How To Increase Tread Life?

Leave a comment

Tread life is an important factor in maintaining the safety and performance of your tires. But what are some of the factors to improve it? Well, this post covers it all. Let’s begin!

Increase Tread Life

Being a tire engineer, I can tell you that the very first step is considering what is a good tire when it comes to tread wear. A tire which has larger tread depth, harder composition and less grooves/sipes and weight basically do pretty well. And all these are the main factors affecting the tread life, if I only talk about features of the tire. Though after getting good enough tires, its important to keep them balanced, rotated whist ensuring their inflation pressure is adequate. All these things can make your tires last very long.

Get The Right Tire

So what makes a tire great when it comes to tread wear? Well, there are a lot of factors to consider, and I talked about them all below.

Tread Depth

When buying tires make sure you first of all check the tread depth and tread composition. These are two main things.

The tread depth tells how much rubber thickness you have, which is an indirect measure of how long a tire would last. Its no rocket science, the thicker the rubber, the longer the tire would last.

But whats the wear rate on that tire? Well, that can be indirectly understood by checking out the tread’s composition.

Tread Composition

You don’t even have to know the exact polymers in the tire’s composition. Just pressure down on the inflated tire, and see how easy it is to squish a little bit. Does it feel soft. Experiment with other tires and consider the one that is slightly rigid.

Though keep in mind, this does not go for all tires, as winter tires are comparatively softer, and summer tires are very harder. So make sure you compare the ones in the same category.

Sipes and Grooves

Moreover, check the siping on the tread, as well as groove to tread ratio. In most of the cases, the larger the number of sipes, the faster would be the tread wear.

Similarly the larger the tread void ratio, the more pressure the lugs would have to bear and they would wear faster with having greater rolling resistance.

Tire’s Weight

How much weight a tire has can directly affect the overall rolling resistance of the tire. Usually the tire’s with heavier weight have thicker internal construction, and if you don’t need as much durability, you can avoid that.

For example if you need an all-terrain tires for daily driving, and you are mostly staying on roads, you can consider a less aggressive lighter tire that would not only save you fuel money but also wear off slowly compared to aggressive options.

(All-terrain tires give you worse gas mileage compared to on-road tires).

Note that weight actually tells how much pressure each lug has on it. So if the tire is highly voided, even with lower weight the lugs would rub off the road with a greater amount of force.


There are a lot of different ratings that you are going to find on the tire’s sidewalls and the ones affecting tread wear includes:

  • Speed ratings
  • Load Index.
  • UTQG Rating.

Speed rating basically tells how fast a tire can go “safely”, and sure you can have a speed rated tires capable of going up to 200 mph, but do you even need that? With higher speed ratings, rolling resistance also increases, and that causes the tread to wear. (Though its not recommenced to get lower speed ratings then allowed limit for your specific vehicle).

Load Index tell you about how much weight a tire can carry, and again same goes for this one too. Make sure you don’t go overboard with this. For example if you have a light SUV, don’t go for F rated tires until you need to two something heavier.

Lastly, the UTQG rating, can help you out “indirectly”. I am although not a fan of tread wear rating on this, (as it’s not accurate), it can help you out while comparing the two tires under same manufacturer’s name. Read all about it here.

What else can you do to improve tread life?

Alright so I’ve covered everything to look for in the tire sizes, and designs. But there are a few more things that you need to take care off.

All of these basically make your tires less susceptible to different kinds of tread wear patterns.

Proper inflation

Pressure is the main one. Inflation of tires to an optimal levels can do wonders for rolling resistance which in return helps with fuel usage and of course tread wear.

With higher pressure, the tread wear gets reduced significantly. Though make sure you inflate the tires to recommended PSI as specified by the vehicle manufacturer or on the tire sidewall. If you can’t find there, you can check out on the driver’s side step while opening the door.

That’s because over-inflating your tires can have a negative impact on handling performance and safety.

And having said that, the acceptable range for air pressure can go above or below 4-6 PSI the recommended values. But only do it after ensuring the following things I talked about are in place.

Also Note: The pressure of tire should never be checked while it is hot.

Rotate your tires

Regularly rotating your tires can help to ensure that they wear evenly. That’s because tires wear differently on each axle, depending on your vehicle’s type of course.

For example, if you have a Front Wheel Drive (FWD) vehicle, then consider swapping your front tires with rear ones after every 5k miles. (4k if you have a LT size)

Doing so helps a lot because on FWD, the front tires, which are in charge of propelling and handling, and which are just under the heavier engine carrying the weight, get to wear faster compared to rear tires.

And swapping them would close in the gap between the both sets of tires.

The opposite is the case for Rear Wheel Drive vehicles (RWD). There the rear tires wear faster, so they have to “rotated” with the front ones to close in the tread depth gap.

Note: It’s best that you check your tread depth at least once a month, if possible, you don’t even have to use any instrument for that, you can just check your tread depth with a penny.

Align your wheels

Alignment is different form the rotation. Here you check whether the angle of the tire with the road perpendicular to the ground or not.

With time, tires often get unaligned due to a lot of factors (such as hitting a pothole, curb or any other object), and this causes the “camber angle” with the ground, where wheels get to be slightly tilted in or out from vertical position.

This produces unnecessary strain on the edges of the tire and causes uneven wear. (That’s why replacing just one tire is not recommended).

So measuring a tread depth would also give you an idea of whether you need tire alignment or not. Another way to test this out is to see if the vehicle itself is staying straight or not, while moving directionally on highways (do it responsibly though).

A better or should I say recommended way is to just get your tires re-aligned after every 6 months.

Avoid overloading

Overloading your vehicle can put extra stress on your tires and can cause them to wear out more quickly. Is there something in your car, that is just lying there and you don’t need it while traveling/driving? Well, just remove it it’s just extra weight on your tires.

Some folks go as far as to not fill up their tanks all the way up with fuel in order to get a better rolling resistance.

Avoid Harsh Driving

The drive carefully part basically has a lot of things in it for you to consider. Let’s talk them all out.

The first thing is of course, you don’t have to test out your tires every time you drive, I mean sure, if you are actually testing them out, then that’s okay, but if you want to keep the tread life, I’d ask you to consider accelerating as much as needed and trying to avoid taking sharp turns and braking quickly.

Also if there are any bumps, or potholes, consider going over them as slowly as possible.

And if you ever encounter gravely roads, make sure to check out your tires after to see if there are stone stuck in, and try to remove them out.

How Long Do Tires Last On Average?

There are a lot of different answer to this question, as there are a lot of variables involved, yet let me give you a rough idea, considering all types of tires.

On average, all-season tires tend to last between 40,000 to 60,000 miles. Summer tires, which are designed for higher temperatures and dry conditions, tend to have a slightly shorter lifespan, around 25,000 to 40,000 miles.

Winter tires, which are designed for cold temperatures and snowy or icy conditions, tend to have a shorter lifespan than all-season or summer tires, around 15,000 to 25,000 miles. (This is because the rubber compounds in winter tires tend to be softer and wear faster than those in other types of tires).

Touring tires, which are designed for long distance driving and provide a comfortable ride, tend to have a lifespan of around 40,000 to 60,000 miles.

And if I talk about off-road tires which include, all-terrain, mud tires and rugged terrain tires, they can go as little as 15k miles and go for as long as 40k.

(Check all types of off-road tires here).

To Conclude

So in order to improve your fuel economy, make sure you have the right kind of tire size first of all. And if you do, make sure you get your tires aligned every 6 months, rotated every 5k miles, and properly balanced as well.

Also remove any extra weight form your vehicle, and drive humbly.

Leave a Comment