People choose minivans for several reasons, which include their row seating, large space for seats and loads, and complete safety. A minivan offers ample space for accommodating a full family and their cargo.
However, irrespective of the reason why you choose the minivan, the tires are as important as the minivan itself because the tires are the minivan’s sole contact with the road.
Hence, the minivan tires need to be in good shape to ensure your safety and that of your passengers, as well as the safety of other road users.
As a driver, you need to inspect and maintain the minivan tires to ensure that they are either serviced or replaced before they create unsafe situations.
In a bid to keep the minivan tires in good condition and suitable for all driving conditions, most minivan owners usually seek answers to the questions, “how long should minivan tires last?” “What factors affect minivan tires?”
These are important questions even as most people report that minivan tires tend to wear out quickly. While it is generally believed that minivan tires should last between 40,000 to 70,000 miles, read on to find out how long should minivan tires last and what factors affect minivan tires.
How Long Should Minivan Tires Last?
Did you just get a new minivan and wondering how long the minivan tires would last before you replace them? Normally, your minivan tires should last you about 40,000 to 70,000 miles. However, how long the tires would last is largely dependent on your driving habit, how much weight your minivan carries, and the type of tires they are.
Some tires are designed to last for about 60,000 to 80,000 miles. Such tires would last longer in your minivan than those designed to last for just 30,000 miles. Under normal circumstances, the 60,000-mile minivan tires are expected to last twice as long as the 30,000-mile minivan tires – though not twice as expensive.
As stated above, how you drive your minivan also determines how long your minivan tires will last. If you drive so frequently, accelerate pretty fast, and brake hard while negotiating corners, then your tires will naturally wear out faster than if you drive more conservatively.
How much weight you typically haul around with your minivan will also determine how long the tires will last. If you are also always hauling heavy equipment or a lot of people in your minivan that will also cause the tires to wear out faster as well.
Also, note that how long your minivan tire would last depends on the design of the tires. However, tire manufacturers and service companies suggest general mileage limits to help prevent driving on unsafe tires. Most tire manufacturers suggest replacing tires after six years of use irrespective of the tread depth.
How to Know Your Tires’ Production Date?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), all tire manufacturers must include the month and year a tire is produced on the sidewall near the rim in the Tire Identification Number (DOT serial number). The DOT serial number contains the letters “DOT” followed by eight to 13 other letters and/or numbers.
For tires made in 2000 or later, the production date comes as the last four digits of the DOT serial number. For instance, a tire with a DOT serial number of “DOT U2LL LMLR 3209” was made in the 32nd week of 2009 – the first two digits identify the week, and the last two identify the year of manufacture.
Factors That Affect Tires
Tires provide grip, stability, comfort, and protection, among other things for the minivan. Being the legs of the minivan, they bear all the pressure and loads from the minivan. With that pressure and loads come other numerous external wear-and-tear factors that are constantly wearing on tires and breaking them down. These external wear-and-tear factors, which include weather and road conditions, tend to destroy the rubbers, chemicals, and plastics that make up a tire.
Tire Health Checklist
It’s important to always check that your car is in good health because a lot can go wrong with a tire. When checking the health of your minivan tires, always look for the following factors and be aware of them:
The pressure of the tires: Always examine the air pressure inside the tires. This is usually measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). The recommended tire pressure may either be indicated on the sidewall of the tires or on the car door at the driver side.
While you may do an eyeball test to guess when you should put air into your tires, it’s better to use a tire pressure gauge to check your tires – you can do this once a week. It only takes a few minutes to do but can save your time, money, and health in the future.
Tread depth: You need to check how deep the patterned exterior ridges of the tires are. New tires have a very deep tread depth but the more the tire is used, the shallower the depth becomes until the tread wears off completely.
Punctures: Examine if anything has punctured or penetrated the tire (and/or inner tube) that can cause air to leak out. You should also check if the tire is leaking along the edge of the rim (tire bead area) or valve slot/stem.
Cracks/dry-rotting: Watch out for splits or cracks in the minivan tires. If you notice splits or cracks in any of the tires, such tires are not safe for driving and should be replaced immediately.
Over/under inflation: Tires should be inflated to the right pressure. Overinflation or underinflation will not only cause uneven tread wear but will also affect the full performance capabilities of the tires.
Balance and Alignment: To function properly, the tire/wheel combination must be balanced and the mass distribution of tires must also be even and balanced. Therefore, always ensure that the wheels are balanced and mass distribution of tires are also even and balanced.
Top Tips for Tire Care and Maintenance
To make your minivan tires last long, here are some pro tips for care and maintenance:
- Most people don’t always follow this maintenance tip but it’s the best. Always replace minivan tires in complete sets i.e. change all four tires at once. Driving with unmatched tires can create problems with driving or cause the tread to wear faster.
- Always go along with a spare tire and always check that it is well inflated. The last thing you would want to experience is to be stranded with a deflated tire.
- All tires have wear bars built into them. If the tread of your tire is even with the bar, then it’s time to change the tires.
Rotating your minivan tires can also help in prolonging their lives. Tire rotating means swapping the front tires with the rear ones or vice versa.
If your minivan is front-wheel drive, the front tires will wear more quickly and can be swapped with the rear tires. The reverse is the case for a rear-wheel drive.
The tires of an all-wheel-drive minivan can be rotated too. Some minivan manuals indicate the recommended pattern for rotating tires to spread the wear evenly. The US Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) recommends tires be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.