December 21st will be the official first day of winter.  If you remember last year, we had quite a few days where driving around was quite difficult with the amount of snow that had fallen.  Some brutally cold temperatures too.  You may want to prepare now for the upcoming winter so your car is ready to go.  Start by checking your tires.

In some parts of the country winter is already here.  So a good pair of tires on your vehicle is really important.  I know first hand that this is something you do not want to get stuck with.  For the record, bald tires are defined as having minimal or no tread remaining. Tire tread is the part of the tire that makes contact with the road. Tire tread patterns consist of four parts:

  • Ribs: the raised section of tread rubber around the tire’s circumference
  • Grooves: Deep grooves that run around and across the tire to channel water away and help maintain a grip on the road in wet conditions
  • Tread Blocks: Raised segments around the tire’s circumference that make contact with the road surface
  • Sipes: Thin slots or slits molded into the tread surface

New tires typically have a tread depth of 10/32″ to 12/32″, while off-road tires have a more aggressive tread of up to 15/32″. Tires are typically considered bald when they reach 2/32.”

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True story.  Before I began my radio career in Montana, I had a tire blow on my car in a harsh March winter.  After a tow truck came, I found out that my spare didn't fit on my car, so I had it towed to a Discount Tire place in town.  It was there where I was shown that I had 3 near bald tires, and one that was very low.  Can you imagine if this would have happened on my 15 hour drive to Montana and I was stranded in the Dakotas? In the winter? Yeah, I lucked out.  Bought 4 new tires and I was ready to go for the trip.

There are plenty of places around town where you can have your tires looked at and inspected.  If you want to inspect them on your own, a simple way to tell if your tires are 'bald', you can use the penny trick: Place a penny in multiple grooves around your tires. If the top of Lincoln’s head is covered, you have more than 2/32″ of tread remaining. If all of Lincoln’s head is visible, it’s time for new tires. You can also purchase a tread depth gauge from an auto parts store or online.

If you want a few more reasons why you should not drive on bald tires, or what actually causes your tires to wear, you can click HERE.  Yes, buying tires can be an expense you may not want to deal with, but your expenses could be worse if they cause an accident.  Stay safe on the roads and get prepared sooner rather than later.

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