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A mechanic changing SUV tires

Replacing SUV tires

There are several indicators that tell you when you should replace your tires

When should I replace my SUV tires?

  • Replace your tires at least every 10 years
  • Replace tires if they get punctured
  • When tread depth is below 5mm on 4X4 tires, it’s time to replace them
  • If you have on-road tires, replace summer tires when tread depth is 3mm and when winter tires are 4mm
  • Replace tires when they have uneven or abnormal wear
  • Replace all four tires at the same time

Most drivers want to avoid replacing tires as long as possible. However, even with the most advanced tire technology, it’s important to replace your tires in order to maintain great performance and maximum safety. And, since they’re the one thing that connects your vehicle to the road, it’s worth investing in quality, durable tires. While there’s no specific answer as to how often you should replace your SUV tires, there are several indicators that will tell you when you should replace them. As a general rule, all tires – including spares – more than ten years old, should be replaced with new ones immediately.   

Do you have to replace punctured tires?

If you own a 4X4 SUV, chances are you take it off-road at least occasionally. As you traverse through mud, snow, rocks or steep inclines in extreme temperatures, the elements can eventually cause damage, especially if you’ve had your tires for a few years. However, if the puncture occurs on or near the sidewall, you will need to replace the tire immediately. 
If you’re worried about getting caught in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire, consider getting self supporting runflat tires or self-repairing ContiSeal™ tires that allow you to continue driving in the event of a puncture. 

A mechanic checking tire tread depth

Check tread depth regularly

Tread depth

Treadwear is a major factor to consider when replacing your tires. If you have an on-road SUV with tire tread depth down to 1.6 mm, it’s time to get new tires. In fact, our tire experts suggest a minimum tread depth of 3 mm for summer tires and 4 mm for winter tires. These millimeters can make meters of difference when you suddenly need to break in wet weather.
However, if you have an off-road SUV, you will need to replace your tires around the 5 mm mark, as the tread will be far too low to be provide traction on rugged terrain. When your tread depth is low, the chances of getting bogged are high!
In case you're unsure, learn how to check your tread depth here.

a new tire in great condition and an old tire where the tread is worn

Check your tires for unusual tire wear

Abnormal or uneven tire wear

If you notice patches of uneven or abnormal wear across your tire, this may indicate that there is a mechanical problem with your vehicle. Some common issues include improper wheel alignment, a drawback with wheel balance, or an uneven suspension or transmission. Unfortunately, each of these will impact the performance of the tire, no matter what kind of SUV you have. If you feel you're losing traction while driving and notice uneven wear, have your tires and your car checked out by a professional. 

If it’s not a mechanical problem causing abnormal wear, there’s a good chance that you’re driving with the wrong tire pressure. If you notice wear on both shoulders of the tire, it’s most likely underinflated. And if the wear is along the center of the tire, it’s most likely over-inflated. As a rule of thumb, check your SUV tire pressure every 2 weeks but at least once a month. No matter if you have summer, winter, all-season, 4X4, or all-terrain tires, they all need the correct amount of air. 

Replace all four tires at the same time

While it’s possible to switch out only one or two tires at a time, we strongly recommend replacing all four tires at the same time for optimal safety and performance. This is especially true for off-road SUVs. Replacing only a single tire can impact vehicle suspension or transmission and produce excessive wear on the tire tread. However, if replacing only one tire, ensure it has the same or similar tread pattern as the other tire on the same axle. Otherwise, pair the single replacement tire with the one that has the deepest tread depth, then fit both to the rear axle. Mixing opposite tread patterns will impair the handling characteristics of your car. If you’re unsure of how to replace a single tire, ask your local tire dealer, they’ll be happy to help.

To avoid replacing your SUV tires too often, consider the way you drive. Your driving habits have a direct effect on the life of your tires. Hard acceleration, sharp and fast turns, and hard braking will only increase wear, so aim to be a mindful driver.

Can I take my SUV off-road?

Most SUVs can go off paved roads to a certain degree, but for serious off-roading, you need four-wheel drive and tires that can tackle any terrain.

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Person adding air to their SUV tires

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