3 Steps to Get the Most Mileage Out of Your Tires

by Travis Pizel · 10 comments

Driving down the road with my son, I heard a, “ding” as a light illuminated on the dashboard. One of the tires on our van had low air pressure. This is the second time in a week that the driver’s side rear tire has lost pressure.

The first time I attributed it to a drastic drop in temperature, but twice in such a short period of time likely means it has a leak. We immediately went to the tire center, where I only recently had two new tires put on the van.

Not only were we going to have the tires repaired, my newly licensed son was going to get a lesson in car maintenance as we waited for our tire to be looked at.

If your car’s in need of new tires, here’s how to get biggest bang for your buck and ensure the mileage is fully expended before replacing them.

Tires are not an expense you want to pay for on a regular basis. Purchasing a set of four quality tires will run somewhere between $400 and $600.

So it’s imperative that you take actions to ensure your purchase lasts as long as possible.

  1. Keep them inflated: Both of our vehicles have a tire pressure gauge in the glove box. Our van will tell us when a tire is low, but it won’t tell us which one. Improperly inflated tires will wear unevenly causing them all to wear out sooner. It also results in poor gas mileage, so you’re wasting gas and resources. I like to check our tires about once-a-week, and I’m teaching my son to do the same.
  2. Perform regular tire rotations: The tires that “drive” the car will wear out faster. For example, both of our cars are front wheel drive, therefore tires on the front will wear more quickly. If the tires are not rotated every 8,000-10,000 miles they will wear down much faster. But how do you remember when you last had your tires rotated properly? Keep a small piece of paper in the same little folder as your insurance information and registration. Each time I get an oil change, I check my rotation log to see if it’s time to have them rotated.
  3. Pick the right tire center: The place where I buy tires offers free replacement of tires that get punctured as long as it’s not due to my own negligence. They also will rotate the tires for free. It’s definitely nice to not to have to worry about these maintenance costs. So look for a tire center who offers these perks.

We were in-and-out of the tire center in less than 15 minutes. Our tire was repaired free of charge, and my son was a little more knowledgeable on how to get the most out of a set of tires.

What’s another way to extend the life of tires? How do you get the most mileage out of your car’s tires?

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  • Shammy Peterson says:

    I like that you suggested choosing a tire center that offers free replacement of tires. My husband and I need to have our car’s tires replaced since they are old and have signs of cracks. We have a family trip next week, so we need to ensure that our car is in proper condition. We will do your tips to save money, for sure.

  • Thomas Clarence says:

    I like how you mentioned that it is a good idea to check your tires at least once a week to make sure that they are properly inflated. My truck has been needing new tires for a while now, and this week I have decided that I am going to take it to a mechanic to get four new ones installed. I’ll be sure to check the pressure in them regularly so that I can make sure I am using them efficiently.

  • UH2L says:

    Some good basic information but there is much more!
    – Buy tires with a high treadware rating (although there can be compromises with respect to traction, to be made.)
    – Underinflation is bad but so is extreme overinflation. It can lead to uneven tire wear at the center of the tread.
    – Alignment (as mentioned by Gwen) prolongs tire life, prevents uneven wear
    – Don’t do hard steering while the car is stationary. This adds the equivalent of many miles of tire wear. When possible, make sure you’re rolling at least a little bit while you turn the wheels sharply.
    – Don’t spin the tires when you accelerate or are partially stuck in snow
    – Don’t skid by braking too hard (a non-issue on cars that have anti-lock brakes)
    – Don’t race around corners too fast as this wears the tires more quickly. (A little fast is fun though)
    – Also, tires can cost upwards of $1,000 for high performance low profile or large SUV sizes. So think of that when you buy a vehicle.

    + UH2L

    • Travis @enemyofdebt.com says:

      All great points, UH2L. Good advice on high treadware ratings….a lot people (I’ve been guilty as well) buy tires as cheaply as they can. You definitely get what you pay for with tires!

  • Gwen says:

    I go to a tire store that offers a lifetime alignment on the car as well as lifetime balancing on the tire. It’s a bit more up front, but since I regularly swap out my tires for winter/summer, I always get a realignment and a rebalancing of wheels. At an alignment twice a year, it’s definitely a savings. A bad alignment will wreck your tires just as much as not rotating them regularly.

    I also have both sets of tires on rims. Again, that’s a bigger initial investment, but it saves enormously on the wear and tear of the tire. I found a modestly priced set of rims and with the factory rims on the car, I’m set for both seasons. I also store the tires properly off season, which is flat, on their side.

  • Money Beagle says:

    I actually have a Google Calendar reminder pop up in my email every week. I update the mileage that I need to be at that would warrant a tire rotation, and make sure to check the actual mileage. I’m actually due on both cars right now.

    • Travis @enemyofdebt.com says:

      That’s a good idea, Money Beagle….after all, we all look at our phones about a bazillion times a day, right? hard to miss a google notification….

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