What are dangerous worn tyres

AS a driver you are well aware of the safety risks you are taking when driving on worn tyres. Tyre tread is an important part of a tyre that is overlooked and ignored. Many road crashes in Namibia are caused by human error. Ignoring worn tyres is no excuse and this alone has left so many people dead and or seriously injured.      

These are the top 3 most dangers of driving on low tread depth. It is very vital that as a driver your vehicle is roadworthy at all times to avoid unnecessary danger on our roads. This will also keep you and your passengers safe

1. Aquaplaning

Always know that worn tyres have less grip on the road, this may cause a decrease in handling efficiency during wet driving conditions, as well as cause you to aquaplane more frequently.

2. Punctures

Remember that worn tyres are highly susceptible to punctures and impact damage, which could in turn result in a blowout, the loss of vehicle control and a very serious accident.

3. Lowered braking ability

Always keep in mind that worn tyres will absolutely increase the braking distance you require to stop, which will endanger both you and the drivers around you.

The Law

The Road Traffic and Transport Act (22 of 1999) is very clear that your tyres must have a minimum of 1mm tread depth across the width of the entire tyre. This is because worn tyres could put you at risk of having your car impounded, getting fined or even having your insurance claim rejected.

Tyre tread is extremely significant for both your pocket and peace of mind. In case you are worried your tyre treads is getting a little thin or your Tread Wear Indicator is proving that  you need a replacement, the visit any tyre place to  replace or for advice on your tyres.

After a tyre blow and you are ready to replace it, it is important to know the order that is followed to remove the nuts.

When loosening or replacing the nuts you should not go in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. Pay close attention, because the order is that you should first begin with one and then move on to the one opposite it or, in the case where you have more than 4 nuts in place, move on to any nut in the opposite direction to the one you started with. This is called a cross pattern. See the picture.

The importance of removing nuts in perfect order

The benefit of maintaining perfect tyre pressure

Remember that using this method will keep the wheel sitting straight on the hub, reducing the chance of components moving or shifting. This will ensure that you won’t do any damage to your wheel and your nuts will be tight after you fit them again.

Most important to note is that incorrect tyre pressure has potentially dangerous consequences to under-inflation and over-inflation. However, there are distinct benefits to not only checking what your ideal tyre pressure is but also maintaining that pressure day-to-day. We have identified the four key benefits that come with perfect tyre pressure.


Under-inflation is the most common cause of tyre failure and tyre blowouts. If that should happen you could lose control of your vehicle and cause an accident. This can result in loss of control and a potential accident. If your tyres are correctly inflated the risk of these things happening are drastically reduced and you are much safer in your vehicle.


Maintaining correct tyre pressure can actually increase the lifespan of your tyres. Even if your tyres are underinflated by just 0.3 BAR can decrease the lifespan by up to 25%. Remember that the average tyre deflates by 0.06 to 0.13 BAR every month so check them regularly.


Even if your tyres are only a little underinflated it has the potential to increase your fuel consumption by a fraction, meaning well maintained tyre pressure can save you money.


Under-inflated tyres can increase stopping distances by up to 8 metres; this only increases when it comes to heavier vehicles and even more so in bad weather. Maintaining perfect pressure can also improve your handling, braking and turning.

Although tyre punctures are a fact of life for drivers, many can be avoided through careful driving and parking and can be fixed easily and safely with the correct equipment. Most frequently, punctures result when sharp objects like nails or glass penetrate the tyre causing air to escape. Here are further causes of punctures and tips to help you avoid each:

Valve stem damage – The valve stem is the tiny tyre protrusion used to inflate your tyre. When loose, clogged, corroded, or damaged, it causes air leakage. Examine your valve stem when checking your tyres and repair or replace where necessary.

Worn tyres – Check your tyres for wear as this makes them more susceptible to punctures, a sudden loss of inflation and greater braking distance, which can lead to serious accidents.

Tyre bead leaks – The tyre bead is the edge of the tyre which rests on the rim and causes a flat tyre when leakage occurs around the circumference. Spray your wheels with soapy water if you suspect a leak. If bubbles emerge, see a tyre technician to confirm whether you have a puncture or not.

Vandalism – Park your car in a safe place to prevent vandalism and criminals letting the air out of your tyres.

Collision causing separation of tyre and rim – The most common cause of separation between tyre and rim is a tyre hitting the curb. This causes a slow loss of air over time and needs an experienced tyre technician to fix the problem.

Tyres are over-inflated – This extra tyre pressure is dangerous. At worst it can cause a sudden loss of inflation pressure and at best lead to tyres being taught and inflexible which makes them more susceptible to punctures should you hit a pothole.

Road hazards – Be vigilant while driving and do your best to avoid potholes, extremely uneven roads, and debris (including glass and nails), all of which can damage your car’s undercarriage, axles and wheels.

How to tell you have a puncture

The seriousness of tyre punctures varies according to the nature of the damage and the extent of the penetration. The following symptoms may indicate a tyre puncture:

Loss of tyre pressure

Immediate tyre deflation

Wheels wobbling or shuddering

Difficulty steering your car

Car pulling to the left or right as if pulled in that direction

Ignoring these symptoms can cause unnecessary tyre damage and the disintegration of the tyre components. Even more importantly, you could be putting yourself and passengers at risk by leaving you stranded.

What to do in case you get a puncture

Always keep a tyre sealant in your car.  Note that if your tyre is ripped more than 4mm wide your tyre repair kit is unlikely to work. If you suspect a puncture, turn off the road safely and gently and follow these steps:

When several metres away from the traffic and in a secure place, stop your car and apply the handbrake.

Guide passengers from the car to a safe place.

Take your tyre sealant from the boot of your car (and compressor, should you have one).

Locate the puncture.

Replace the damages tyre with the spare.

If you spot a nail or piece of glass in the tyre, do not remove or this will cause a bigger hole.

Should you need to repair your tyre on the roadside, use the sealant by following the instructions as mechanisms in these repair kits vary.

After repairing your tyre, check if your car is in neutral, then start the engine and switch on your compressor.

Inflate the tyre to the correct PSI/Bar recommended in your vehicle handbook.

When driving off don’t exceed the maximum speed detailed in the car’s handbook and on the repair kit.

To learn more about tyres or brush up on your tyre changing skills visit any tyre store fitment centre nearby you or visit the AA Namibia, for training or information.

For more info and tips on Road Safety please contact Hileni Tjivijkua at +264 811279321 or send an email at hileni@aa-namibia.com. The article is for educational purposes under the project #WomenInRoadSafety project.