BOISE – (April 26, 2023) – It’s road trip season, and AAA is reminding vehicle owners that if you have old and worn out tires, it could take you much longer to stop in the event of an emergency.
“Your tires are the only part of your car that makes direct contact with the road. They affect your vehicle handling, ride, braking, and overall safety,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “Now is a good time to make sure that your tires have a clean bill of health.”
According to AAA research, driving on relatively worn tires in wet weather can increase your stopping distance by a whopping 87 feet – more than the length of a semi-truck – when compared with new tires. When decelerating from 60 to 0 mph, worn tires continue to travel at 40 mph when new tires have already stopped. AAA encourages drivers to inspect their tires regularly.
Signs of premature tire wear
- Over inflation – If tires have too much air pressure, the middle section will wear out faster than the edges.
- Under inflation – Too little air pressure causes the edges to wear out faster than the middle.
- Alignment issues – An alignment issue causes one edge of the tire to wear out faster.
- Balance issues – erratic wear could mean that the wheel is out of balance or that suspension components need to be replaced.
“Pay close attention to unusual vibrations or thumping noises, or pulling to one side of the road,” Conde said. “Have a trusted repair facility, like a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop, perform needed repairs.” A complete list of AAA Approved facilities can be found at AAA.com/autorepair.
AAA’s tire advice
- AAA testing found that tire performance degrades significantly at 4/32” tread depth, and therefore recommends replacement around that time.
- City driving, harsh stopping and acceleration, and failure to rotate tires and address alignment issues all increase wear. Tire wear will vary depending on driving and maintenance habits.
- The correct tire pressure can be found on a decal on the driver’s doorsill. Tires should also be rotated per the automaker’s recommendations.
- Test the tread depth by placing a quarter upside down in the tread of your tire – if you can see the top of George Washington’s head, it’s time to think about replacing it.
“When you’re getting ready to buy new tires, please do your homework – more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better,” Conde said. “Research your tire options and review other expenses, including the cost of alignment, before making a final purchase decision.”