Buying new tires can be a hassle to both your time and your finances. While some people often hold off on buying new tires until they’re blown out, it may not be beneficial to your safety. We at MINI Edmonton recommend switching your tires as soon as you see signs of balding. What exactly is tire balding? It’s when the tread of your tires wear down over time to the point of them giving no traction. Not only is it bad for the performance of your vehicle, but it could be putting you and your vehicle at risk.
If you’re concerned about whether your tires are showing signs of balding, it’s best to keep track of their condition over time. Luckily, we at MINI Edmonton made a quick and simple guide to help you learn about the dangers of driving with bald tires, how you can prevent it from happening, and what you should look for when you think your tires are balding.
The Dangers of Bald Tires
Deep inside the tread of every tire are grooves, which helps the tire maintain contact with the road. Grooves are especially important when it comes to winter tires because they need to push out snow, slush, and ice to keep traction. As tires become more worn out over time, they start to lose the grooves inside the treading, which diminishes their overall traction. Needless to say, this is a huge safety hazard to your braking response.
Causes of Balding
While some driving and maintenance habits affect the condition of your tires, they may also wear out at different rates. For example, most MINI Coopers are equipped with racing and performance-based tires which may deteriorate faster than tires on a minivan. Otherwise, there are two common factors that may lead towards faster tire balding: improper inflation pressure, and out of spec tire alignment.
- Improper Inflation Pressure: Proper inflation and tire pressure help optimize the performance, ride comfort, fuel efficiency, and handling of your vehicle. If the tire pressure is too low or too high, different parts of the tread may wear out faster than others.
- Out-of-spec Tire Alignment: Tire alignment is important to your vehicle so they’re positioned straight and don’t ride at different angles than others. Improper tire alignment also causes different parts of the tread to wear out faster than others.
Signs and Testing for Balding
The main signal you need to look for is the depth of your tire’s tread. There’s a simple test you can do called the “quarter test” where you take an ordinary quarter and place it inside the treading. If you cannot see the top of Queen Elizabeth’s head between the ribs, the tread is at least 2/32-inch deep at that location. If her Royal Highness is completely visible at any groove location, that’s the best indication for you to replace that tire.
Hopefully, this list gives you a good idea of how you can watch out for balding tires. If you find your tires beginning to bald, come to MINI Edmonton and we’ll replace and install your tires for you!