Tire Treadwear - a valuable tool

See the flashing "FREE" to the right? You need to click there to get my Treadwear Secret Tool which I'm going to tell you about so you can use it when comparing tires.

What's to know about tire treadwear?

In my opinion, the problem is not that the tool is useless, but rather, that people never learned how to use it correctly. Amazingly enough, there are even tire dealers who don't really understand what it's all about, but one that has proven to be on top of the subject is Tire Rack:. If you want to be up to speed, that's what I'm going to show you here.

I call tire treadwear my Secret Tool for use in comparing tires for purchase or performance evaluation, price comparison, and expected mileage. But before we get to that, we should answer the question:

What is treadwear?

All tires which are made in accordance with the US Department of Transport requirements carry a tire TREADWEAR rating printed on the sidewall. Look for the word "TREADWEAR" followed by a number

The Treadwear rating is not widely used because it is considered to be unreliable because each manufacturer does their own treadwear rating.

The people who have criticized treadwear would have you believe that a manufacturer is not capable of measuring whether tire A will last longer than tire B, which they also make. This is pure bunk!

Yes, there are limitations in the system for determining treadwear ratings, but as long as you understand the limitations it can still be quite useful in deciding the best tire for you.

Simply, treadwear is a number assigned by a tire manufacture which compares the durability of a particular tire against another tire which it has set as the standard.

The standard tire has a rating of 100. This means that another tire with a rating of 200 will be twice as durable as the tire with a rating of 100. Isn't that simple?

Download your own Treadwear Calculator by clicking here.

The problem many experts have with the rating is that the DOT allows each company to do their own testing. This means that Tire Company A could have a different set of results from testing their tires than Tire Company B.

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They argue that this limits the confidence you might have in comparing the rating which GoodYear has on its tires with those on Michelin or Kumho because they might not use the same testing procedures.

In theory they're right but in practice there is a tendency for most of the tire manufacturers to attempt to produce tires which meet the conditions of their markets and charge similiar prices. So if you compare two tires with the same treadwear numbers, their prices should be more-or-less the same.

If there is a considerable difference, you could use this as a tip which leads you to investigate a bit further to see why one is cheaper than the other.

Using Treadwear In Purchasing Your Tires

Here are several ideas on how to apply the treadwear rating in your own tire purchasing experience.

How long will a tire last?

No serious, reputable tire expert will give you a precise answer to that question unless he knows everything about your driving habits, conditions, vehicle and it's mechanical condition, climate, terrain, etc. All these things can affect your tire's life. If someone claims otherwise, that should be a red flag for you.


I'm going to walk you through some calculations to show you how easily this can help you. Don't worry if you have trouble doing these kind of calculations, I even have an on line calculator which will do all the math for you, but in order for you to feel confident about this, it is useful for you to follow along with me. OK?

When you go shopping for tires you probably already have tires on your vehicle which you know something about. This is where you start.

For example, if you have a tire which gave you 20 months of use and its treadwear rating was 240, purchasing a new tire with that same rating -- especially if it is the same brand of tire, should give you about the same life.

You can divide the life of the tire by it's treadwear number to get a factor that you can use to estimate how long a tire with a different treadwear will last. Using the example we just gave,

20 divided by 240 gives 0.083.

So, if you multiply another treadwear rate by this factor you can see that a tire with a Treadwear 100 would have an expected life of 8.3 months

100 x .083= 8.3

and if you considered a tire with Treadwear 300 you might expect that tire to last 24.9 months.

300 x .083 = 24.9

So, now you ask yourself: Will I be happy if this new tire gives me almost 25 months (or whatever you calculated using your own numbers) of service? If the answer is "Yes" keep that tire on your list, otherwise look for something different. Got the idea?

What mileage will I get from a tire?

As with lifespan, the mileage you get from a tire depends very much on the individual specific driving conditions which that tire is subjected to.

If you are replacing a tire with a new one and you already know how many miles (or kilometers) you have gotten in use, you can expect something very similar with a tire that has the same tire treadwear rating.

Picking up on the earlier example if your tire with a treadwear of 240 gave you 30,000 miles use, you'd be reasonable in expecting about the same number of miles from a new tire with the same rating.

Again you can divide the mileage by the rating to give you a mileage factor for your own particular use. In this case dividing 30,000 by 240 gives a result of 125.

30,000 / 240 =125

Use this factor in considering tires with a different treadwear. A tire rated at 100 might be expected to last only 12,500 miles where another with a rating of 320 would have an expected life of 40,000 miles

320 x 125 = 40,000

Always remember, that if you change vehicles, or move to another area where roads or climate are different, or if another person is going to use the vehicle, the results are possibly going to be different.

Another thing to consider is what the manufacturer's warranty states for life expectancy of the tire. If it is greatly different from what you just calculated, you need to be asking why there's a difference.

Which tire is a better value?

Just as we used treadwear to compare mileage or lifespan of a tire, we could also use the rating to compare prices.

If a tire which costs $30.00 has a tire treadwear of 240, the price factor is obtained by dividing the price by 240 to give $0.125

$30.00 / 240 = $0.125

and we can see that each treadwear unit should cost about twelve and one half cents. Thus, a tire rated at 100 would have a price of $12.50

100 x $0.125 = $12.50

and another with a rating of 450 would be a similiar value if you paid $56.25 for it.

450 x $0.125= $56.25

Putting it all together

You can use the treadwear rating as one of your tools to select the best tire for you. It may not be the only one you need to consider.

Sometimes, other factors, such as traction, load, speed, handling or noise may be more important to you than just life expectation alone.

You will probably discover that if you examine high performance tires, that the treadwear rating is different from a more popular tire and the price may be higher. This is because the ingredients of the high performance tire usually cost more than those used in ordinary tires, and unfortunately they may wear out faster. If you are very demanding in your car's performance and handling, you may have to pay a higher price to get what you want.

So, if you discover that a higher priced tire has a lower Treadwear than a more economic tire, you might be looking at two totally different classes of tire. The treadwear vs price comparison can alert you to this difference.

And always be cautious in comparing one brand's treadwear with another brand. They should be similiar, but there's no regulation to ensure that they will be.

Be sure to download your own Treadwear Calculator, and if you want to start doing some of you tire shopping on line now, you might wish to start with Tire Rack.



Other useful links

Visit Tire Information World's Exclusive Tire Care and Accessories Store.

Click Here to Download your free Portable Treadwear Calculator Now

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