Quick Facts About Replacing Electric Car Tires
- The wrong electric vehicle (EV) tires can affect range.
- Electric cars are heavier, causing them to need more durable tires.
- Electric car tires wear 20% faster than those of gas-powered vehicles.
Electric cars use special tires to handle the added weight of the battery pack. So unlike a gasoline-powered vehicle that can use a wider variety of tires, finding the right one for an electric car may be more challenging and expensive.
There is much to consider when it’s time to replace EV tires. Keep reading to learn about replacing your electric vehicle tires, issues you may encounter, and where to find them.
Why EVs Use Special Tires
There are several reasons why electric cars need specific tires. See several of the reasons below:
- More weight. While electric and gasoline-powered cars may look similar, EVs are typically heavier — a GMC Hummer EV pickup weighs more than 9,000 pounds. The Ford F-150 Lightning, with its electric batteries, weighs up to 6,500 pounds, while its gas-powered counterpart weighs about 5,600 pounds. To counterbalance the extra weight, electric cars and trucks need tires engineered to handle the extra braking distance required to stop the vehicle. Car safety experts at the National Transportation Safety Board recently voiced concerns about the weight of some of today’s electric vehicles.
- Can affect range. An EV’s tires are often more durable with low rolling resistance, which means they help with range. Also, putting larger wheel-and-tire sets on an electric vehicle may make it heavier, meaning they can deplete the battery range faster.
- Greater wear on tires. According to Hyundai, “the tires of electric vehicles wear 20% faster than those of internal combustion engines, which is due to the acceleration of electric vehicles that generate strong instantaneous power.” If you were to put traditional tires on an electric vehicle, they would wear prematurely and require you to replace them more often.
- Noise levels. Electric car motors are known for their near-silent operation. To dampen road noise entering less loud EV cabins, particularly at higher speeds, some manufacturers add foam linings to the interior cavities of tires.
Read more in our electric vehicle tires guide.
When to Replace EV Tires
EV tires typically last around 30,000 to 40,000 miles before needing replacement. This number can vary depending on your driving habits, though. If you have a faster electric car and want to test out the increased torque and acceleration daily, your tire’s lifespan will get cut short.
When it’s time to replace your EV tires, you’ll get some fairly typical warning signs as you would from tires on a gas-powered vehicle. We recommend you check the tire’s tread level every few months to ensure grip. Manufacturers of electric car tires make them with extra grip to handle acceleration, so your tires must be maintained for safety and more extended wear.
Most tires have a tread indicator built-in, so if it shows on the tire, you know it’s time for a replacement. However, if your tires don’t have this, you only need a penny to check the tread. Stick the penny with Lincoln’s head down into the tread. If you can see his entire head, it’s time for new tires. Your tires are still good if you can only see a little or part of the head.
Can You Replace EV Tires With Regular Tires?
You can replace EV tires with standard tires. However, we strongly recommend you follow the carmaker’s guidelines for the electric car model you drive. These tires are made to give your vehicle the best range, handle the weight of the battery pack, withstand the increased acceleration of an EV, and more. Traditional tires cannot bear all the weight and pressure of an electric car.
While using traditional tires on an electric car may be cheaper, you will spend more money in the long run. Conventional tires are not made to handle the speed and weight of an electric car, so they will wear faster — putting you back to needing new tires.
We suggest buying EV-specific tires, and you may want to consider replacing them with the same tires your vehicle came with if available.
Where to Find the Right EV Tires
While you’ll see fewer options when looking for EV tires, you can still find them almost anywhere tires are sold. Dealerships and tire shops carry EV tires, though you may experience issues finding them due to global supply chain issues.
Check the owner’s manual for your car to see what tires the manufacturer recommends. Then, research the type of tires you can afford before heading to the dealership or tire retailer to check out the selection in stock. It will help you know and understand what you need when selecting the tires that work best for your vehicle and budget.
EVs don’t require much maintenance. They don’t need oil changes or engine-related maintenance, and thanks to regenerative braking, they experience less brake system wear. But, the cost of replacing tires can get high.
Since there are fewer choices for electric vehicle tires, you will pay a higher price for four new tires. EV-specific tires could set you back between $150 to $300 per tire. Prices go up from there for some high-performance versions.