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How Long Do Snow Tires Last?

How Long Do Snow Tires Last?

Purchasing winter tires can feel intimidating since they’re more expensive than regular ones. 

If you’re considering making this investment for your winter driving needs, it might help if you know how they’ll last after you’ve got them.

Typically, a snow tire will last for at least 3 seasons. Some may last for as long as 6 seasons if you take great care of them. A snow tire’s lifespan depends on several factors, including how you use them.

They’re great because you’re able to go on snow without losing traction as often when your car has them. 

So, you can feel confident while commuting, even though there’s adverse weather.

Snow Tire Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of a snow tire isn’t necessarily a straightforward calculation. 

Putting one on your car and letting it sit in the driveway is much different than driving on it for miles. Plus, you’ve got to consider the quality of the tire, too.

Spending more on a higher-quality tire can help you get one that’s going to last longer. 

Lower-cost snow tires tend to use materials that break down a little faster. You’ve got to replace them more often since they’ll degrade quicker than other ones would.

One of the best things you can do to get an idea of your snow tire’s life expectancy is by checking out their manual. 

Most of the time, the manufacturer will put an expected lifespan in there.

In general, snow tires tend to last 3 to 6 seasons. Somewhere around 3 to 4 would be a good bet if you’ve got decent snow tires. After that, you’ll probably need replacements in the near future.

The better you care for them, the longer they’ll last, though.

You can get the most out of your snow tires by purchasing them when they’re brand new. If someone else has driven on them, they’ve already used some of their life.

Getting them when they’re freshly-made lets you use them longer. Plus, you’ll be able to use them without having to think about buying replacements.

How Many Miles Should Snow Tires Last?

Normally, people only put their snow tires on the car during the winter. They’ll put their normal tires back on once it’s summer again, so they’re not wearing out their snow tires.

As such, most snow tires rate their lifespans by the number of seasons they’ll last. That doesn’t tell you how many miles you can expect to drive on them, though.

A decent snow tire should provide at least 30,000 miles of distance. You can find some that can take you up to 50,000 miles if you’d like something high-mileage. Putting some of them on your car would mean you won’t have to get replacements anytime soon.

We can calculate this by looking at the number of miles an average person drives over the winter. 

We can assume that they’re driving about 40 miles per day. They’ll end up accumulating more than 1,200 driving miles once the month is over at that rate.

We can multiple 1,200 driving miles by 6 months to see what you’ll drive over the entire season. Our math seems to indicate you’d be pushing more than 7,200 miles each winter if you’re driving that much.

Take your seasonal driving mileage and multiply it by how many seasons you expect the tires to last. They’d travel more than 20,000 miles in just 3 seasons if you were driving on them this much. 

By the time 5 seasons pass, you’ll have over 34,000 driving miles on your snow tires.

How Many Years Are Snow Tires Good For?

The number of years your snow tires will last depends on a lot of things. Higher-quality tires usually last longer, no matter what. So, you might want to invest in something reputable if you’d like them to last longer.

Most snow tires only last 3 to 4 years if you’re using them seasonally. 

The more time you’ve spent driving on them, the sooner you’ll need to get replacements. You can make sure your tires will last a long time by looking for ones that have warranties. A manufacturer isn’t going to warranty them if they expect a claim before coverage ends. 

That’s an easy way to see how long a tire’s producer thinks they’ll make it.

If you’ve got a snow tire with a 4-year warranty, it’ll probably last at least that long. A shorter warranty would indicate the manufacturer has less confidence in their product.

Comparing warranties on different tires can help you see which of them has the best quality, too.

When Should Snow Tires Be Replaced?

Replacing your snow tires is crucial if you’re somewhere that gets bad weather in the winter. You can check to see whether you need replacements by measuring your tire’s tread depth.

You can take a measuring stick to take accurate measurements. Or, you can use a penny to work as a good rule of thumb in the meantime.

Your tires should have less than 3/32 inches of tread. Try placing a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head turned upside down. If your tires have enough tread, you shouldn’t see his scalp when you’re holding the penny there.

Any sign of his scalp would be a sign that it’s time to order new snow tires. We always recommend getting new ones as soon as you notice your tread has started to wear down. 

Driving on tires with new treads is much safer than using ones that you’ve had for a while.

You can also check the manual to see how often they recommend replacing them. Following the directions is a safe bet if you’re trying to maintain traction on snowy roads.

How Do I Know If Your Snow Tires Are Still Good?

Most people remove their snow tires once the roads melt at the end of winter. As a result, they’ve got to store them somewhere until the seasons change again.

Before putting them on your car, you should inspect them. Some tires aren’t in good enough shape to go back on the road after they’ve been in storage for a couple of months. 

Dry rot can begin to alter the shape of their rubber molecules, causing them to break down.

You can test your snow tires by filling them up with air before putting them on your car. Then, give them a little while to see how well they’re able to hold onto their air.

After it’s been a few hours, use an air pressure gauge to measure their PSI. They shouldn’t have a significant drop from when you filled them up if they’re in good shape.

When you notice they’re losing air, it’s time to get new ones. Driving on them could exacerbate whatever is causing them to leak. So, you shouldn’t risk it if you can avoid using them.

Get new ones that you don’t have to worry about keeping inflated. They’ll also have better treads, so you’ll have better traction on the road. 

Ways to Make Your Snow Tires Last Longer

Investing a lot of money on snow tires isn’t something most people get excited about. That’s because you’re only using them because the road conditions are bad. Plus, you’ll need to replace them way sooner than you’d like.

Learning how to maintain your snow tires can help you get the most out of them. Start by paying attention to how you’re driving when you’ve got them in your car. 

Aggressive maneuvers put tires under more stress, breaking them down faster. Don’t accelerate as fast as you do when it’s summer. Only apply a little pressure when you’re first taking off from a stop. 

That’s going to minimize how much stress your tires experience while accelerating. You should also park your car in the garage if you’ve got one at home. 

Leaving them out in the open exposes the tires to the elements. UV light interacts with their chemical composition, too.

Storing them in the garage also stops temperature fluctuations from harming them. The more the temperature changes, the more their rubber molecules flex. That’s because rubber expands as it gets warmer, putting stress on its chemical bonds.

Cooling rubber off after it’s been warmed up puts it under tremendous strain. Doing this often can make them wear out faster than they would’ve otherwise.

Don’t drive on poorly maintained roads, either. 

Everything that might damage your tires during the summer is still a threat when it’s winter. However, they’re able to do even more damage because of the road conditions.

Driving on well-maintained roads makes it a lot easier to avoid potholes. Try to plot your routes ahead of time, so a bad road doesn’t catch you by surprise.

Picking the Right Winter Tires for Your Car

Tires come in many different sizes, and they don’t all fit every car. You’ll need to look at the sidewall of your existing tires to see what size you’ll need.

You should see a series of letters and numbers. These tell you which size the tire is. If you’ve got a 215/55, then you’ve got to get a snow tire with the same dimensions.

You can also pick a tire that’s got hydrophilic material if you’re somewhere that’s wet. Getting a tire with that should prevent you from spinning out when water and ice mix on the road.

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Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!