How to survive driving on bald tires?

Updated Jan 12, 2019 | Same topic: Let's Drive Smart!

We’ll provide bald tire signs and the dangers of driving on bald tires and how to go about it.

The car tires play a vital role in ensuring you can drive smoothly no matter what the weather may be. They allow your car to move from one direction to another, with the help of the engine and the rest of the car parts. They are also responsible for making sure that the car stays on the road as they are the ones that grip to the road surface.

However, as any item that is exposed to scratching, screeching, and other pressures, the tires will soon bald out and the wear, and there are dangers with driving on bald tires.

car Tires

The car tires play a vital role in ensuring you can drive smoothly no matter what the weather may be

That said, you might come to a situation when you need to drive on bald tires and this post by will teach you how to do it safely. Ultimately, such is not suggested since there are dangers to it, which we will also discuss below together with the signs you need to know as well as how to check if your car tires are bald or getting bald.

I. What are bald tires?

Before we even proceed with the technicalities, we should first understand what bald tires mean since not all individuals who drive are really familiar with the term. The tire itself has a so-called tread that is in direct contact with the road, so this is the one that we refer to when we say “bald”. As you continue to use your car, the tread will become thinner to a point that it will nearly reach the wear bars of the tires. This is the situation wherein your tires are already bald.

II. How to check for bald tires?

According to experts, once a car tire goes bald, it is recommended that you replace it immediately because of the dangers that come with it. That is the reason why you need to learn how to determine whether your car tires are getting bald or are already bald. Fortunately, there are a few ways that on how you can do it.

1. Physical inspection

If you have been driving for years and have somewhat learned the ins and outs of car maintenance, you can easily check the measurement of your car tire tread using a commercially available gauge. Ideally, it should be greater than or equal to 1/16 inches for safe driving in normal conditions. However, during rainy seasons when the tires need more grip, the tread should be twice as thick as above.

2. Tread-wear indicator bars

The indicator bars are a thin band of rubber that has been built into the car tire’s tread area and are commonly found in modern or new cars. As such, when your car tires start to bald, you might see one of these appearing and when they are wearing out, you’ll see more of it.

Indicator bars

The indicator bars are a thin band of rubber that has been built into the car tire’s tread area

3. Listen for car tire sounds

As a driver, you must always be observant with any changes in your car, including the unfamiliar sounds that they produce. For cars that are balding or bald, you might hear squealing or humming sound each time you rotate your car.

II. What are the dangers of driving on bald tires?

For you to understand the importance of checking your tire’s tread as well as replacing your car tires when needed, let us learn about some of the dangers that you might face when you drive on bald tires.

1. Tire failure

Apparently, reduced tire tread depth also means that the tire is thinning out. As such, the tire can be punctured easily and may blow out when you put pressure in it. Tire blowouts may also happen because of overheating. That is because there is a reduction of airflow in the car tire grooves.

Blown out tires

Tire blow out is one of the common dangers of driving with bald tires

2. Increased fuel consumption

Some of you might be surprised that this is even considered as a risk of driving on bald tires. Yes, this might not be directly related to accidents but the reason behind it is. The pressure of bald tires easily reduces, so you would consume fuel more than usual. This is dangerous because you might end up running out of gas in the middle of traffic or of nowhere. Also, the loss of pressure will also lead to your car’s poor performance.

3. Skidding, hydroplaning, and the likes

Bald tires will have less traction, so you would expect that when it is raining, which is very unpredictable in the Philippines, your car might skid and/or slip when there are strong winds and when the road is too wet. What is worst that the car can even hydroplane, making you totally lose control of the car. Apart from that, when you have bald tires, the steering wheel also tends to shake and you would have trouble with the brakes.


Worst comes to worst, your car will hydroplane

III. How to drive on bald tires?

With so many dangers involved in driving a car on bald tires, it is really not recommended that you use your car. However, you might be faced by a situation wherein you really need to like discovering that your tires are bald while you are driving or in the middle of the road. That said, you need to continue driving to reach a safe point like a layaway bay. Hence, here are some tips:

  1. Make sure that you have enough distance from the vehicle in front of you so that you can brake safely when needed.
  2. Before hitting the brake, ensure that you release the gas slowly so that the car decelerates, so once you hit the brake, it will recognize it better.
  3. Always drive using a low gear especially when you're on an uphill or downhill road, as well as when it is raining or windy.
  4. Drive slowly and try not to use cruise control.

IV. No, no to bald tires

As we have repeatedly said in this post, driving on bald tires is a big no-no since you are not just exposing your car to damages but also endangering your and other people’s lives. That said, when you really need to drive your car on bald tires, make sure that you are always alert and you go at a slow speed.

At the end of the day, do not forget to visit our website daily for more useful tips on car buying & selling, maintenance and safe driving.

Charisse Kim

Charisse Kim


Charisse has joined Philkotse since July 2018 as a part-time content writer. Besides writing high-quality SEO articles, Charisse also works as a content editor and provides coaching sessions to her teammates.

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