Economy tires may be an affordable option in a variety of instances.
We’ve looked at what makes economy tires cheaper. In this article, we look at what to expect with these cheaper brands and how long they will last on the road and on the shelf.
Let’s dive in.
How long do economy tires last?
Depending on the tire itself, some economy tires will only last for 30,000 miles. Taking the time to understand the treadwear rating will help you to determine how long your tires will last.
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How Many Miles Do Economy Tires Typically Last?
Economy tires are generally the cheap tires that you can buy as a solution when you need tires. They are going to be lower quality and not be rated for as many miles as high-performance tires.
Manufacturers produce a number of different tires.
The economy tire for many is around 30,000 miles. This means that, in ideal conditions, you will be able to drive on the tire for 30,000 miles before wear and tear that would require you to replace it.
Tires will last longer when you maintain them properly.
Proper tire maintenance includes:
- Keeping the tires inflated to the correct PSI
- Rotating your tires every 6 months
- Balancing your tires every year
- Scheduling a wheel alignment on an as-needed basis
By taking care of your tires, it will help with overall performance.
How Many Years Do Cheap Tires Last When Not Used Much?
The warranty on your tires will typically tell you how many years you can expect them to last.
If you buy economy tires with a 40,000-mile warranty, consider how many miles you drive a year. If you drive approximately 10,000 miles a year, the tires will last for four years.
If you drive only 5,000 miles a year or less, you may find that the tires begin to dry rot.
This is a process where the rubber starts to break down, leading to the tires falling apart. It typically start with the tires starting to crack and you wonder if they’re worn out.
While most tires will need to be replaced due to tread wear before you ever have to worry about dry rot, that’s not the case with tires that don’t get used very often.
Tires that remain stationary are more prone to dry rot because the rubber compounds are not being activated. It leads to the rubber drying out, which causes the tires to crack.
Once cracking begins, it’s no longer safe to drive on the tires.
Depending on the environment your car is stored in, tires can dry rot in six to eight years.
So, when you buy economy tires and don’t drive often, tires can last between four and eight years. However, beware that new tires also can affect mileage.
Do Economy Tires Wear Faster Than Premium Brands?
You might be wondering if tire brands really matter.
Economy tires may wear faster than the premium brands. This is when you have to read the fine print of the tires that you are buying.
Just because a tire says that it has a 50k warranty doesn’t mean that it won’t wear differently based on the type of tire.
There are a number of considerations to review when buying an economy tire.
The speed rating indicates the speed that can safely be maintained over time.
Economy tires generally have lower speed ratings.
If you’re not careful, you could end up buying a cheap tire that isn’t capable of withstanding the kind of speed that you travel on a regular basis.
The load index indicates the weight that your tires are able to withstand. The higher the number, the larger the load it can handle.
Consider what is in your vehicle. Heavier loads will put more pressure on the tires. This can affect performance, cause premature wear, and even result in a blowout.
The tread depth (measured in 32nds of an inch) can vary based on the tire you buy. SUV, all-weather, and winter tires may also have deeper tread depths.
If the tread depth isn’t very deep, the tire will wear faster than a tire that has a deeper tread.
Most economy tires have 10/32 tread whereas premium brands may have 11/32.
That extra 1/32 can help you to avoid seeing wear faster, even under the same driving conditions.
Reading reviews on economy tires from past customers who have purchased a particular manufacturer or model will help you make decisions.
Customers who have had a bad experience can tell you more about a tire. The review sites are there to inform, not to sell. It can provide you with the honest outlook that you need.
Some reviews may talk about erratic tread wear, inflation problems, and even flat spots on the tires.
Are Economy Tires Safe on the Highway?
Economy tires, when purchased from a reputable dealer, are safe on the highway.
Highways have speed limits typically between 50 and 70 miles per hour.
You have to make sure your tires are in good condition to handle such speeds. A blowout at that speed could be catastrophic.
You have to look more at the condition of the tire. You can do a visual inspection on your own or have a professional look at the tires.
What to Look for in a Tire Inspection
A tire inspection should explore a few different aspects of the tire, regardless of whether it is an economy or premium tire.
