Tires are a significant and unavoidable part of your vehicle's maintenance requirements. They will cost three to four figures on average, so you're going to want to make them last as long as possible.
How many miles a set of tires lasts is going to depend in large part on what you spend. Typically, you get what you pay for, and the more you spend, the more miles you'll get.
Some all-season tires come with an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty, but that doesn't mean they're guaranteed to last that long. Most tires last around 40,000 miles, mainly because theyre not maintained well.
The total mileage you get out of a set of tires depends on the tire's compound, how you drive, and how well you maintain your vehicle.
The Importance of Alignment
Most tire shops won't honor a tire warranty unless you had your vehicle aligned at the time of purchase. This work means that they check and make fine adjustments to each wheel and its relationship to the road surface, making sure it tracks just as it ought to.
When an alignment is perfect, the vehicle will be more prone to driving in a straight line, and its tires will wear evenly.
The Importance of Rotation
Tire rotation is crucial for most cars. Unless you're driving something like a Corvette or a McLaren, which have different tire sizes on different axles, you will need to have your tires rotated regularly. Most manufacturers recommend rotating your tires every 5,000 miles for optimal tread life.
This information may not be a surprise, but again, the better the brand, the better the tire.
It's worth spending a little more for a set of tires upfront to save yourself the hassle of suffering through manufacturer's defects, wonky tires that don't perform like the others in the same set, or drastically low mileage. You'll want to stick with the well-recognized brands, such as:
Going with a Chinese brand you can't pronounce may give you a headache you don't want to have. Better to play it safe.
When to Replace and What to Spend
Tires need to be replaced when the tread has worn down to the wear bar embedded in your tread, which is an eighth of an inch of tread depth. You should also consider replacing tires that are unevenly worn or blistered but make sure you get an alignment at the same time.
Most cars today will require a spend of at least around $600 for a set of four tires, mounted and balanced. More realistically, look to budget $1,000 for the average car, SUV, or minivan.
Sometimes an alignment may be included with this, but most of the time, it won't.
Most modern cars have tire pressure monitoring system sensors that must be replaced every time a tire is dismounted from a wheel, and while that adds to the upfront cost, it also easily pays for itself by warning you when a tire's inflation pressure is too low.
Your new set of tires should easily last 50,000 miles or more if you buy smart, get an alignment, keep an eye on your air pressures, and rotate the tires every 5,000 miles.