Driving on bald tires is dangerous, especially during the winter months when the Fredericksburg, VA, roads get wet and icy. If you aren’t faithful about having your vehicle’s tires rotated every 6,000 to 10,000 miles, you might be driving on bald tires and not know it. DOC Auto explains how to tell if your tires are bald and the dangers you face if you continue to drive on them throughout the winter months.
Coin Tire Tread Check
There is an easy way to check the tread depth on your tires. Grab a penny or quarter and head to the garage. Turn the coin top-of-the-head side up toward the tire with the president on the coin facing you. Insert the coin between your tire tread rows on several different places on each tire. If there is any place on the tire where you can see all of Abraham Lincoln or George Washington’s head, your tread is worn and it’s time to get new tires. If the tread covers part of the president’s head, you’re okay for now.
Why Tread Is Important
Tire tread helps your tires grip the road. It also protects the tires, if you will. If you look at a new tire, you’ll see deep grooves between the tire tread; this is what prevents hydroplaning on wet roads. A tire with plenty of tread funnels water on the road through the grooves between the tread and this ensures the tire doesn’t lose traction. A bald tire cannot funnel water through tread grooves and, as such, has no way to grip the road. Consequently, bald tires easily lift from the wet road and the vehicle hydroplanes.
Drivers should not only be concerned about wet or icy roads, however, when driving on bald tires. Bald tires can also lose traction on dry roads and they are more susceptible to blowouts and flats. Again, think about the tire’s tread. The tread creates a barrier between the exterior and interior portions of the tire, if you will, and if you pick up a small nail, for example, the nail might not penetrate a tire’s tread but it will penetrate a bald tire. Low or no tire tread weakens the tire’s structure, which leads to trouble.