Consumer Reports’ treadwear testing has shown that family-car tires can readily last 70,000 miles or more, as recorded last year based on evaluating 49 all-season models. This year, we evaluated ultra-high-performance tires, finding that ultra-high-performance tires can’t make half that distance. 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 matter matters worse, most summer tires don’t even carry warranties.

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

When we last tested UHP tires, back in 2013, we reported treadwear as a rating, rather than a predicted mileage. For our most recent treadwear test, we expanded from 12,000 to 16,000 miles. That’s more than double the mileage of the government’s 7,200-mile treadwear test used to assign a treadwear index under the Uniform Tire Quality Grading System. (Incidentally, the government grading program just turned 50 years old. It was created when many tires lasted just 15,000 to 20,000 miles.) Given that some of the UHP tires tested are expected to last for 60,000 miles or more, we think our extended test is better at projecting tread life.

Eight virtually identical sporty Ford Mustangs were used in our treadwear test over a six-month period. (The Scion FR-S pictured was used for all of our track testing.) We tested 96 tires for a total 1,536,000 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. Along the way, we faced a few interruptions that included routine car maintenance, a deer hit that took out a car, and the occasional road closure due to flooding—Texas had wet season this year. 

Your Mileage Will Vary

From this extensive test program, we found that high-scoring UHP summer tires last about 35,000 to 40,000 miles, including the top-rated Michelin Pilot Super Sport. Add another 20,000 miles or so for most high-scoring UHP all-season tires. The treadwear champ is the Goodyear Eagle Sport A/S with an impressive 70,000-mile wear projection in our test. But expect lower mileage if you drive aggressively and or have a high-horsepower car.

Rotation is very important for optimum wear, but it may not be practical for all cars. If you are using directional tires, they can only be rotated 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, 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 treadwear ratings.