Tires on New Cars: Replace After 20,000 Miles?

Expensive car, inferior tires?

Expensive car, inferior tires?

I think car manufacturers and tire makers have a deal with each other. Here’s why:

I bought a 2007 Suzuki SX4 two years ago to serve as a commuter car. Today it has 22,000 miles on it, and last week I had to replace all four tires, because the front ones were nearly bald.

I figured I just had a case of bad luck and partly blamed myself, since I failed to rotate the tires on a regular basis. But the guy at the tire shop said he’s noticing a common trend: People are coming in for new tires with about 20,000 miles on the odometer. 

I got home and started searching online, and sure enough I found forums where people complain that their new cars need new tires after only 14,000 to 20,000 miles. A guy here made it 18,000 miles with a 2007 Lexus ES 350. Same thing here on a Mercedes GL450.

What’s the deal? Are car companies cutting costs by putting inferior OEM tires on their vehicles?

While I don’t doubt that could be a possibility, I think the bigger picture is a lack of proper tire maintenance. The guy who sold me the new tires for my Suzuki recommended having them rotated every 5,000 to 6,000 miles; maybe if I had done that in the first place the originals would’ve gone another 10K or so. 

Also, please keep an eye on your tire pressure. As temperatures rise, tires that were properly inflated in cold weather could suddenly be overinflated. Measure your tire pressure “cold.” If possible, park the car in your garage overnight, and check the pressure in the morning.

Even with proper maintenance, tire life is another thing to consider when buying a new car. Check to see if the tires come with a warranty, and if not, use it as a negotiation tool to inch your price down.

When selling a car, consider doing what the guy who traded in the car my wife bought did: He felt bad getting rid of a car with used tires, so he put on brand-new 18″ Yokohamas before getting rid of it. Sweet!

Has anyone else noticed a short life for tires on new cars? How many miles do you typically get out of a set of tires?


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  1. Ralph J. Hunter
    September 29th, 2015 at 12:00 | #1

    Leased a 2013 CR-V new, vehicle has 14,700 miles on it. Still have 8 months left on the lease and car was not driven for 7 weeks just after we got it. Had to have all 4 tires replaced as one was down to 2/32 tread. At least Continental paid for 50% (half a loaf better than none), but very unhappy that tires would need replaced at this mileage mark. Makes me wonder.

  2. August 11th, 2015 at 15:43 | #2

    Just left Honda at Avenues Jax, FL for my 2013 Honda Fit which has 22k miles for my 3rd oil change and rotate tires. They told me they could not rotate my tires as the 2 front tires had to be replaced for a cost of 269.00 and I had a 3rd tire that would need to also be replaced VERY soon. I told them BS, not to rotate and I will buy my tires someplace else. He had also told me the new tires would have the same life span as the ones I already had on there. He COULD sell me other tires at a HIGHER cost. They can BITE ME !!!

  3. Jay
    August 10th, 2015 at 23:26 | #3

    I bought a 0 miles Elantra with Kumho tires. 22k miles later had to replace tires (metal showing up). This time I bought 4 Hankook optimo tires on ebay. These tires lasted 70k. Always took the car to the dealer for balancing and rotation every 5k miles because has free maintenance for life.

  4. Walley
    August 7th, 2015 at 09:19 | #4

    Same Happened to me My new Honda Accord front tires gone after 23000 miles although the rear one was in Good condition But I replace all with Michelin and now thinking I just change front two with rear one and Put new one on rear , but now too late and the Tyre replacement guy told me the same to rotate after 7000-8000 miles

  5. Robbins
    August 3rd, 2015 at 02:04 | #5

    We are totally getting worked here with inside secrets of the tire industry. These rims only allow “high performance” tires that wear out at 22,000 miles at $169 each tire. If that freaking salesman said something I would have requested the final tailoring of the car to switch to the 16″ small rim tires in order to meet the needs and wants of the freaking customer. On top of that I think Toyota switched to the bigger 17″ rims but did not realign the car needing less camber tilt as it wears out the edges ultra fast. It seems like I should get the car aligned and keep the 17″ but no it’s not that bad. I switching to the 16″ and still pay $100 for an alignment done right that should last as long as I never hit a bad bump.

