Bald is Not Beautiful: For Your Tires

Tire Industry Survey Finds Bald Tires on 12% of Vehicles

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Dan Zielinski                                                                                      B-Roll
(202) 682-4846                                                                                 Road Trip Checklist Info Graphic                                                                         Penny Test Info Graphic

WASHINGTON, DC, November 18, 2014 –Nearly 40 million Americans are expected to hit the road for Thanksgiving travel, but 12% of the vehicles they ride in will be at increased risk due to bald tires.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), which represents this country’s tire manufacturers, released the results of a survey of more than 3,300 vehicles that found a significant portion riding on tires that are no longer road-ready.

“Bald tires are dangerous,” said Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president, public affairs. “A tire is considered bald when tread depth reaches 2/32nds inch. Bald tires have longer stopping distances and do not grip the road properly, particularly in wet weather conditions. Fortunately, there’s a simple method to determine whether tire tread depth is safe: all you need is a penny.”

To measure tire tread depth insert a penny upside down into a tread groove.  If all of Lincoln’s head is visible, the tire should be replaced.

Example of a bald tire

Example of a bald tire

RMA recommends that drivers follow a Road Trip Checklist before hitting the road for Thanksgiving travel:

  • Pressure: Check tire pressure before a long trip. Under inflation can lead to tire failure.
  • Tread: Place a penny upside down into a tread groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for a new tire.
  • Avoid Overloading: Overloading your vehicle stresses your tires and can lead to damage and reduced fuel economy.
  • Don’t Forget to Check the Spare: Check your spare tire and keep it properly inflated so it’s ready when you need it most.

RMA’s 2014 Tread Depth Survey sampled more than 3,400 drivers across the U.S. about the tread on their tires. The survey found that nearly 12 percent of vehicles had at least one bald tire.

Among the places with the highest percentage of vehicles with worn out tires: Baltimore, Md. (21.1 percent), Birmingham, Ala. (20.9 percent), San Diego, Calif. (18.5 percent), Oklahoma City, Okla. (18.2 percent), Baton Rouge, La. (16.2 percent), Norfolk, Va. (16 percent), Houston, Tx. (16 percent), Richmond, Va. (15.4 percent), Minneapolis, Minn. (14 percent) and Dallas/Ft. Worth, Tx. (13.8 percent).

The RMA urges drivers to “Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART” this and every holiday season by checking your tire’s Pressure, Alignment, Rotation and Tread.  For more information, visit


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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for tire manufacturers that produce tires in the U.S.  All RMA press releases are available at 

Survey Shows Increase in Baldness – of Tires

Millions of Vehicles Riding on Bald Tires; Industry Urges Motorists to Be Tire Smart

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 14, 2012 – More than one in eight U.S. vehicles has bald tires, according to survey by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), which represents this country’s tire manufacturers. With bald tires, vehicles cannot properly grip the road, may experience increased stopping distances; and hydroplane on wet roads. These conditions all increase the risk of a crash – especially in adverse weather conditions.

A 2012 RMA survey of 5,300 vehicles found that more than 13 percent had at least one bald tire – an increase from 10.4 percent recorded in a 2010 survey. Further, a 2011RMA phone survey of motorists found that 64 percent did not know how to check tire tread depth and 9 percent or respondents said they never check tire tread depth.

“Tire care is critical to keeping your vehicle road-ready,” said Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president. “Bald tires are dangerous and may lead to loss of vehicle control, particularly on wet roads. Checking tire tread is easy and inexpensive to do. All you need is a penny.”

RMA recommends the “penny test” to check tire tread depth. Simply insert a penny with Lincoln’s head upside down into the tread of each tire. If you can see the entire top of his head, your tire is considered bald because it has less than one-sixteenth of an inch of tread depth. Bald tires must be replaced immediately to reduce the risk of a crash.

