Regularly checking your tyres is more important than you might think - they play an important role in keeping you safe on the road.

Momentarily losing control of your car as it skids on a wet road is an unnerving experience. It also highlights how much work your tyres do to keep you safe.

Dangerously bald tyres are one of the most common problems seen in the workshop, according to more than 80 per cent of RAC Auto Services technicians.

Don’t under estimate the job your tyre tread does. The grooves in the rubber remove water from the contact patch that connects the tyre and the road, enabling grip and traction. It's this grip that allows you to accelerate, steer and brake safely - the essentials that keep your vehicle under control and the people in it and around you safe.

A tyre technician checking the tread of a full tyre
This is what a full tyre tread looks like, which will help keep you safe on the road

Driving on bald tyres can make it difficult to stop quickly when you need to apply your brakes firmly and may even cause your car to skid out of control on a wet road.

The more worn your tread becomes, the more your vehicle handling changes, increasing the risk of you losing control.

Bald tyres are often older tyres, so they often develop other issues such as cracks and bulges in the sidewall. This kind of damage combined with underinflated tyres could result in a tyre blowing out as you’re driving.

A tyre technician checking the tread of a bald tyre
If your tyre tread looks like this, it's time to get new tyres - anything under 3mm is getting dangerous

The minimum legal tread depth you legally need is 1.5mm in Australia. Brand new tyres come with 8mm of tread, and then slowly get worn down. When the tread gets to 3mm, its highly recommended that you change your tyres. 

Check the wear indicator bars moulded into your tyre tread. If the bars are visible or the tread has become invisible, its time for new tyres.

The tyre wear indicator bars on a healthy tyre
If the tread of your tyres is level with these indicator bars, they need to be replaced. This tyre is still good to roll.

*images by Clayton Jauncey and copyright of RAC

Last updated August 2018

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