How long do new car tires last?

My 2010 Ford Focus Tires have only 38,000 miles on them. I have lost two of them, and I’m concerned about losing the other two. Should I replace the two tires that have not gone flat? The two that have gone are on the right side. I have not hit anything or run over anything to my knowledge. I lost the right rear tire two weeks ago and the right front tire yesterday. Should I go ahead and replace the ones on the left?

Michele Huffman, London, Ohio

Unhappy owners have told us that they had to replace tires after only 20,000 to 25,000 miles, so others have experienced worse luck than you. In addition, 38,000 miles in less than two years is a lot of driving, so your tires have been working overtime — unless you meant 3,800 miles. (More on that farther down.)

Tire life depends on too many factors to say how many miles you should expect. Some tires are built to last longer than others, so the ones that came on your vehicle are clearly a factor. More expensive models typically have better tires, but automakers try to pinch pennies wherever they can. Tires wear faster when they’re underinflated or out of balance, or if the vehicle needs an alignment. And then there’s your driving style. Driving like a NASCAR wannabe takes a heavy toll on your rubber. We’re not accusing you of either of the above, just pointing out how many variables there are.


You said your tires went flat, but you didn’t say why. Whoever replaced your tires should have provided an explanation or pointed out evidence (such as uneven tread wear). The tires that came on your Focus are guaranteed by the tire manufacturer, not by Ford, and tire warranties are typically based on tread wear rather than the number of miles. Information on how to pursue a warranty claim should have been included with the car. You should find that info and, with receipts for your new tires in hand, contact the tire manufacturer to see if you are due any compensation on a prorated basis.

Before you replace the two remaining original tires on your car, we suggest you explain your situation to a Ford dealer or trusted mechanic to find out if there is an alignment issue or other problem with your car. Replacing tires without fixing an ongoing problem will result in more flats. The two original tires (which should be on the same axle) could have many more happy miles left.

Now, if your tires went flat after just 3,800 miles, something was wrong with the tires or the car’s alignment or suspension system, or you’re having some really bad luck with getting punctures from nails, glass or something similar. Follow the same advice above, but also find out if any work could be covered by your car’s warranty.

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Answered by Rick Popely on September 2, 2011 in I'm Just Wondering | Permalink

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