Depending on the tire’s overall diameter, an average car tire rotates approximately 1,000 times per mile. Car tires wear down slowly with each rotation. Tires that were originally 12/32″ deep will eventually wear down and become “bald tires.”

It might seem obvious that plain-Jane commuter tires could also run on slick tires. Drag races and NASCAR are both run with these tires. Bald tires can have serious consequences. Not the least, safety requirements. But why do you need a legal requirement?

Contrary to NASCAR racers and commuter cars, other vehicles don’t travel on controlled surfaces. You might encounter dry concrete, wet asphalt or steel grates in a single day. No bald tire is capable of handling these situations safely. A bald tire is one that has tread depth below 2/32″, and most tire shops recommend changing tires when they reach 4/32″ in summer or 6/32 in winter. These legal requirements and suggestions are what you risk.

  • Hydroplaning – The tread grooves on tires are designed to direct water away from the center, but tread depths below 4/32 inches leave little room for water movement. This increases the likelihood of hydroplaning and reduces vehicle control. Your vehicle can hydroplane on wet surfaces (not even water standing) if it is below 2/32.
  • Overheating – A little friction is good because it keeps your tires from sliding around all over the place. But friction also brings the heat. The contact patch becomes larger as the tread depth decreases, which increases friction and heat. Your bald tires will not be able to dissipate excess heat and can cause a nightmare for drivers – a tire blow out. Overheating and melting of tires can cause tire blowouts. This can be caused either by tire tread wear or tire underinflation.

Driving on bald tires can be dangerous. The law requires that you have them replaced before they become unsafe. Balding tires can cause serious problems. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that tire failure annually causes over 10,000 car crashes, nearly 20,000 injuries, and over 700 fatalities. You could face jail or fines if bald tires are discovered to be a contributing factor to a crash. The moral of this story is very simple. These are three easy steps to keep your car safe.

  1. To maintain traction and avoid abnormal wear, check and adjust your tire pressure at least once every two weeks.
  2. Tire tread depth should be checked every 1,000 miles, or monthly. If they reach 4/32, replace them.
  3. Rotate your tires every 5,000-7,000 miles, or six months to help distribute wear patterns and prolong the life of your tires.

If you have noticed that your tires are wearing down, be sure to consult Tennessee Tires for all of your tire needs. You should replace your tires as soon as possible to avoid legal and safety issues.

This post was written by a wheel and tire expert at Tennessee Tire. Tennessee Tire is Clarksville Tennessee and Fort Campbell Kentucky’s leading tire and custom wheel shop. We proudly offer Southern Hospitality combined with the lowest prices in town! If you are looking for a Tire Shop in Nashville TN come see us, call us, or message us for a quote today. You won’t be sorry you did.