Tire Treadwear - a valuable tool

I'm going to tell you about a tool which more people should use when comparing tires. Somewhere along the line, treadwear got the reputation of being "no good", so it has fallen into misuse.

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. In the photo below the treadwear rating of the tire is 340.

The Treadwear rating is not widely used because it is considered to be unreliable based on the idea that if each manufacturer does their own treadwear rating they are not going to be very objective about the results.

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. It's 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 due to the fact that their "standard tire" is not the same as Company A's standard tire.

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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

There are several way to apply the treadwear rating in your own tire purchasing experience.

Choose one of the following for more details:

  1. Estimate how long a tire will last

  2. Estimate the mileage a certain tire will give you

  3. Determine which of several tires is the best value for your money.

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.


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