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Terrible Treads

Photo byMick Haupt onUnsplash

Tire tread is often an overlooked aspect of vehicle maintenance, yet it plays a crucial role in ensuring safety on the road. In this blog post, we will delve into the importance of tire tread, what it is, how it can get damaged, the symptoms of worn tread, and a simple test you can perform at home to check your tire tread depth.

What is Tire Tread?

Tire tread refers to the pattern of grooves and channels on the surface of a tire that makes contact with the road. This design serves several purposes, including providing traction, dispersing water to prevent hydroplaning, and enhancing overall stability and handling.

Ways Tire Tread Can Get Damaged:

  • Wear and Tear: Over time, the friction between the tire and the road gradually wears down the tread. This process is accelerated by factors such as driving habits, road conditions, and tire quality.
  • Under-inflation: Driving with underinflated tires can cause excessive wear on the tread, particularly along the edges.
  • Overloading: Carrying heavy loads beyond the recommended capacity of your vehicle can put strain on the tires, leading to premature tread wear.
  • Improper Alignment: Misaligned wheels can cause uneven wear patterns on the tires, affecting the tread depth unevenly.
  • Age: Even if a tire has sufficient tread depth, it can still become unsafe due to aging. As tires age, the rubber compound hardens, reducing traction and compromising safety.

Symptoms of Bad Tire Tread

Maintaining proper tire tread depth is essential for road safety and optimal vehicle performance. By understanding what tire tread is, how it can get damaged, and the warning signs of worn tread, you can take proactive measures to ensure your tires are in good condition: 

  • Decreased Traction: Worn tread leads to reduced grip on the road, especially in wet or slippery conditions.
  • Longer Stopping Distances: As tread wears down, braking distances increase, posing a significant safety risk.
  • Hydroplaning: Bald tires are more prone to hydroplaning, where a layer of water builds up between the tire and the road surface, leading to loss of control.
  • Uneven Wear: If you notice uneven wear patterns on your tires, it could indicate alignment issues or other underlying problems.
  • Visible Wear Bars: Many tires come equipped with built-in wear bars that become visible as the tread wears down, indicating the need for replacement.

Regularly inspecting your tires and performing simple tests like the penny test can go a long way in keeping you safe on the road.

The Penny Test

One quick and easy way to check your tire tread depth is the penny test. Simply insert a penny into the tread grooves with Lincoln's head upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, it's time to replace your tires as the tread depth is too shallow to provide adequate traction.

Why Does Your Tire Tread Matter?

“Get a grip,” they say. “Hold on tight,” well, that’s exactly what our tire tread does for us! Tires come in many shapes and sizes, and some of them are built for a specific purpose. You have all-terrain tires, off-road tires, snow tires, and more. What they all have in common is their tread. While they each have a different tread composition, they all require attention and care to keep them performing stronger for longer. 

Tire tread is the peaks, valleys, and divots on the outside of your tire that help grip the road. Depending on the road surface, you will find different tire tread shapes, sizes, and textures. When that tread starts to wear or take damage, your normal driving conditions become more dangerous, and the likelihood of a collision becomes more real. Here are a couple of things to consider when looking over your tire tread.

What is “Tread Wear”?

Your tire’s tread is exactly like the tread on your shoes. You wear a pair for too long, and they don’t do the job they used to do. Have you ever worn an old pair of shoes in rainy conditions and found yourself struggling to grip the slick ground? Well, your tires experience the same thing when their tread starts to wear or “go bald,” as you might have heard. If you see that your tread looks smooth and you can’t really tell the difference between the sections, it is definitely time to consider new tires.

How Do I Know If My Tires Are Healthy?

If you examine your tires closely, you will probably notice small hairline cracks through areas of the tread. Hopefully, the cracks are very small, but they will become larger over time and more dangerous as the problem gets worse. Cracks and other damage to your tires can cause all sorts of problems, leading to dangerous situations and potentially increasing the risk of a collision.

Stay safe on the roads and help avoid a collision by checking your tire tires for tread wear, cracks, and damage. If you are unfortunate enough to experience a collision or damage of any kind, know that CARSTAR Robert’s Collision in Monterey has you covered.

Visit CARSTAR Robert’s Collision in Monterey, CA, when you need help getting your vehicle back to its best condition. We can help you with interior detailing, exterior detailing, dent removal, bodywork, and so much more. We employ a team of industry experts whose sole goal is to give you the best service we are capable of. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us today and see what makes us so special!


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