If you are like most people, you want three things from your tires: good performance, a low price, and to last a long time. But there’s a saying in racing (and the tire world) that goes something like this: “Cheap, fast, good: pick two”. While there’s no tire that can do all three at once, we can think of a lot of tires that do a really good job of two out of three – but as much as we like to think everyone is an enthusiast, about 95% of people just want their tires to last a long time and to be inexpensive- so let’s talk about how to get the most out of your tires!

First is to make sure you maintain correct tire pressures. The MAX PSI on the side of the tire IS NOT the pressure you should run in the tire, it’s the maximum pressure the tire has been engineered to keep. Your car has the correct PSI in the door jam or in the owner’s manual. The pressure is to be taken cold, so if you’ve driven for more than 15 minutes, your tires have warmed up and will probably have gotten a few more PSI in them. Underinflation will result in the edge of the tire wearing out before the center of the tread – over inflation will result in the center of the tire wearing out prematurely. Some “hyper-milers” like to over inflate their tires for better MPG – but balance the gas savings with the early tire wear and usually the math doesn’t add up – but a couple extra PSI will probably be okay, just not 10 or 15 over. 

Next, keep your car’s suspension well maintained. It is amazing how fast a tire will wear out without a good alignment or poor suspension maintenance. If the car has an alignment issue, it can wear a tire down really, really fast! So if your car is pulling to one side, or if you hit a pothole and the steering wheel is off, your alignment is probably toast and your tires will start wearing out quickly. Even a bad shock absorber can cause a tire to start hopping and will get a cupped wear pattern (every other tread will have wear). Bad shocks will also result in a loss of control in case of an evasive maneuver – so have them checked for leaks if they have more than 30K miles on them. 

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You (probably) aren’t racing, so don’t drive like a race car driver! Mario Andretti had a pit crew and a tire sponsorship – and unlike Mario you probably have to pay for your tires, so if you drive your car hard the tires will likely wear out quickly and you’ll be paying for them sooner, too! Any sudden acceleration, braking or aggressive turning asks a lot of your tires – even if they don’t squeal you can still be wearing them out prematurely – so keep that in mind the next time you hit your favorite offramp. Even the most benign EV now has a lot of torque so they can do a sweet pegleg burnout without even trying. So if that traction control light winks at you a lot, you’re probably wearing down your tires a lot sooner than you hoped! Most tire manufacturers have tires designed for high performance (like the Michelin Pilot SPort 4S) https://www.performanceplustire.com/tires-for-sale/michelin-tires/pilot-sport-4-s-4/ or High Mileage (like the Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 ).

The last thing to do is to make sure you buy the right tire for the kind of driving you plan to do – a sportier tire will usually wear out quickly compared to a higher mileage tire and a high mileage tire on a sports car will result in poor performance. We have seen a lot of people expect their high mileage tires to last a long time with their enthusiastic, spirited driving, but that’s just not being realistic. Generally speaking the higher the UTQG (Universal Tire Quality Grade find the full definition in our Tire Glossary: the more durable the tire is – however, the “Universal” in UTQG isn’t really Universal, as a tire with a 400 UTQG will last twice as long as a 200 UTQG tire from the same manufacturer, the number doesn’t work work with comparing tires from two different manufacturers. 

Keeping these things in mind will help your tires (any money) last as long as possible, and will also keep you safe. So when you do a search for tires, keep that UTQG in mind ask one of our experts about buying the right tires for your driving so you can get the most out of your tires, no matter what you expect!

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