Tread Check: Worn Tires Put Drivers At Risk

With heavy use of off-road tires, it is important to remind customers to keep stats on tire wear in order to prevent risk from a worn tire not being able to perform at its full potential.

ATV and UTV tires are designed for rugged conditions; tearing through dirt, gravel, sand, hard pack and more, in just one outing. With heavy use of off-road tires, it is important to remind customers to keep stats on tire wear in order to prevent risk from a worn tire not being able to perform at its full potential.

Research from AAA reveals that driving on relatively worn tires at high speeds in wet conditions can increase average stopping distances by 43 percent or an additional 87 feet.

“Tires are what keep a vehicle connected to the road,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Even the most advanced safety systems rely on a tire’s basic ability to maintain traction, and AAA’s testing shows that wear has a significant impact on how quickly a vehicle can come to a stop in wet conditions to avoid a crash.”

To put it into perspective, AAA, in partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, conducted testing to better understand performance differences at highway speeds between new all-season tires and those worn to a tread depth of 4/32-in. on wet pavement. AAA research found that compared to new tires, tires worn to a tread depth of just 4/32-in. exhibit an average increased stopping distance of 87 feet for a passenger car and 86 feet for a light truck. It also showed a 33 percent reduction in handling ability for a passenger car and 28 percent for the light truck on average.

Although off-road vehicles differ from DOT tires for cars and trucks in the AAA study, the importance of tire tread is still relevant across the powersports market.

“AAA’s testing demonstrates the impact that tire tread has on safety,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “If tested side-by-side at 60 mph, vehicles with worn tires would still be traveling at an alarming 40 mph when reaching the same distance it takes for vehicles with new tires to make a complete stop.”

While AAA’s research found that tire performance does vary by brand, price is not necessarily an indicator of quality. In fact, worn tire performance deteriorated significantly for all tires tested, including those at a higher price point.

Dealers should take time to explain to customers that the price of a tire does not always dictate quality.

Link: AAA

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