  6. Bryce
    August 1st, 2015 at 18:54 | #6

    I recently received an email from my dealership indicating that, on average, tires on AWD vehicles should be replaced around 30K miles. Their reasoning was primarily for safety and performance but they also threw in that costly additional repairs might be required if their not replaced at that time. I’m not sure what to do. My 2014 Honda CRV has a little more than 27K miles on it (I bought it new and have had it for 1 1/2 years). The tires have been rotated at each oil change and there appears to be reasonable tread left on them. I don’t think I’m going to change them at 30K but will continue to look for answers for this dilemma.

  7. Robert
    July 29th, 2015 at 04:07 | #7

    The Continental tyres on 2009 Mercedes ML350 only have a lifespan of 25,000kms. Like someone else mentioned they make them soft for a better and quieter ride. I just had to replace 2 while I was outside of the major metro areas and had to pay AUD$619 per tyre. I think they are about $470 in the big smoke.
    I believe Pirelli makes a tyre for my model Merc but there is not much competition

  8. Betty Hendrickson
    July 21st, 2015 at 11:23 | #8

    I have a 2013 Nissan Rogue. After 29,000 miles, I need new tires. Never before bought a brand new carand had this problem.NEVER. Nissan even rotates and balances them, if theyre in fact doing it.

  9. Jessica
    July 17th, 2015 at 11:09 | #9

    I bought a brand new 2013 Mazda5 two years ago. It now has 30,000 miles and the dealership says I need all four tires replaced! They want to charge me $280 per tire. I maintain my car and tires, so I don’t understand why this is happening. Of course, I didn’t buy the tires from the dealership, but this still seems crazy to me.

  10. July 13th, 2015 at 18:17 | #10

    Yes after 27000 miles on a 3year old car I need to replace tires.

  11. LeeAnn
    July 13th, 2015 at 12:31 | #11

    @ Jennifer
    Jennifer, same here. Same year and model car. I have 30k miles after 3 years and the tires won’t pass inspection. I am amazed at how much new cars cost, only to put inferior tires on them. And of course our warranty doesn’t cover tires. :(

  12. Ruth
    May 11th, 2015 at 15:40 | #12

    So – I was just told my VW Jetta with 40,000 miles needs new tires before next winter. I guess I should be grateful I made it that long. Just a note – worn out tires are a waste management issue. Used to be industrial boilers could burn them as supplemental fuel, until it was realized this was causing un-needed air pollution. So the USA has a glut of spent tires and no place to go with them. Somebody – invent something to use the old tires for! Make a million!

  13. Charles
    April 18th, 2015 at 09:57 | #13

    Why do tires have 50-75000 mile warranties but only last 20-25000 miles?

  14. April 17th, 2015 at 08:29 | #14

    I bought 4 new, 65,000K rated tires from Firestone. The tires are Bridgestone brand. 18,000 miles later I’m being told 3 tires are almost bald and the 4th one is getting there. I had tires rotated twice and also had 1 wheel alignment done since getting these tires new. I went back to Firestone and they blamed wheel alignment as the culprit for the worn tires. I can see that up to a point but not entirely. I think the Bridgestone tires are inferior and the miles they rate them at are highly exagerated. I’m going to write to Firestone Corporate with a complaint and next set of tires is going to be Michelin’s even though they cost more.

  15. Jennifer
    April 15th, 2015 at 08:45 | #15

    I am having the same problem. I bought a 2013 Hyundai Sonata new (4 miles on the car when I purchased it) and am currently at about 24,000 miles. The past couple oil changes I’ve been told to watch my tires and that the tread is getting very low. This past oil change by the dealership, I was told that it’s time to buy new tires and that I don’t need to wait any longer. I looked at the tires and he was right; very little tread left. So I’m getting 4 new tires put on that have a 70,000 mile warranty.

  16. Theresa
    April 6th, 2015 at 21:57 | #16

    Just had to have 4 new tires put on with 20,000 on a 2013 Juke.
    They changed my rims, did not tell me and I didn’t notice until home as I had a sick parent to go and care for.
    Did I get a bate and switch?
    Going back in the am to confront.

