Factory tires are those that are installed on new cars and shipped out to dealerships.
Let’s dive into the longevity of those tires.
How long do factory tires last?
Depending on the manufacturer and the treadwear rating, the factory tires on your vehicle can last anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Most car brands install good and durable tires from the major tire brands.
How Many Miles Do Factory Tires Typically Last?
Factory tires are also known as OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) tires. The factories choose a soft rubber tire to be installed on most vehicles. As such, they wear out faster than standard tires.
The factory tires are designed by the car’s manufacturer, not a tire company. As such, they are not going to provide the long-distance wear that you want in a tire.
Do some research to find out what OEM tires come with the vehicle you are interested in purchasing. The tires can vary based on the trim level of the tire, too. So, for example, trim levels that focus on performance or off-roading may have a better tire than the base trim level.
Most tires will start to show significant wear within 20,000 to 30,000 miles.
Once the tire starts to wear, you won’t be able to replace them. Instead, you’ll shop for tires that are produced by a reputable tire manufacturer.
When you read the paperwork from the dealership, you’ll find out how long the factory tires are warrantied for. Don’t expect the “bumper to bumper” warranty to cover your need for new tires, either.
When you consider that the average person drives 15,000 miles a year, you should plan on replacing your tires on a new car within two years.
Are New Cars Equipped with Good Quality Tires?
Generally, new cars are not equipped with good quality tires.
Most manufacturers want to produce the smoothest ride possible.
The way to achieve a smooth ride is by using soft rubber tires. And soft rubber will wear twice as fast as the harder rubber found in quality tires.
If you test drive a car and it has a smooth ride, you’re more likely to buy it. They assume that most people will not care about the tires.
You won’t realize that you’ve been sold soft tires, either, until it’s time to replace them. As for replacement time – it will be considerably sooner than you might expect.
While it’s easy to blame the tire manufacturer for the need to replace soon, it is actually the factory’s fault. They chose soft tires to make a sale, not to provide you with longevity.
Do People Upgrade the Tires on New Cars?
Upgrading the tires on a new car is a matter of personal preference as well as driving behavior.
While factory tires won’t last as long as standard tires, they can still provide a decent ride for 30,000 miles. You simply have to be ready to replace them faster than tires you buy from a tire center.
Making an upgrade is important in various situations:
- You do a lot of driving
- You’re driving on rough terrain
- You’re driving in adverse weather conditions
- You demand performance out of your car
You have to consider what you’re exposing your vehicle to on a regular basis. If the factory tires are capable of providing you with an acceptable drive, leave them on until they need to be replaced.
If you find that the factory tires won’t do, then upgrade them. It’s not worth keeping OEM tires if they can’t perform the way you need.
There are a few tire categories you should consider.
Touring tires are some of the most common. They offer traction in wet and dry conditions and have a long tread life – often at 70,000 miles or more.
If you do a lot of driving off-road or are in mountainous terrain on paved roads, you’ll want the added traction that all-terrain tires can deliver.
If you spend your time in the city or doing a lot of responsive handling, performance tires are capable of offering traction and a sporty feel. The tread life may not be as high as touring, but they are tough enough to respond as you need.
These tires are capable of handling the hot and cold temperatures. They provide traction in virtually all types of weather, including both dry and wet conditions.
When you’re faced with ice, snow, and slush often, you need tires that are optimized for the cold weather. These tires should only be used during the colder season.
If you spend your time on racetracks or drag strips, these tires are capable of exceptional handling. Only some of these tires are rated for street use. Additionally, you’ll want to look at the tread life – many are short because of the miles you’ll rack on in a competition.
Ask questions of the dealership to find out what kind of tire they recommend. It can help you to understand more about the tire that will provide you with the best driving experience.
Upgrading the tires on a new car can often be a worthwhile investment.
You may even be able to sell the factory tires as many tire shops offer deals on used and OEM tires.
Can You Negotiate Better Tires with Car Dealers?
Negotiating is always a possibility when you buy a new car. Dealerships have a significant amount of flexibility to make a sale.
