WASHINGTON—More than 13 percent of U.S. vehicles have at least one bald tire, according to the latest survey from the Rubber Manufacturers Association.
This is an increase from the 10.4 percent recorded in an RMA survey two years ago, the association said. This also is in line with a 2011 RMA survey showing that 64 percent of motorists did not know how to check tire tread depth and 9 percent said they never even tried to.
Bald tires cannot grip the road, increase vehicle stopping distances and are susceptible to hydroplaning, resulting in loss of vehicle control, said RMA Senior Vice President Dan Zielinski.
“Checking tire tread is easy and inexpensive to do,” Zielinski said. “All you need is a penny.”
The “penny test” involves inserting a penny upside down into a tire's tread, Zielinski said. If the entire top ofLincoln's head is visible, it's time to buy a new tire, he said.
The new survey was part of the RMA's ongoing consumer education program, “Be Tire Smart—Play Your PART.” PART is an acronym that refers to the four crucial aspects of tire care and maintenance: Pressure, Alignment, Rotation and Tread.