How Long Can You Drive on Tires With Wires Showing
How long can you continue to drive on tires with wires showing? Not long at all is the short and direct answer. Driving on tires with exposed wires is dangerous, and you should replace the worn tire(s) as soon as possible.
Know Your Tire
Tires are made up of several layers of different materials, which all work together for a smooth, safe ride. The outermost layer is the tread, which is what contacts the road and provides traction. Channels in the tread help direct away water, snow, and small bits of road debris.
The next layer, the carcass, is made of layers of steel and fabric. The steel belt cords reinforce the carcass and keep the tire from deforming under heavy loads. The fabric layers absorb road shock and protect the steel belts from damage.
The sidewall is the portion of the tire that extends from the tread to the rim and provides support and protection for the tread. The bead, made of a steel or nylon cord that circles the inner edge of the tire, sits on the wheel rim and provides an airtight seal between the tire and the rim.
Finally, there is the inner liner layer which resists punctures and is what the tire’s air directly presses against.
As the tread wears down, the steel belt cords or wires become exposed. When the wire is exposed, the tread has worn down to the point where it is no longer gripping the road well and the tire is no longer safe. The tire is now vulnerable to punctures and other damage.
It is incredibly dangerous to drive on a tire with the wire showing and can result in a blowout. A blowout is when the tire suddenly loses all air pressure, which can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
What to Do
When a tire’s wires are showing, replace it as soon as possible. Not next week. Not tomorrow. NOW. Get to your nearest tire shop as soon as you can, but drive slowly to not worsen the wear on the tire and increase the risk of a blowout. If a blowout does occur, it is better that it happens when at a lower speed, making the situation slightly more manageable and somewhat less dangerous. Having a worn tire with exposed wire is a recipe for disaster, and it’s not worth the risk to drive any more than absolutely necessary.
Once at the shop, they will assess the situation and recommend which tires need replacing. You may need to replace not only the worn-out tire, but also the opposing tire on the same axle as it may be almost as severely worn and in need of replacement.
When you drive on tires with wires showing, you’re taking a dangerous risk and must fix it immediately.
John is a freelance B2B writer, investor, and blogger. A large part of his writing experience has been as a writer/designer in the training department of a large regional retailer based in Portland, Oregon. He currently resides in the other Vancouver (in Washington state) with his wife and two pet dwarf rabbits.