How Your Living Environment Affects Tire Life

Tire Life: City vs. Suburbs

It would be completely false and unfair to say that driving in one place is better or more beneficial than the other regarding tire life. That’s simply not the case. However, it’s important to note the types of roads/situations you typically encounter on your daily commute and just how it is you like to drive on those roads. Here are four things to consider regarding your driving habits in the city vs. the suburbs that can affect tire life.

  • Speed – Driving faster can accelerate the wear on your tires by 25%. Higher speeds generate way more heat on your tires because of the friction. That kind of change in temperature can affect your tire pressure and ratchet up tire wear. In what instances do you think you might find yourself speeding more often—in the city or the suburbs? That answer might not be so clear, but know that no matter where you are, if you’re speeding, you’re also speeding up the wear on your tread. Call me crazy, but maybe since there’s more traffic in the big city you’re driving slower. And slow and steady wins the race. Advantage: City!
  • Turns and Curves – Most turns in cities tend to be sharper, since you’re dealing with more traffic, grids, stop signs, and lights. Curves in the suburbs are subtler in most cases, allowing you to keep up a higher speed but handle the curve safely. In either case, taking turns and curves too fast is risky business. Taking turns and curves at high speeds can cause skidding or spinning out, ultimately wearing down your tire’s tread unevenly. Hard cornering transfers the weight of the car to the outside wheels, increasing the load on the shoulders, which can significantly increase wear. The many corners and the bustle of city life both make for harsh wear on your tires. Advantage: Suburbs!
  • Fast Starts and Panic Stops – Traffic. No one knows why it’s there most times. But we all know that feeling when it starts to move and just when we get comfortable…BOOM. We have to slam on our brakes again. Continual acceleration and fierce braking, which occur frequently in traffic-heavy cities, wear away patches from the tire tread, leading to bald spots that can expose a hole in the casing. And with tread wearing away from this style of driving, handling is compromised and stopping distance is lengthened. Advantage: Suburbs!
  • Potholes vs. Smooth Road Surfaces – Potholes are caused by the presence of water in the underlying soil structure and the amount of traffic that passes over that area. By that definition, potholes can occur anywhere—not just in cities. However, because so much more traffic passes over these areas in cities, potholes are more prevalent in city driving. But given the specific styles mentioned above, your speed can dictate whether or not you’ll be spitting out some choice language after falling deep into a pothole while rounding a curve in the city or the suburbs. I want fewer potholes. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Advantage: Suburbs!

Tires are essential to the comfort of your driving experience. And geographical location definitely dictates your driving habits, which could have an effect on your tires. Not all roads are created equal, so your tires react to the road surface and how you drive your car. The life of your tires depends on it.