You might think it’s a little bit like asking “how long is a piece of string” – but there’s actually an answer to this question! Or rather, there are a few answers, or general rules to follow for how long car tyres last on modern family cars.

Rule number one: whatever you do, do not let the tread wear down below the legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm!

Okay, now that’s out of the way…

The RAC says that a pair of front tyres on a modern car should do at least 20,000 miles, and the rear tyres should do 40,000 miles. Swap this around if you’re lucky enough to have a RWD car, and split the difference for an AWD vehicle.

But be aware that these numbers won’t apply if you drive aggressively, or if you frequently drive on poorly surfaced roads. Hot weather can also affect the tyre compound, and cause it to break down faster. And if the tyres fitted are made with a softer compound (or are of a lower quality), don’t expect them to last that long, either.

The type, size, and loaded weight of your vehicle all make a significant difference to your tyres’ lifespan, too. Making sure they’re pumped to the optimum pressure for the loaded weight is important for even wear, but realistically – most of us just “set and forget”.

Now, here’s the thing; car tyres, like all consumable parts, will last longer the less you use them. So, if you do 5,000 miles a year, you might not have to worry about changing your car tyres for around 4 years or so. If you drive even less, then you’d think they’d last even longer – right?

Well, maybe not.

We say that not only because of the factors listed above, but because it is increasingly common to get partially used tyres these days, which have minimal wear, but are certainly not factory fresh. While they do cost less, their age makes them susceptible to cracking and compound breakdown.

We’re talking about tyre rot, or dry rot. And that can set in after a tyre gets to 5 or 6 years old.

If you can see sidewall cracking, it’s time to replace your tyres – and once they are 10 years old, regardless of how many miles they’ve done or how good they look, it’s time to replace them, too. That’s because while they may look perfectly fine on the outside, the inside beading and rubber could have broken down significantly, just waiting for a blowout to happen…

This happens because (believe it or not) tyres are made of a natural material – rubber. Rubber contains resins and oils which keep it supple and springy. Over time, these oils and resins wash and wear away, causing the material to dry out. Hot weather and chemical exposure can make this process happen faster, but eventually, all tyres suffer the same fate: the appearance of cracks at first, before finally, the rubber crumbles away altogether.

So, there you have it – tyres last 20,000 miles for the drive wheels, for up to a maximum of 10 years; but make sure you pay attention to environmental factors!

And keep your car running safe and sound by booking in for regular car services at a local garage near you…


Keep your car running like new. Book a service at our garage in Eastleigh – call us on 023 8061 1161 or book online.

[booked-calendar style="list" calendar="52"]