The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Survey Finds Bald, Underinflated Tires are Common

December 5, 2001

Nearly one in every 10 passenger vehicles has at least one bald tire, according to a study released by the U.S. Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Reuters reported. The NHTSA study also found that 27 percent of vehicles are driven with one or more highly under-inflated tires. The importance of maintaining good tires was recently highlighted by the highly publicized failures of Firestone tires linked to fatal rollover accidents in Ford Motor Co.’s Explorers, but not all motorists got the message. A tire is considered “bald” if it has less than 1/16 of an inch or less of tread depth, NHTSA said. Tires have built-in treadwear indicators – raised sections spaced intermittently in the bottom of tread grooves – that appear across the tire to let a motorist know when they should be replaced. Another method of checking tire tread involves the use of a penny. The motorists should place the penny upside down within the tread. If the top of Lincoln’s head is visible, the tire needs to be replaced.
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