  17. jaquesphillip
    March 31st, 2015 at 11:29 | #17

    Yes, you are right that after 20000 miles cars want new tires because I experienced it and the front ones were nearly bald. Then I talked my neighbor for tires and he recommended me for new tires in cheap rates. And great experience. Now I am happy…

  18. DJ
    March 20th, 2015 at 16:43 | #18

    My Toyota corolla 2011 has l7,451 miles with original tires, I purchased the car new, drive back and forth to work 4 miles a day and they have been rotated every 5,000 miles and the front tires are almost bald. The tires are bridgestone.

  19. March 16th, 2015 at 21:42 | #19

    I have a 2010 Mazda Sport 5, I bought new. It has 25,000 miles and the tires are worn out. I maintain pressure, rotation and other pm.on the car. I can’t believe I need a whole set of tires. It really makes me angry. Im a retired person,on a fixed income and have to shell out a whole lot of money on tires. Just doesn’t seem fair at the prices of new cars that the tires don’t last longer than this.

  20. Dgallion
    January 7th, 2015 at 11:55 | #20

    The best part of this process is that the Hyundai tire warranty is what replaced only a single tire, and created the mechanical failure.. So it wasn’t even my own cheap nature (which is a real thing) creating the issue. I am now fighting with the dealership to cover the repair expense and cost of all 4 tires since their own warranty repair job created the entire problem.@ Dgallion

  21. Dgallion
    January 7th, 2015 at 11:53 | #21

    The age or tread wear of the other tires have nothing to do with it, and any one of those tires could have easily been rated for 50k miles or more and be in immaculate condition otherwise. The problem I just found out about in my 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is that when you replace one tire (as I did at 14k miles due to road debris tearing the sidewall). The replacement tire is slightly larger (approx 1/4″) in diameter than the other 3. This results in one wheel of the AWD system rotating a little slower than the rest creating added torque against the drivetrain & it will slowly chew away at the coupler and the differential gears until something breaks. (As just happened on mine). So Spending 800-1000 on tires prevents 2-3k in mechanical repair, risk of accident and/or being stranded on the side of the road. Not fun, but the reality of the situation…

  22. Gayle
    December 24th, 2014 at 16:29 | #22

    I have a 2007 Honda Ridgeline with 13,000 miles on it which I bought new. It was garaged until about a year ago. My question is whether or not I need to replace the tires on it, even though there is minimal wear; someone told me tires that old need replacing regardless of the wear.

    • tgriffith
      December 25th, 2014 at 01:14 | #23

      The rubber compounds in a tire deteriorate with time, regardless of the condition of the tread. An old tire can pose a potential safety hazard so replacing the tires on your Ridgeline would be a good idea. I know Nissan recommends changing the tires every six years, even if they just sit and are rarely used on the road.

  23. Lauren
    November 26th, 2014 at 09:34 | #24

    I have a 2014 Kia Forte that I bought 5/13 and am replacing tires as we speak. Have about 21,500 on the odo. Previously had a 2012 Kia Forte and replaced the factory tires at right around 20k also. My husband has a 2012 Kia Soul and he replaced his factory tires around 18k. (2 of them were still decent but just replaced all 4 due to winter months)

  24. Doug Coventry
    November 13th, 2014 at 08:42 | #25

    It is not the car makers or tire companies saving cost (or working together to benefit the tire makers) – rather, less tread depth improves fuel economy substantially. Obviously the automotive industry is being pressed for economy/CO2. Tread depth is just one factor. The overall effect of tires can be as significant as 4 mpg on vehicles. 20k is on the short end of life. Roads and driving style affect life substantially. Rotation is more important than ever before.

  25. Kitty
    November 4th, 2014 at 02:36 | #26

    I bought a brand new 2013 RAV4. About 2 months ago one of my tires kept having an air tire leak and I didn’t know why. I thought it was a nail so I brought it into toyota to get it checked and they found the tire was a tire that was already patched up with a plug. I have never got my tires changed or fixed for any reason ever since I bought my brand new RAV4 and had all my oil changed and tires checked at toyota ever since I bought it. The dealership lied to me about selling me a brand new car right off the lot with everything on the car brand new. What do I do?

