumb, you should use the tyre’s production date alongside its condition when deciding if a replacement is required.

If, for instance, the tread depth falls below 2mm but your tyre is less than 5 years old, it doesn’t mean you should forgo a replacement. On the contrary, any significant loss in tread depth should be treated seriously, as should any other physical defects (cracking, bulging, etc.).

Likewise, even if a tyre looks physically sound, it still might not be suitable to drive on – especially if it hasn’t been stored correctly. The components inside a tyre aren’t indestructible and could separate for any number of reasons without showing any external damage.

Learn more about tyre tread depth

Think your tyres are too old?

Unsure whether your tyres need replacing?

Book our Free Tyre Check and one of our expert technicians will carry out a pressure check, inspect the tread depth and check for signs of wear and damage.

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If your tyres need replacing, we have a wide range of tyres from the best brands. We can also fit your new tyres in any of our stores nationwide.

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Making your life even easier, Halfords Mobile Expert can come to your home or workplace and change your tyres for you.

Available 7 days a week, the service is the most convenient way to get your tyres fitted.

So, what are you waiting for?

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For more tyre buying advice, check out our tyre advice and help centre.

Same day tyre fitting

Did you know that we now offer same day tyre fitting service across our garages nationwide? Simply book online before 1pm and we can replace your tyres the same day to help you get you back on the road safely and swiftly. Please note that availability varies by location. For more information, please head on over to our dedicated same day tyre fitting page where you can find answers to frequently asked questions, choose the right tyres for your vehicle and book your appointment.

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