A survey of more than 7,000 vehicles revealed that 11% had at least one bald tire. This, of course, can increase the risk of a crash — or at least sharpen your skid recovery skills — especially in wet weather, which if you look out the window you might observe frequently occurs during fall and winter months.
It’s a good thing makers have developed automatic windshield wipers so at least luxury car owners are spared the manual labor of turning on these vision clearing devices. For us peasants, who manually do so, flip on the headlights at the same time when it is raining.
According to AAA, more than 33 million motorists will take to the road for Thanksgiving travel, and that means nearly four million motorists could be at risk by driving on bad tires, if the survey sample accurately models the problem.
Moreover, in another national motorist phone survey earlier this year, 64% of car owners did not know how to check tire tread depth and 9% never check tread depth. Tsk, tsk.
The surveys were sponsored by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), a trade group in the U.S. RMA is urging motorists to regularly check tire tread depth and replace worn out tires before they become a safety risk.
“In this bad economy, drivers may be delaying necessary vehicle maintenance to save costs,” said Charles Cannon, RMA president and CEO.
Checking tread depth is simple and only costs a penny.
To do the “penny test,” take a penny and insert Abe Lincoln’s head upside down into the tread. If you can see all of his head, your tire is 2/32nds of an inch deep or less, and should be replaced.