  26. Bronte Gifford
    October 1st, 2014 at 15:17 | #27

    I bought a 2012 suzuki sx4. I have consistently rotated my tires about every 6,000 miles and now have 35,000 miles on those original tires. I have driven through rough roads in the denver mountains and my tires are still in great condition! I believe that regular maintenance of rotating tires and keeping the right amount of air in them at all times makes a huge difference.

  27. Richard M
    September 23rd, 2014 at 14:34 | #28

    Could be the tires are softer to meet performance goals on the cheap

  28. September 17th, 2014 at 13:09 | #29

    I have a 2010 Toyota Rav 4 Limited. I always have the tires rotated and aligned. After 20,000 miles I had to replace all 4 tires. The tire store said it’s common today and believes that new cars come equipped with inferior tires even though they may have a brand name. May be a collusion between the Auto makers and tire makers to equip the new vehicle with inferior tires and make more money, and the tire companies to make more money by forcing you buy another set after 20,000 miles. Plausible as nothing surprises me these days with the greed I see in this country and the vanishing of the middle class.

  29. Hans Dietrich
    May 16th, 2014 at 09:17 | #30

    I have a 2000 Subaru Outback and have just replaced the Potenza tires in a trade-in package on Ecopia variety. These Ecopia are 65000 miles rated so I’ll see how they go. One thing that I have found is that they ride really well and roll exceptionally easy. I find that I have to ease off the throttle because I’m going over the speed limit. On my last fill-up I got 2 mpg better than before. I don’t drive hard and got 24 mph around town.

  30. Sue
    May 8th, 2014 at 18:23 | #31

    I have a 2014 Jetta with 20,000 miles and have the same tire issue. NOT RIGHT! @ Christine

  31. Christine
    December 12th, 2013 at 13:21 | #32

    I have a 2012 leased VW Jetta and we just found out we need new tires at 20,000 miles…that is after one of them had a blow out. We have aligned and rotated them as per VW because they did all the service. I think this is shameful!!! Since tires are the only thing not really covered in the lease service agreement I am not surprised they want them to wear out before I return the car at 36,000 miles…but it sounds like car and tire company collusion to me!

  32. December 6th, 2012 at 17:25 | #33

    @ Sharen

    The Questions section of the main CarGurus site has input from lots of folks on good tires for a Hyundai Elantra – here’s a link:

    Hope that helps, and good luck!

  33. Sharen
    December 6th, 2012 at 17:10 | #34

    I have a 2010 Hyundai Elantra with 13,000 miles on it and the dealer told me I needed two front tires and probably in a month or so I will need two on the back. He said that they come from the factory now with “soft tires”. I really do not do much driving. Any input??

  34. Lauren
    October 5th, 2012 at 09:59 | #35

    I have a 2012 Kia Forte that I haven’t even had for a year it has about 19,500k on it and it needs 4 new tires!! I have kept them rotated as per scheduled also as they were done at each oil change.

  35. Bobby
    August 8th, 2012 at 03:59 | #36

    New cars come with softer, higher performance tires that wear out faster than most of the tires consumers would normally buy for their car. Because tires are so expensive, most people tend to buy tires rated for 50,000 miles or so, which sacrifice a little bit of comfort and stickiness to the road. Car manufacturers don’t care how long your first tires last, so they opt for the softer, comfier tires.

  36. February 14th, 2012 at 21:03 | #37

    2010 Focus with 10,200 miles on factory Kumho tires. Just had them replaced today because they were down to 3/32nds. I contacted Ford and got emails and phone calls aplenty, all replete with canned doublespeak and no offer of help. Scandalous, Ford !

  37. JJ
    August 28th, 2011 at 03:00 | #38

    MB ML350 35,000 miles, I have to replace the all 4 tires according to the mechanics at the dealer shop.
    All the AWD car is now using softer tires so it makes driver to feel more comfortable and it stops really quick on the road.
    Average life of the tires for the AWD SUV is now 25,000 miles according to the MB mechanic, my tires lasted longer than usual… then I said WHAT? it really bothers me that I have to spend 1,800 dollars for replacement of 4 tires and alignment svc every 2~3 years.

