How Long Should Tires Last?

March 23, 2021 There will come a time when you must say goodbye to the car tires you stubbornly told yourself would last forever. Generally, that time comes between five or six years for summer tires and approximately four years for winter tires.

Knowing the tread depth number left on your tire gives you a mental reminder of how quickly that replacement time is coming. Ask your automotive maintenance shop, when you trade out your tires for the season, to measure the tread depth and give you their calculation of the time left. Tire manufacturers and safety regulatory bodies say a tire must be replaced when the tread depth reaches 1.6mm or 2/32 of an inch.

Summer tires should be replaced at 3mm tread depth and winter tires should be replaced at 4mm tread depth.

We Canadians love to drive our cars.

Canada is the second largest country after Russia, meaning we have lots and lots of kilometres of highways and roads. As of 2018, Stats Canada puts that total number at 1.3 million kilometres. In 2009, according to Natural Resources Canada, each of us put a yearly average of 15,200 kilometres on our vehicles.

You can use the number of kms you drive per year to give you an idea of how long your tires will last based on your driving habits: Divide the number of kms you’ve driven by the number of years you have driven the vehicle. Look up the tire’s make and model to see how many years of service you can expect the tires to give.

Does a particular choice of tire increase its longevity?

How long should your tires last? Some tires are built to reflect a warranty of approximately 100,000 km while entry-level tires have a warranty of approximately 60,000 km.
Summer tires should be replaced at 3mm tread depth and winter tires, also known as snow tires should be replaced at 4mm tread depth.

Specialty tires are built for different driving conditions; high-performance tires are engineered to heat up quickly to grip the road making their life expectancy shorter. All-terrain tires are made with rubber compounds designed to withstand off-road conditions which means they must be changed more often than regular tires.

There is no simple answer to knowing how long your tires should last. The answer depends on a few things:

The design and manufacturing technology of a particular type of tire is adapted for its’ intended usage, with either a long life or a quicker replacement.


How the tire is driven. Running the sidewalls of your tires against curbs and hitting potholes can reduce a tire’s overall life. Pushing the limits of your high-performance tires will lessen their time on the roads.

Tire rotations and alignment. Change a tire’s position on your vehicle every year to lengthen the life of your tires. Tire rotations are normally done when you switch the tires seasonally.

Underinflated tires. Did you know that driving underinflated tires leads to more sidewall flexing which causes them to run hot? It is especially important to have properly inflated tires if you are driving on highways a lot because they run even hotter at high speeds. Underinflated tires driven at highway speeds, can lead to tread separation or even blowouts, and we don’t mean the hairdo kind.

Summer and winter tires. Do you divide your tire-usage time between summer and winter tires? That too, will extend the life of each kind of tire.

The age of the tire. Have you ever pulled an old rubber-jar-sealer out of a box after a few years? It has given up its ability to remain in its original form. It sticks to the jar and pulls apart. In some cases, depending on the rubber’s composition, as with vehicle tires, it turns brittle and hard over time as the components degrade.
Even if a vehicle has been sitting quietly waiting for you in someone’s dusty garage, the rubber breaks down, and the reinforcing cords lose their strength, increasing the tire’s risk of failure.

Hanford’s Tire & Service has been serving London for over 35 years. We have been voted three times as London’s favourite tire store, most recently in 2021.
Drive to see us, and we will check your tire tread depth for free and provide you with an approximation of the length of time left on your tires.