The Dangers of Driving on Bald Tires


A bald Vin Diesel may be a lean, mean, fighting machine, but a bald tire is not. Driving on balding tires makes your car a lot more vulnerable on the road. Even a simple drive around the corner for a gallon of milk could turn deadly when you have balding tires.

So what, exactly, are balding tires? Your tires don’t have hair, so how can they be “balding?”

Your tires have a thick tread that helps them to better navigate the road, cutting through bad terrain and maintaining grip on the road. The tread consists of those deep grooves you see all around the outer edge of your tires. When tires start to bald, that tread wears down to the base of the rubber. Your tires may become completely smooth, or you may only see slight indentations where the tread used to be.

Many people allow their tires to become bald because they don’t want to deal with the expense of new tires, and they want to drive the old ones as long as possible. That’s a huge mistake since driving on balding tires can put you and others on the road in danger.

For discount tires, Cincinnati residents know to get the best deals on the best quality tires at McCluskey Chevrolet. Visit us to buy new tires and avoid these dangers of driving on bald tires:


One of the primary functions of tread is to channel water away from the tire, helping it to maintain a good grip on the road. When tires lose their tread or begin to bald, they are not as effective at cutting through the water. The tires slush through water and lose traction. If your car hits a good-sized puddle of water, you could lose control completely, hydroplaning around the road.

We don’t need to tell you how catastrophic that situation could be.

Poor Navigation in Snow

Tread patterns also have small grooves in them known as “sipes,” which are designed specifically to cut through snow. When tires go bald, they lose those sipes and are unable to navigate snow very well. The result is that you will have trouble stopping or starting in the snow.

You may try to pull out of your driveway, and the tires will just spin without moving your car. Or, worse, you may be unable to stop when you are driving, sending your car crashing into other vehicles, trees or property.

Longer Stopping Distance

Whether it is raining, snowing or blazing down sun, bald tires will significantly increase your stopping distance. You may need several more car lengths to come to a complete stop. That puts you at significant risk if you need to make an emergency stop.

If another car juts out in front of you suddenly or a deer jumps out of the woods in front of your car, you won’t be able to stop in time to avoid a collision.

Risk of Puncturing

A bald tire is a thinner tire, which makes it more vulnerable to being punctured by random items on the road. An errant nail, a small piece of glass or even a bit of trash could cause a slow flat at best or a total blowout at worst. In the best-case scenario, you’re losing money by having to replace your tires. In the worst-case scenario, you’re in danger of losing control and having a serious collision.

Loss of Air Pressure

Balding tires lose their air pressure more quickly, which not only costs you money on gas but also threatens your ability to retain control of the vehicle. Underinflated tires do not grip the road as well, which can cause you to skid out of control in the rain or while braking. When the tires are balding and underinflated, the risk doubles.

Increased Risk of Blowout

In addition to being at risk of puncturing more easily, balding tires are also at risk of a blowout because heat builds up more quickly on them. The tread also provides a space for air to travel around the tires, dissipating the heat caused by friction between the tire and the road. Without that tread, the heat continues to mount as you drive. The hotter the tire is, the more vulnerable it is to blowing out, which puts you at risk of a serious collision.

To avoid these risks of balding tires, it is important that you check your tire tread about once a month. Tires are technically considered bald when they are 2/32 of an inch deep or lower, but many experts say you are entering the danger zone when the tread falls below 4/32 of an inch.

You can use a tread depth tool to measure it, or you can use a simple penny. Just place the penny in the tread upside down, and if you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires. If at least part of his head is covered by the tread, you still have some life left in the tires.

Many new tires also come with tread depth bars that help you easily identify when tires are balding. When they tread gets too low, you will see the horizontal bars in the groove of the tread become flush with the rest of the tire. If you can see those bars, it is time to buy new tires.

Don’t let your tires become bald before you start shopping for new tires. Make sure your family stays safe on the road and you protect the investment you have on your car by keeping healthy tires on it at all times.

For discount tires, Cincinnati residents head to McCluskey Chevrolet for great deals on a variety of brand names and tire types. We carry discount tires for every season, every type of terrain and every type of vehicle. With our prices, we make it easy on your budget to keep the right tires on your vehicle. Visit us today to explore our selection.