What does it mean when cords are showing on your tires?

Steel wires or cords popping out of your tires will mean just one thing!

If you notice cords or wires showing on your tires, then it is time to change your tires as soon as possible. Worn tires, also known as bald tires, offer reduced grip, and you endanger your life and others by driving a car with wires visible on the tires.

The only trip I suggest making when your tires are in this condition is to have your tires replaced at a tire shop.

checking tire tread with a penny

What happens if you drive on tires without tread?

Driving on tires without tread is very dangerous for you and other traffic participants, especially in wet conditions. Bald tires will significantly increase your braking distance, so in case of an emergency, you will most likely not be able to brake in time.

Spirited driving on bald tires can result in you losing control of the car and causing an accident due to poor traction.

Lastly, if you decide to drive your car on very low tread, you should know that you can get punctures a lot easier, and your tires can even blow out at high speeds.

Other effects of driving on bald tires can be poor fuel economy and reduced control of the car.

Why do tires go bald in the middle?

If your tires tend to wear quicker in the middle, you probably overinflated them. In other words, you put too much pressure in them. To find out the correct tire pressure, you should check your owner’s manual. You might also find the right tire pressure on the fuel door or inside the driver’s door.

Why do tires go bald on the sides?

Poor wheel alignment is the main cause of uneven tire wear. A camber correction is needed, as your wheels might be leaning in or out, putting too much load on either side of the tires. Wheel alignment will only cost you around $100 and prevent premature tire wear.

When your tires wear quicker on the sides, it can also mean that the coil springs get weaker, the ball joints are worn out, or you need new control arm bushings.

How long will a tire last with wire showing?

If your cords are showing on your tires, you have gone through all the tread and should replace them as soon as possible. You should not be driving at all with visible wires on your tires unless you drive your car to a tire shop to have them replaced.

Although other sites try and come up with a figure, I don’t recommend driving on such tires under any circumstance.

Is it illegal to drive on bald tires?

For any passenger vehicle to pass the safety test, the tires must have at least 2/32 of an inch, or about 15mm, of tread. Anything less and the car is not street legal. Most modern tires will have a built-in tread wear bar indicator, which will tell you when your tires have less tread than legally allowed.

Can tire pop if the wires are visible?

A tire with visible wires can blow out when driving, causing you to lose control of the car. There are legal limits on the minimum amount of tread your tires can have on them for this exact reason.

Signs of a bad tire?

A visual inspection or a change in how your car drives might tell you that your tires need changing. Here is a list of signs to look for that indicate you might have a bad tire:

Increased vibration

If you drive your car frequently, you will quickly notice any change in how your vehicle drives. Increased vibration can be an early sign that your tires are not in good condition. Due to potholes, tires can suffer permanent damages, requiring replacing.

Cracked sidewalls

As they age, tires become prone to sidewall cracks due to road conditions and temperature variations. A quick inspection will tell you if any damages started to develop. While minor sidewall cracks does not mean you have to replace the tire straight away, it is ideal to keep an eye on it and consider replacing it soon.

Tread wear bar indicators

As your tread wears out, you will be able to notice those wear indicators that manufacturers put in place to help drivers know when its time to replace a bad tire. If your tire has gone past those indicators, you should replace it straight away.

Uneven tread wear

Wrong tire pressure or misaligned wheels will cause uneven tread wear. It is always recommended to check the pressure at least every two weeks to prevent uneven tread wear. If the tire pressure is correct, but you still notice uneven wear on your tires, you should have your wheel alignment done.

Bulges and other damages

If you notice any bulges on the sidewalls, it is time to replace the tire. Any sidewall damage is a weak spot that can result in your tires blowing out while driving, causing you to lose control of the car.

Can you fix a tire with visible threads?

Any tire that had its threads or cords becoming visible can’t be fixed. You will need to get a new tire for your car. You should replace it as soon as possible, as poor tires can lead to accidents.

Is it bad to drive on a tire with a bump?

Tire bumps or bubbles happen when the tire’s structure weakens, allowing air to get past the inner layer responsible for containing the air and get trapped before the exterior rubber layer. As the car runs, in time, the bulge will expand more and more until the rubber can’t hold it anymore and eventually burst.

A tire blowout can be very dangerous, as it can cause you to lose control of the car.

Unfortunately, there is no way to fix the inner layer of a tire, so as soon as you notice any bump forming, I recommend changing the tire.

You can reduce the risk of bubbles forming on the sidewalls of your tires by avoiding potholes in the road.

Fine for driving on bald tire?

Driving on a bald tire is illegal and will result in a fine. According to California Legislative Information, it is illegal to drive on pubic roads with tires that have less than 1/16 of an inch of tread on them. If you are caught driving on bald tires, you will receive a fine of $25. However, a violation of California VC §27465 will not result in points on your record for the DMV.


The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration reports nearly 11,000 tire-related motor vehicle crashes each year. And, about 600 people die in these crashes.

This should tell you how important it is to check your tires’ condition and replace them as soon as possible when they show visible damage or are below the legal thread limit.