Some car dealers have even provided a variety of add-ons to make vehicles more desirable. So, before you start to negotiate, find out if there are OEM or premium tires installed on the vehicle you’re looking at.
The average dealer already has plans to offer you something above and beyond the sticker that’s on the new car. It’s all a matter of finding out how much they plan to spend.
Common add-ons include:
- Window tint
- All-season floor mats
- Cargo trays
- Alarm systems
In order to get a car with all of the add-ons that you want, it’s important to negotiate.
Talk to the dealer about what you want. This will give them an opportunity to add on some of the items in order to make the sale.
If a dealership tells you that they can’t give you new tires, remind them that they can. Knowledge is power. Dealerships may tell you that they cannot give you something simply because they don’t want to.
Especially if you know of a dealership where new tires have been negotiated, use that as leverage.
In many instances, dealerships will add the cost of new tires to the deal. Even if you have to pay to get better tires, it can be better to do it this way. The reason is that the dealership will add it at wholesale cost.
If you wait until after you buy the car, you will pay retail cost.
The savings between wholesale and retail can be several hundred dollars, depending on the make and model of the tires.
How Do I Check the Quality of My New Tires?
The moment you buy a new car, you’ll want to check the quality of your tires.
It will ensure you know how long they will last. It will also help you to understand how your tires will perform in various situations.
Checking the tires is a multi-step process.
Look at the Tire Warranty
Read up on the tire warranty that is given to you with your new tires. Some will have a better tire warranty than others.
Remember that there is fine print with every warranty. In order to make a warranty claim, you may have to prove that you have done your due diligence with tire maintenance:
- Maintaining proper tire pressure
- Rotating tires
- Balancing tires
- Scheduling an alignment
If you’re not happy with the tire warranty, you’ll want to consider replacing your factory tires as quickly as possible.
Identify the Tread Wear Index
Every tire on the market is given a tread wear index that ranges from 200 to 800.
The lower the number, the softer the rubber. As you find tires with a higher tread wear index, they will last longer.
If you had a 200 tread wear index on your tires and you replace them with 400 tread wear index, you can expect the new tires to last you twice as long.
Softer tires may offer a smoother ride, but they don’t offer any kind of real durability. Most people won’t even notice a difference with the harder rubber tires.
Understand the Performance Rating
The performance rating on your tires is critical. You have to understand what they are rated for so that you don’t expect too much from the factory tires.
The speed rating is particularly important. Some factory tires aren’t rated for more than 70 mph. If you do a lot of speeding, the rubber can break down faster. It could lead to a blowout – and at high speeds, the result could be catastrophic.
You also need to see whether the tires are capable of withstanding the road conditions they will be exposed to – off-road terrain, ice, snow, and more.
If the tires aren’t performance rated, they should be replaced before you expose them to anything they can’t handle.
Confirm the PSI Minimums and Maximums
The tire pressure that you maintain makes a big difference. In the door jamb of your car, the recommended air pressure is listed. The numbers listed include the minimum and maximum tire pressure recommendations.
Often, car manufacturers “recommend” the lowest tire pressure. The reason for this is that it offers a smoother ride.
Try out the PSI in the higher range of what’s recommended. You may find that you’re able to get longer tire wear without getting too rough of a ride. The adjustment could help you to keep your factory tires a bit longer, allowing you to get your money’s worth.
Take some time to read online reviews about the factory tires installed on the make and model care that you have bought.
By reading what real people have to say about the tires, you can gain more insight.
The reviews, ideally, should be from people who are in the same part of the country as you. This will give you a better idea as to whether the tires can handle the weather and terrain more effectively.
Factory tires are not the tires you want to keep on your vehicle. They are there to provide a basic purpose of giving you a smooth drive.
As soon as the tires wear to an unacceptable level, you’ll want to upgrade so that you can get longer tread life.
In some instances, it pays to ditch the OEM tires as soon as you can.
Once you have quality tires in place, you can enjoy the performance of your vehicle to the fullest.