Tire care tips for on the road

Worn-out tires have to do with driving style

Aug 17, 2021

How long a car’s tires last is largely in the hands of drivers themselves. “A quick-changing driving style, an unsuitable tire type, or the wrong inflation pressure can wear out a lot of tread and greatly reduce tires’ service life,” explains Christian Koch, tire expert at DEKRA.

  • Slamming on the gas and cornering aggressively will reduce tire tread
  • The pressure must be right if the tire is to last
  • Regular tire checks are crucial
“Drivers looking for a long service life from their car tires should drive thoughtfully,” the tire specialist recommends. “Driving style has a big impact on tire wear – high speeds, heavy acceleration, and abrupt braking reduce tread significantly. Drivers who regularly make their tires squeal when starting at a traffic light or push the limits when cornering can expect to have to replace their tires early.” By contrast, a defensive driving style protects tires and prolongs their lifespan.
Pressure and tire type must be right
Ensuring the correct tire pressure is another important factor. Those who want to take good care of their tires on the road must stick to the specifications provided by the manufacturer, make sure pressure levels are suitable for the vehicle’s load, and regularly check up on these. “Maintaining the right pressure will mean the tire has the best possible contact patch with the pavement, resulting in low levels of abrasion,” Koch explains. If pressure levels go substantially higher or lower than this ideal range, it will produce an uneven wear pattern. Simply put, new tires will be needed sooner.
In addition, choosing the right tire type is an essential ingredient in keeping abrasion at bay. Summer tires are best suited for the warmer months of the year, while winter tires work best in the cold. Using winter tires in the summer and vice-versa is not just a safety risk – it will also yield higher levels of abrasion and rapid wear, especially when winter tires are used in the summer. All-season tires will likely experience higher wear in summer than summer tires. Plus, as the DEKRA expert adds: “As well as a suitable tread, if I’m someone who often goes off-road, I should also be looking for a product that’s more resilient and less likely to sustain wear.”
Regular tire checks
However, regular inspections are also indispensable for ensuring a long tire life – for example, to detect uneven wear or a “sawtoothing” tread pattern. Twice-yearly professional tire inspections are highly recommended, especially for all-season tires that are not changed in spring and fall.
And regularly changing tires between the front and rear axles is also advisable. “This will lead to more even wear on all four wheels of a vehicle. If it’s just one tire that needs to be changed, then as a rule, the better tires always belong on the rear axle, regardless of the drive configuration – i.e., no matter whether the vehicle is front, rear, or all-wheel drive,” Koch explains.
Tires last longer on flat terrain
In addition, the types of roads driven also have a noticeable influence on tread durability and achievable tire mileage. On flat surfaces, a tire will achieve a much higher mileage than in a hilly landscape. This stems from the much higher acceleration and braking power that the tire transmits to the road on uphill and downhill gradients, which inevitably comes at the cost of heavier abrasion. Mileage and all else being equal, this means a tire will wear out faster in the mountains than on flat terrain.