Despite their importance, you might not think about your tires unless you get a flat or need to have snow tires put on or removed. But tire maintenance is one of the most critical parts of responsible car ownership. This includes getting your tires changed or rotated when they become worn down.
If you’ve ever asked yourself, “How bad should a tire be before you call a tow truck?” or, “Is my tire okay to drive on?” then this article is for you.
Here are some of the dangers of driving on bad tires.
Tire treads and why they’re important
The little grooves on tires are called treads. They offer extra grip on less-than-ideal road conditions, like snow, rain or mud. They also wick water away from the tire in addition to letting air flow underneath it to prevent overheating.
Having a healthy tread on your car’s tires is crucial, as a study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 26.2 percent of automobile accidents involved vehicles with insufficient tread (1/16 of an inch or less).
You can check your tires’ tread by using the penny test. Take a penny with Abraham Lincoln’s head facing downwards, and insert it into the tire tread. If any part of Lincoln’s head is covered, you should be good, but if it’s totally visible, you’ll need to get new tires.
Dangers of driving on worn tires
There are several risks of driving on tires that are too worn down or bald:
- Increased risk of hydroplaning: This is every driver’s biggest nightmare: driving in pounding rain and losing control of the car because the water forms a slick barrier between the road and your tires. This is extremely dangerous and can be prevented by tires with a healthy tread.
- Loss of traction on snow and ice: If you live in an area of the country that gets regular snow, you know how important it is to have tires that can grip the road in snowy conditions. While you could and should use special snow tires during the winter months, your regular tires could work fine if they’re equipped with sipes. Sipes are small grooves put in tires to increase traction on the snowy road. You should entirely avoid driving on snow with bald tires if possible.
- Potential loss of tire pressure: Tires that are worn lose their air pressure faster because they’re more subject to the repeated heating and cooling cycle that most tires go through. This can be more than an annoying dashboard light, though, as tires with poor air pressure can not only be inefficient, but they can be more hazardous to drive on too.
- Overheating and blowouts: We touched on this above, but bald or worn tires heat up faster than tires with proper tread. During the summer, this can be an issue because the pavement is often 20 to 30 degrees hotter than the surface temperature. Bald tires that overheat can be prone to blowouts, so make sure your tires aren’t too worn this summer.
Call for tire service today
Now you’ll no longer have to ask, “How bad should a tire be before you call a tow truck?” or, “Is my tire okay to drive on?” If you do have unfortunate tire trouble, call us at S & R Repairs Towing and Recovery Inc. We can cover anything from towing to accident cleanup with our trademark reliability and high-quality customer service.
Categorised in: Tires