Through its national tire maintenance education effort, Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART, RMA urges motorists to check tire pressure with a tire gauge and measure tread depth every month. RMA also recommends regular tire rotation and wheel alignment to help ensure even tire wear. PART is an acronym that refers to four essential tire care elements:

  • Pressure: Under-inflation is the leading cause of wear and tear of tires. Check tire pressure monthly; use the correct inflation pressure for your vehicle (locate sticker on driver’s door or refer to owner’s manual); and check tires before you drive or wait 3 hours afterward.
  • Alignment: Misalignment of wheels in the front or rear can cause uneven and rapid tread-wear.
  • Rotation: Regularly rotating your vehicle’s tires (every 5,000-8,000 miles) will help you achieve more uniform wear.
  • Tread: Advanced and unusual wear can reduce the ability of tread to grip the road in adverse conditions. Use the “penny test” to check tread depth.

For more information on proper tire care, visit; @BeTireSmart on Twitter or Be Tire Smart on Facebook.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for tire manufacturers that make tires in the U.S.


Action Occurs During National Tire Safety Week

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846

ALBANY, NYJune 8, 2012 – A New York Senate committee approved legislation to require automotive repair shops to properly repair tires.

S 7082, the Proper Tire Repair Act, would impose a $500 penalty on a repair shop that attempts to repair tires without removing the tire from the rim, inspecting for damage and ensuring that a repair conforms to repair procedures supported by tire makers. The bill was passed by the Senate Transportation Committee on June 5 during National Tire Safety Week, a tire industry initiative that promotes safety with a focus on educating consumers about how to properly maintain and care for their tires.

“This legislation will help protect motorists from the risks of improperly repaired tires,” said Dan Zielinski, senior vice president for the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), an industry trade group that represents tire manufacturers. “Despite years of effort by tire manufacturers, tire dealer organizations and tire repair materials manufacturers to educate repair shops about proper repair, too many improper repairs are performed.”

RMA has long-standing industry tire repair standards that clearly outline the steps necessary to properly repair tires.

S 7082 and its Assembly companion, A 9683, would prohibit a motor vehicle repair shop from repairing a tire if any of the following conditions exist:

  • The tire tread depth is equal to or less than 2/32 inch on any area of the tread
  • The damage is to a tire sidewall
  • The damage extends into the tread shoulder/belt edge area
  • The damage exceeds 1/4 inch
  • The tire has an existing improper repair
  • The repair will overlap an existing, proper repair

The legislation also provides guidance to motor vehicle repair shops about how to properly repair tires:

  • Demount the tire from the rim/wheel assembly
  • Inspect the tire to determine the extent of damage on the inside of the tire
  • Clean the inner liner to remove any contaminants inside the tire
  • Remove the damaged portions of the tire
  • Buff the inner liner to create a smooth and even surface
  • Fill the injury with a cured rubber stem and properly install a tire patch or install a combination repair unit

“RMA supports these bills and urges New York legislators to enact this legislation,” Zielinski said.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for tire manufacturers that make tires in the U.S.

5th “Scrap-to-Profit’ Conference Announced

Event Focused on Opportunities in Ground Rubber Markets

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846

WASHINGTON, D.C.May 22, 2012 – The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), the Scrap Tire Research and Educational Foundation (STREF) and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) will sponsor the 5th “Scrap-to-Profit” conference, October 9, 10 and 11, 2012 at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery, Alabama. .

“We are very pleased to be able to continue the effort of advancing the higher-valued added markets for ground rubber,” said Michael Blumenthal, RMA vice president. “This year we have an expanded program that will allow us greater discussion on the issues that most affect the ground rubber markets. This is a critical time for the scrap tire industry, which faces new challenges that need to be addressed and overcome. The conference goal is to offer a venue where the industry can gather and share the most current information to enable the industry to expand the markets for ground rubber products.”

