How Long Do Tires Last? Consumer Reports' Treadwear Testing Will Tell You.

More than 256,000 vehicle miles were logged this year to generate our exclusive treadwear ratings

2018 Toyota Camry Photo: John Powers/Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports’ treadwear testing has shown that family-car tires can readily last 70,000 miles or more, based on evaluating eight all-season and 18 performance all-season models. Many all-season light truck and SUV tires can last as long or more, too. Ultra-high-performance tires generally wear quicker. In fact, some tested UHP tires tested in western Texas showed wear that indicates they will last to just 25,000 to 30,000 miles. To make matters worse, most summer tires don’t even carry warranties.

These findings underscore the value of looking at comparative treadwear life based on testing.

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We test all tires to 16,000 miles, excluding winter/snow tires. That is far more than the distance used for the government’s 7,200-mile treadwear test used to assign a treadwear index under the Uniform Tire Quality Grading System. (Incidentally, the 55-year-old government grading program was created when many tires lasted just 15,000 to 20,000 miles.) Given that several all-season and performance all-season tires tested are expected to last for 60,000 miles or more, we think our extended test is better at projecting tread life.

This past year, eight almost identical Toyota Camrys were used in our treadwear test over a six-month period. We tested 64 tires for a total of 1,024,000 tire miles. Technicians drove in 500-mile shifts. These road warriors typically operated two shifts a day, excluding weekends and holidays. To give every tire a fair shot at achieving its wear potential, the test tires were measured, rotated, and pressure checked every 1,000 miles, along with the vehicle being treated to an alignment. 

Your Mileage Will Vary

From this extensive test program, we found that high-scoring all-season tires last about 55,000 to 85,000 miles; performance all-season tires, between 50,000 and 85,000 miles. Two top rated tires from Michelin (the Defender T+H all-season tire and CrossClimate2 all-weather tire in the performance all-season category) projected out to 85,000 miles of tread life in CR’s test.

Rotation is very important for optimum wear, but it might not be practical for all cars. If you are using directional tires, they can be rotated only from the front to rear axles, not side to side unless they are remounted on the wheels. Further, if you use staggered tires with different front and rear size tires, as found on some sports cars, they cannot be rotated from front to rear axles. Consequently, tire manufacturers typically reduce the treadwear warranty by 50 percent for these types of fitments.

Wheel alignment and monthly pressure checks will go a long way in getting the most out of your tires.

Use CR’s tire ratings to find a tire that provides the best balance of grip, handling, and wear to suit your needs. And be sure to check our exclusive tread life ratings.

Gene Petersen

Because I took the tires off my toys as a kid, my mother thought I would be a truck driver—not a tire-testing engineer for more than three decades and counting. I still marvel at how complex and durable tires are and how much they contribute to car performance and safety. When I'm not obsessing over tires, I enjoy carpentry, gardening, and just being outdoors every chance I get.