On Tread Life

Thursday, July 8, 2010 by Grant Edwards
I would like to talk about the Uniform Tire Quality Grade Standards (UTQG) rating of a tire. When created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), UTQG ratings were meant to give tire buyers a tangible interpretation of a tire's tread life expectancy, overall traction performance and temperature capabilities. While not an exact science, these UTQG ratings can offer some insight into a tire.

Let’s look at the UTQG’s treadwear ratings (e.g. 700 AA A) since it is one that consumers focus on. In theory, the larger the number, the longer the tread life. In fact, this rating should be just one of the guides for tire selection.

The rating provides a mere glimpse of tread life, not a guarantee. It is an assigned number that a manufacturer stamps on a tire’s sidewall. It is not based on standardized testing by the Department of Transportation, but from independent testing by privately hired vendors. The rating does not indicate how the tires were tested and does not tell what kind of driver one has to be in order to achieve the tread life that the rating indicates. I would recommend that when you are looking for tires, treat the treadwear rating as one of the tools in your tire decision-making process. Making your research exclusive to the treadwear rating will lead to a disappointing experience.

Learn more about treadwear ratings!

Comments on On Tread Life

Monday, November 15, 2010 by carl:
why can't you guys make a chart of treadwear... 700=60,000 miles and so on! why must this be so difficult?
Monday, November 15, 2010 by Grant:
Carl, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately the information is not accurate enough to make a estimate of the number of miles a tire will wear. Each tire manufacturer uses a different tire as the base 100 treadwear tire and the tests to develop the number are of a short distance and the wear is estimated from the initial wear rate. Wear can also vary greatly depending on the vehicle, road conditions and driving habits. We will continue to research ways to offer a better estimate but so far we have not found an accurate system.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 by Tracy:
I have to say I disagree with the original statement. If you were to use only one guide to make a decision on what tire to buy I would use the treadwear rating. It is not a guarantee understandable, but it also subject to at least some scientific measure. The test milage is low, 7800 miles I think, that is driven over a specific loop somewhere in Texas and the tires are rotated within that distance. I am not sure what the original poster means when they say the each manufacturer uses a "different tire" as a base. There is the original standard that was set up by the UTQG to take manufacturers manipulation out of the equasion. While difinately not perfect it is a valuable tool. The average driver does not really care about the speed rating or traction rating, they care about "how long before they wear out?" Looking at manufacturers warranties and the fine print in them such as a high mileage rating over a shorter period of time or a lower mileage over a longer period of time are all marketing tools that manufacturers spend millions of dollars on to calculate how they can offer a warranty without actually exposing themselves to claims. When it comes to a warranty claim, generally, the owner did not rotate properly, there was another issue that caused the tire wear, or the tires as so close that the pro-rated warranty is not worth the time to fill out the paperwork.
Respectfully

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