  38. tgriffith
    February 15th, 2011 at 15:34 | #39

    @ Bob
    You can replace the tires with anything your heart desires, as long as you replace all four and they are the same size as the OEM Michelins.

  39. Bob
    February 15th, 2011 at 15:29 | #40

    I have 18,000 miles on my Lexus es350, and the front tires are getting bald. Is there any reason I need to replace the tires with the same ones I have on it? They are Michelin tires.

  40. laura felton
    January 20th, 2011 at 14:38 | #41

    I just had to purchase four new tires for a 2007 toyota- I have under 30,000 miles! To make matters worse the car is now driving horrible-on my way to take it back and I am not happy!

  41. concerned consumer
    July 13th, 2010 at 11:07 | #42

    i dont know where you are getting tires but they saw you comming althought tires are expensive they don’t cost that damn much. i advise going to your nearesd firestone/bridgestone dealer the are damn good tires for the price you pay for them

  42. concerned consumer
    July 13th, 2010 at 11:05 | #43

    I have a 2003 chevy caviler and had to replace the tires after only 22500 miles and i rotate the tires and maintain the tire pressure myself. My brother has a 2009 dodge ram and only has just over 18000 miles on his tires and had a blowout because of the tires needing to be replaced.

  43. tgriffith
    February 17th, 2010 at 17:26 | #44

    Call around, Christina and see if you can find a better price. I don’t doubt that you actually need new tires, just compare prices before you buy from the dealer.

  44. Christina
    February 17th, 2010 at 16:55 | #45

    I have an 09 Mercedes C300 with 22K miles. Just sent it in for service and they called saying that my back tires need to be replaced. They said that if I do not, they cannot rotate them. It’s going to cost me $730 for two tires!

  45. Neal
    September 17th, 2009 at 17:53 | #46

    Well we have a 2009 Jetta already with a bit over 17K miles on it, tires look brand new, so i give it at least another 20K miles before they need replacement. On a related story we had a VW Touareg ate the first set of tires in less than 20K miles, however the Touareg is considered a high performance SUV equipped with high performance tires. The so called high performance cars/SUV’s eat tires and brakes for breakfast.

  46. tgriffith
    September 3rd, 2009 at 13:53 | #47

    I think the best thing for you to do is get the alignment and then just buy new tires. I know it hurts the pocketbook, but buy good tires and have them rotated (usually free when you return to the location where you bought them)and you should get many more miles out of the new set.

  47. Theresa
    August 31st, 2009 at 10:38 | #48

    @John Murphy
    they are telling me that i need an alignment..and it was my responsibilty to get it done..regular maint…

  48. Theresa
    August 31st, 2009 at 10:37 | #49

    I have a 2008 Chevy Aveo with 13000 miles on it. I have been complaining about the gas milage since it had 500 miles on it. the dealer kept telling me i had to put more miles on it for it to get better. i have told them that it won’t go right, it is not driving right, now the front tires are totally bald only on the outside. they never once told me to to get an alignment or to rotate the tires. they are not honoring the warrenty because it is over 7500 miles and they say now it is service and my fault. i have a complaint into chevy but they are not going to help because i did not rotate the tires…they are excesevly worn and i don’t know what to do…

  49. John Murphy
    July 20th, 2009 at 08:08 | #50

    I have a 2008 Chevy Aveo 5 w 22,000 miles on it and the tires are bald and I did rotate the tires as recommended!

  50. Becky
    June 14th, 2009 at 17:01 | #51

    I have a 2005 Volvo XC90 that I have noticed all of a sudden that my tires are nearly bald also. I have 31,000 miles on them. However, I do watch the pressure and rotate as I am supposed to. (Volvo made this easy to keep up with because of their free regular maintenance for the first 3 years). But, my tires are still bald, and I can’t find anywhere in the literature or on the web how many miles my tires were SUPPOSED to last. How do I claim anything under warranty for wear if nothing is in print?

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