The 5th “Scrap to Profit” conference will be two and one half days: two full days of presentations and discussions on ground rubber, expanding markets and the global issues impacting the ground rubber market and a half day focused on the newest developments on rubber modified asphalt. Topics to be discussed include:

• Regional Focus on the South and Southern United States
• National Focus; looking at the national market and current challenges
• Projections of raw materials for the tire industry and impacts on scrap tires
• How to introduce/sell product in marketplace
• Compounding with ground rubber to produce new products
• Innovation and your products
• Green Build as a new market
• How to Become a “Green” Company – Focus on Sustainability
• Reports on existing and emerging markets, mulch, fill, playground/sports
• Ground rubber quality
• Addressing health concerns over material use
• Recycling of non-tire rubber
• Rubber modified asphalt

The expanded agenda will not only focus on current and potential markets for ground rubber but will provide information that will allow the industry to take advantage of the changing focus to ‘green’ companies and technologies, which offer new opportunities.

While the agenda has been expanded the registration fee will remain the same as last year. A website has been created to obtain more information and to registrar:

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for tire manufacturers that produce tires in the U.S.

The Scrap Tire Research and Education Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit research foundation established to support basic and applied research and appropriate educational activities on issues relating to the sound handling and utilization of waste or scrap tires. The foundation was organized in late 1992 and operates in cooperation with the Rubber Manufacturers Association.

Millions of Motorists Need to “Get a Grip”

Survey Shows 28 Million Vehicles with At Least One Bald Tire!

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846

WASHINGTON, D.C.November 19, 2010 – Millions of drivers are putting themselves at increased risk by driving with one or more bald tires. A tire industry survey showed that nearly 11 percent of vehicles had at least one bald tire, which can increase the risk of a crash particularly in wet weather conditions.

According to AAA, 94 percent of Thanksgiving travelers this year will drive to their destination. Of the estimated 254 million motorists who hit the road nearly 28 million could be at risk by driving on bald tires.

The 6,300 vehicle survey was sponsored by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), the national trade association of tire manufacturers in the U.S. RMA is urging motorists to regularly check tire tread depth and replace worn out tires before they become a safety risk.

According to RMA checking tread depth is simple and only costs a penny. To do the “penny test,” take a penny; insert Abe Lincoln’s head upside down into the tread. If you can see all of his head, your tire is 2/32nds of an inch deep or less and should be replaced.

Tires also have “wear bars” built into them. These are indicators that appear when you have worn your tread down to the limit. These indicators are raised sections spaced intermittently in the bottom of the tread grooves. When they appear “even” with the outside of the tread, it’s time for tire replacement.

Other RMA research shows that 64 percent of motorists do not know how to tell if tires are bald and 9 percent never check their tires’ tread depth.

“Your tires are a critical vehicle safety component,” said Charles Cannon, RMA president and CEO. “Worn out tires cannot grip the road properly, increase stopping distances and can contribute to skidding or loss of vehicle control.”

Under wet weather conditions, bald tires can hydroplane, which occurs when the tire is riding on a film of water. This can lead to a loss of vehicle control and increase the risk of a crash.

Not only are too many motorists not paying attention to tread depth, they also are ignoring tire inflation pressure. Under inflated tires also pose a safety risk, wear out faster and increase vehicle fuel consumption.

A survey released by RMA earlier this year of more than 6,300 vehicles’ tire pressure conducted in March-May 2010 found:
• Only 17% of vehicles had four properly inflated tires.
• 55% of vehicles had at least one under inflated tire.
• 15% of vehicles had at least one tire under inflated by 8 pounds per square inch (psi.)

Tire inflation pressure should be checked every month and before long trips. To properly check tire pressure, motorists should check once each month; check tires when cold – before the vehicle is driven and; use the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure found on a label located on the driver’s door or door post or check the owner’s manual.

While basic tire maintenance only takes a few minutes each month, many tire retailers nationwide offer tire pressure and tread depth check at no charge.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for tire manufacturers that make tires in the U.S.