Perhaps its our society’s aversion for the word “balding,” but studies have shown that Americans don’t know how to tell when their tires are going bad.
This is concerning for many safety reasons, but it also shows how much consumers rely on the expertise of their local mechanics. Truth be told, if drivers didn’t take their cars in for oil changes, they’d most likely never know to check out the health of their tires.
Take it for what it’s worth, but driving is already statistically one of the most dangerous ways to get around. When you add the risks surrounding the decrease in traction without any tread, it’s a recipe for potential disasters.
The recent studies carried out by the US Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) shows that over one third of all American drivers can’t tell if a tire is bald. On top of that, 40 percent of people believe they can tell if a tire is under-inflated from looking at it, and only 17 percent know how to check their tire’s pressure.
This is disappointing information as soon as you realize that vehicles with worn-out tires are three times more likely to end up in a crash. That’s according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Here’s what they had to say about the study:
This study showed that tire-related crashes were more likely as your tire’s tread wears, with accident rates at just 2.4 percent when tires had near full tread depth to 26 percent when the tires were worn-out (0 – 2 /32” depth). We recommend consumers start shopping for new tires at 4/32” tread depth while some all-weather grip is still available. At this point tire-related crashes approached 8 percent.
The NHTSA added – “Properly checking and inflating your tires is an important step to help make your tires last longer, save you money and protect you and your family on the road.” The agency recommends checking your tire pressure and tread every 30 days.
What You Can Do
All tires have built-in “treadwear indicators” run in between the tire’s tread. When the tread is worn out, it will be level with the tread indicator. That’s the indication that it’s time to get new tires. You can also run tire tests using any coin you have laying around.
As a bald man myself, it’s sad to see drivers refusing to accept a tire’s fate like this. Safety is much more important than vanity (or money), so when it comes to balding tires, let’s not neglect the inevitable. Let’s be proactive and get the wig your car so desperately deserves!