Do You Really Need To Break In New Tires?

You just bought a new car and can’t wait to get in on the action? Or did you just replace your old worn tires with a new set of shiny tires? Either way, you should take it easy, because new tires need some time to get used to their new role.

Like a pair of shoes, the straps must be broken.

Although you may be tempted to burn some rubber when you buy new tires, it is best to resist the urge to do so. According to Continental Tires, a number of factors can cause your car’s new set of tires to perform differently than the old set. Here are the three main factors the tire manufacturer points out:

  • Lubricant: Tire manufacturers use a “release lubricant” to de-mold tires during production. This lubricant stays on the tire until it wears off under normal driving conditions.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants are applied to tires to prevent degradation of the rubber due to temperature changes. They can also give tires a soft feel to begin with.
  • Tread depth: New tires have a maximum tread depth when first installed. And if much of the tread is good, it can lead to “flexing,” i.e., excessive movement due to the softness of the rubber between the tread and the casing.

An image of a Porsche Taycan with all-new Pirelli tires. Porsche Taycan | Pirelli

For these three reasons alone, it’s not a bad idea to let your new tires sink in and familiarize them with the road they will be ridden on. All you need to do to break them in is drive them normally for the first 500 miles to make sure all the lubricants and chemicals have done their time. And by “normal driving” we don’t mean accelerating, braking or taking a turn too fast. Instead, try to keep your ride smooth and enjoyable.

Someone performing the penny test by lowering a penny into a tire's grooves to measure the tread depth Someone test the quarter. Photo by Robert Duffer/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

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With the new tires, there is an adjustment period.

In addition to new tires, you may need a break-in period. Even if you install the same brand and type of tires on your vehicle, the extra tread depth can make the tires less responsive until they are properly run in. This is because older tires with less tread respond more quickly to steering inputs because they offer less resistance and flexibility during maneuvers. The opposite is true for new tires. So they may feel a little different until you take them apart.

Technician Dave Serdar rotates the tires on a Chevy Traverse Tire change John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Why not just put modern tires on a classic car.

How to get the most out of your new tires.

Now that you know how to properly install a set of new tires, it is important that you maintain them properly to extend their life. This usually means replacing your tires regularly, usually at every oil change, and making sure they are always properly inflated. Remember that tire pressure can fluctuate depending on weather conditions, so check your car’s tire pressure regularly.

Frequently asked questions

Can the new tires affect the brakes?

Reason: tire diameter affects the readings of the wheel speed sensors, which in turn affect the operation of the ABS and traction control. Fitting different sizes of tires front and rear can also affect the operation of the anti-lock braking system.

How do I break new tires?

How do I break new tires? For the first 500 miles, focus on an easy and smooth driving style – acceleration, braking and smooth cornering. This will safely prepare your tires for consistent performance. After this period of use, the lubricants and other substances used in the manufacturing process wear out completely.

Is it bad to have only two new tires?

Tim Haynes, who is singing the praises of Direct Tire & Auto in Watertown, Massachusetts, says that all four tires should always be replaced when they are worn out. According to Auto Correspondents, buying just two new front tires can increase your chances of fishing or skidding. Different sized tires can also unbalance a vehicle’s suspension.

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