Today’s tires can last 50,000 miles or more. If that kind of long-term commitment terrifies you, take heart — you won’t have to live with your tires that long if you follow these 10 simple tire-wasting tips. They’ll help you wear out the best of tires in no time.
Toss your tire gauge. Underinflated tires wear faster at the edges, but it’s the heat buildup caused by flexing and road friction that does the real damage to underinflated tires. Excessive heat can bring on catastrophic tire failure. To wreck a set of tires quickly, disregard the recommended tire pressures for your car.
Skip rotations. On all cars, the front tires steer the car and do most of the braking. Front-wheel drive adds acceleration to the front tires’ duties. On a car with rear-wheel drive, the back tires take care of acceleration and some braking. Rotating tires equalizes wear by spreading the different forces more evenly among the tires, so if you’re out to ruin the tires, leave the tires just where they are, mile after mile.
Let wheel alignment go. Faulty front-end alignment can drag a tire sideways or lean it onto one edge — sure ways to wipe some miles off its life.
Balancing. If you can live with the thump of out-of-balance tires, you can use up a set of tires in a hurry. Uneven tread wear from unbalanced tires is enough to force them into early retirement. An uncomfortable ride, bad handling, and possible damage to the car are just bonuses.
Whip around corners. A sharp, tire-squealing turn not only impresses bystanders but also scrubs a few more miles off your tires.
Do some burnouts. At the very least, nail the accelerator every time you take off from a stop to shred some miles off those tires.
Skid to a stop. Zoom up to every stop signal and slam on the brakes. Remember, any black stripes you leave on the street — whether starting, stopping, or turning — represent tire miles you don’t have to drive.
Overload it. If you believe it’s fair game to haul whatever fits inside or on top of your vehicle, you’re on your way to minimizing tire mileage. Tires are rated for the load they can carry, as indicated by the load index, a two- or three-digit number on the sidewall. The vehicle manufacturer’s load recommendations take the load and the vehicle weight into account. The safe load is often far less than the number of people or volume of stuff that your vehicle actually fits.
Crunch into curbs and potholes. Sharp impacts can do some real damage to tires, so the more often you slam into curbs, potholes, rough rail crossings, and the like, the sooner you can get rid of those tires.
Take the rough, twisty route. You’ll have those tires practically for eternity if you only ever drive straight, smooth highways at a steady speed. Once you get onto a winding, twisting roads or substandard pavement, you can chop tire mileage down to size. Stop-and-go city traffic can eat into your tire mileage, too, especially if you wheel around those mean streets like a TV cop.