If you're an American who drives a car or truck, then there's almost a 50 percent chance you have at least one substantially worn tire (a substantially worn tire has tread at least halfway worn down). While that's a scary thought, since significantly worn tires aren't as safe as they should be, things get even scarier as your tires wear down more.
This guide lists four ways that hazardously worn-down tires can cause you to lose control of your car while driving.
1. Encouraging Hydroplaning
Hydroplaning is one of the more well-known dangers of worn tires. However, some people have the misconception that hydroplaning is only a danger if your tires are bald or nearly bald. However, even half-worn tires can significantly increase your chances of hydroplaning, and the risk goes up as the tread level goes down.
Your speed also affects your chances of hydroplaning. This means that the newer your tires are, the faster you can go before your tires lose contact with the ground. In contrast, the more worn your tires are, the slower you'll have to drive to stay safe, which can be inconvenient especially on the highway.
2. Increased Chances of Blowouts
If you've ever experienced a tire blowout in the middle of a busy street, then you'd probably say it's not something you ever want to go through again. As you can imagine, the thinner the surface of your tire gets, the less resistant it is to stresses such as nail punctures or potholes. However, that's not the only reason worn tires to experience a blowout - there's also the heat factor.
The channels in a new tire provide ventilation that helps carry away some of the heat from the friction of tires meeting road. If those ventilation channels aren't there, or if they're smaller because the tread is worn down, then heat can build up until it causes tire failure.
3. Reduced Stopping Power and Destabilizing Turning
Hydroplaning and blowouts aren't the only things that can go wrong. A car with low tread is actually less predictable when turning and it takes longer to stop as well. These may not sound as serious, but they can either reduce your control of the car or, in some cases, make you lose control altogether.
In fact, your car could take 10-25 percent longer to stop if its tires are worn. This can make all the difference when you're trying to stop suddenly in order to avoid a collision. Reduced stopping power is especially a problem when there's water on the road. In these conditions, worn tires can have a greatly increased stopping distance.
4. Increased Weather Hazards
While driving in extreme weather is hazardous all on its own, you don't want to compound that by driving with unsafe tires. One significant reason why worn tires are unsafe in rainy or snowy weather is that a set of surface grooves called sipes start to disappear when a tire becomes worn. This tire tread feature is designed to increase traction in wet or icy weather conditions.
These are four ways worn-down tires can cause loss of control while driving. Remember, when checking your tires for tread wear, be on the lookout for uneven wear as well.
If your tires are wearing unevenly, the most worn section is the important one - if that section is bald, then your whole tire is bald. Unevenly worn tires are unsafe, and they suggest there's an underlying problem with your car, which you might need to get fixed as well.
Whether you need a simple tire rotation or a whole new set, be sure to bring your car to Ceja Quality Tire & Wheel. We have two convenient locations and offer a dazzling array of tires.