How Maintaining Your Tires Can Improve Your Vehicle's Safety

When it comes to vehicle safety, the main things that impact driving conditions are the tires. Consider the following information for a safer journey wherever the road may take you. 
Tire Tread
Just like how your shoes connect you to the pavement, so, too, do the tires on our vehicles. This means the tread needs to be in good condition to grip the surface and avoid slipping and sliding the same way the soles of our shoes operate.
According to Consumer Reports, once the grooves measure at 1/16 of an inch deep, the tire is considered bald, which means the grooves no longer work at maximum capacity to eject water accumulating under the tread. When this happens, the vehicle can hydroplane and may not respond correctly to your attempts to control the vehicle via the steering wheel.
The potential for hydroplaning increases the faster your vehicle is traveling on wet roads. Add threadbare tires to the situation, and the risk of hydroplaning is greater. With increased speeds, water accumulates under the tires, leaving little to no traction as the vehicle skims over the wet surface.
This isn’t to say, though, that new tires will always prevent hydroplaning. It can happen at 40 mph in the right conditions. Bald or threadbare tires simply increase the risk.
Along with lack of vehicle control during hydroplaning, bald tires also decrease traction when braking in wet or snowy weather conditions. On a wet road, tires with degraded tread can take several to come to a stop. In snowy conditions, threadbare tires can also affect acceleration. Since the tire tread has degraded and doesn’t have the grip of healthy tires, it can take longer to achieve an appropriate speed. 
While less tread when traveling on dry roadways means there is more rubber contacting the road and providing a better grip, you will still be faced with unsafe driving conditions during wet or snowy days.
Tire Maintenance
To stay on top of tire stability, do a visual check of each tire on a monthly basis. Look for signs of cracking, bulges, or cuts in the tread and the sidewall. Check for indications of uneven wear, such as the outer edge of a tire being worn thin while the remaining tread is normal. This can mean the vehicle is out of alignment and needs adjusting.
Use a tread depth gauge to determine how much tread has been lost on each tire by inserting the gauge into each groove. Ideally, you don’t want to wait until there is less than 1/8 of an inch of tread remaining before replacing the tires.
Also remember to regularly check each tire’s air pressure. It should be set at the recommended pressure suggested by the manufacturer. An incorrect air pressure setting can result in uneven wear on the tread.
Anytime you’re driving, your tires are subjected to a variety of situations that result in road wear over time. Following these simple tips can help ensure safer driving by maintaining each tire’s integrity.
Image via Flickr by Stradablog used under CC By

Leave A Reply