A tyre doesn’t really have a specific lifespan. It’s going to depend on how you drive the car, the design of the tyres that you have, the climate, road conditions, and where your car is parked at night.
Here's some guidelines on what to look for to make sure your tyres are safe:
Obviously, if the tread has worn down, and you don't have enough grip on the road, it's time to replace your tyres before you end up in an accident. But what else should you look for?
Proper care will make your tyres last longer. This means checking air pressure, tread wear, wheel alignment.
Looking after your tyres will extend their lifespan.
Tyres become unsafe over time as they age, and with general wear and tear.
It’s important that you have matching tyres that are suitable for the roads and speeds you drive.
Check the correct size of tyres for your car in your car owner’s manual, or on a sticker on your car driver’s door. Here you will also find the correct tyre pressure. (add picture).
It’s really easy to take care of your tyres, you don’t need any mechanical skills.
Ideally you want to do this when the tyres are cold, to get the most accurate reading. When you drive the tyres will warm up and the air expands, so your reading will be a little high.
The correct pressure will be found in your car manual.
Vibrations, or other disturbances that occur while you are driving could indicate you have a damaged tyre - if you can’t see what could be wrong, it pays to have it checked by a professional.
⅓ of Australians drive with illegal tyre tread, and 89% of Aussies don’t know the minimum tread for road worthiness.
This is a lot! If you’re travelling on worn tyres at 80 kmph, you will need 95m to bring your car to a stop, compared to only 69m if you have brand new tyres.
Standing outside your car, you can do a quick check for ‘camber’. This means any tilt of the tyres either towards or away from the frame of the car. If the tyres are on a slight tilt towards the car at the top, the tread will wear faster on the inside first. If they tip out a bit, then the outside of the tyre will wear quicker. Check the front tyres standing in front of the bonnet, and the rear tyres from a position behind the centre of the boot.
The second thing to check while you’re there is the stance of the tyres. If the fronts of the tyres are closer together, in a ‘pigeon-toed’ position’, you’ll get uneven wear from the outside. If the rear of the tyres is closer, they tires will wear from the outside.
Correct wheel alignment is really important for safety too, it makes braking and cornering more smoother and more effective.
If you’re old enough you’ll remember having swings and sandpits made from tractor and car tyres when you were a kid.
You don’t see these around so much any more, but there’s been a big shift to recycling tyres in Australia. There’s a company in Melbourne pioneering new technology and processes to reduce the old tyres to oil and carbon, recovering the steel reinforcement used in manufacturing the tyre at the same time.
Better yet, oil produced in this way still has the same performance, but lower emissions.
I hope this information will help you understand the important role the tyres on your car have, and gives you some useful knowledge on how to make your tyres last longer.