Why New Tech, Electric and Special Features Wear Down Tires and Increase Prices

If you buy a fancy new car or even an older electric car, you may experience sticker shock when it’s time to replace your tires. Personally, after writing about Michelin All-Season Premier tires, I thought that they would be great for my Nissan Leaf because they wear so that rain still disperses when the tread goes down. I was shocked when I needed to replace my Michelin tires that are rated for 60,000 miles at a little over 20,000 miles.

I asked the the Automobile Club (AAA) for help to find out why my tires were at 4/32 in less than 3 years and 20,000 miles.

“Anecdotal evidence does seem to indicate that EVs are harder on tires than comparably sized conventional vehicles. There are several factors that likely contribute to this. First, EVs typically use low-rolling-resistance tires that are relatively narrow for the size of the vehicle to help extend driving range. Second, due to their large batteries, EVs are somewhat heavier than conventional cars of similar size. Third, EV motors deliver maximum torque at low rpm, which means EVs are able to accelerate rapidly when leaving a stop. All three of these factors can contribute to increased tire wear” reported AAA spokeswoman Ellen Edmonds.

EVs can suffer accelerated tire wear for many other reasons that are shared with conventional cars. These include, excessive heat, improper inflation, aggressive driving by the vehicle operator, wheels that are out of alignment, failure to regularly rotate the tires, and wear or damage to the car’s suspension, she added.

In fact, I do live in Southern California where it is very hot and found out after several visits to mechanics that I have suspension problems. However I do not drive aggressively, my average MPH is 19.4 MPH.

“Because electrical vehicles have fast torque it can affect the wear of the tire ,” confirmed Woody Rodgers tire technology specialist for Tire Rack, “New car technology can also cause sticker shock for tire buyers.”

High end features such as all-wheel drive, special wheels and run-flat tires can add considerable cost to replacing a set of four tires.

“We’ve seen vehicles owners and every segment have sticker shock when they didn’t realize that a the cost of a wheel package, performance cars, SUV or even run-flat tires,” said Rogers.

The new feature of tire pressuring monitors  (TPM) of he car owner being notified when the car tire needs tire pressure is very helpful says Rogers and will actually decrease wear on the tire. For example Rogers notes that his in 2011 Honda pickup the TPM and lights will only go on when it is low 8 PSI while his wife’s 2017 Mini Clubman will actually show the tire pressure and notify her of when the tires are only a few PSI low.

The good news is that the chemical mix for tires for all brands- what’s in it and how the different compounds are dispersed and the chemicals are bonded at a molecular level is proving to be better all around including  for wet traction, snow and tire life says Rogers.

Tires continue to be want to do more, costing about the same but they still require proper maintenance to fulfill their promises,” concluded Rogers.