Check the PSI of the tire against what the tire is rated for. Over inflation can lead to wear down the center of the tread along with additional wear at the edges of the tire.
Underinflation can lead to added pressure against the road and added wear on the outer edges of the tire.
You will want to inspect the tread to make sure you won’t run into problems. If the tread isn’t deep enough, you will have traction issues on the road.
One of the easiest ways to check the tread is to conduct the penny test. This is where you insert a penny into the tread, head first. If you see the top of Abe Lincoln’s head, the tread is heavily worn.
If there is a rise or bump in the sidewall or tread, it’s an indication that a belt within the tire construction has separated. This can lead to dangers when driving at high speeds.
Why Tires Have to Be in Good Condition
Tires are going to have an effect on many aspects of your drive. Since the tire is the only part of your car that has direct contact with the road, you have to make sure the tires are in good condition.
Economy tires are usually safe as long as they are rated for the speed you will be traveling.
Be sure that your tires have been inspected by a professional before going on any long trip.
Poor tires can lead to various problems:
- Insufficient handling
- Vibrations or thumping noises
- A pull to one side
- Inability to brake quickly
- Safety issues
When Should You Choose Economy Tires?
Economy tires are the cheaper tire on the market.
There’s nothing wrong with saving money from time to time. And there are plenty of reasons why you should choose them.
You Need a Cheap Option
There are times when your tire needs to be replaced even though it’s the last thing that you can afford. Choosing an economy tire allows you to save money.
Although you might like the premium tires that are known for performance, they may be outside of your budget.
It’s better to have economy tires on your vehicle than tires that have low tread or dry rot.
It’s the Only Tire in Stock
Tire shops don’t always have every tire in stock. The average tire shop will carry several top manufacturers. The rest of the tires that they advertise are tires that can be ordered.
Depending on your tire size, they may not be common enough to keep in stock from various manufacturers. This means that you may be limited by what’s in stock.
If you have travel plans, you might not be able to wait a few days until the tire shop can order the tire you want.
As such, you can get the economy tire that they do have installed right away. It’s still a tire, and that may be all you need to take your trip.
You Don’t Drive Very Often
If you don’t do a lot of driving, such as under 10,000 miles a year, it may not be necessary for you to have the best of the best.
An economy tire will be all that you need.
When you’re not driving excessively, you don’t have to worry about treadwear as much. Additionally, if you aren’t driving in extreme weather conditioners, performance isn’t going to be a top concern.
Save the money for other things.
Buy the economy tire and move on.
You Don’t Drive Long Distances
It’s important that you have a tire that is capable of lasting in all conditions. If you’re not driving long distances, however, it doesn’t really matter.
An economy tire will take care of all of your immediate needs.
You’ll have the traction necessary to handle your daily commute as well as any basic driving you need to do around town.
If you’re not reaching any high speeds, you can choose the economy tire without it being anything to worry about.
Are Economy Tires Worth It?
Economy tires are often worth it because you need to have functional tires on your vehicle. It often comes down to the number of miles you will get out of the tires.
Don’t be afraid to do some cost comparisons for tires.
With so many manufacturers and product lines from each manufacturer, you may have three or more options for the size of tire you need.
Get prices so that you can compare.
If you can find a 30,000-mile tire for $75 but a 60,000-mile tire is only $100, it is better to spend the extra $25 to get double the tread life on them.
Similarly, if a premium tire is going to be hundreds of dollars more, it may be more cost-effective to get the economy tire.
Just know that it isn’t going to last you as long.
More expensive tires do offer benefits. You can be more confident that they will hold up in extreme temperatures and across rough terrain. If you travel at top speeds or demand performance out of your tires, it may also be worth it to spend the extra money.
As you look at economy tires, decide what your budget is. If you can afford more expensive tires, the investment is usually money well-spent.
Even cheap tires are better than old, bald tires, though.
Read the ratings on the tires. Ask for pricing on a few different tire models so that you can make accurate comparisons.
Only after you look at both economy and premium tires should you make a decision about what you will buy for your car.