Tire with bead damage

This is my front passenger tire. As you can see, there is a large crack where you can see wire underneath. I ordered new tires that are supposed to arrive on Friday, however, I still need to get to & from work every day this week (approximately 10 miles of highway x2 per day). Is this tire safe to drive to work, or should I wait to drive it directly to the mechanic to change out the tires when they arrive?


  • 1
    If I were driving on this tire, I would make sure my life insurance is paid up, especially if I had to drive on the highway. At the very least, stay in the slow lane, assuming your state has one. And since the tread is down to the wear bars, I'd definitely not drive if there is water on the road.
    – BillDOe
    Oct 19, 2015 at 5:29
  • 5
    @BillOer: Yes, but can you pay up everyone else's life insurance? user - No, of course you can't safely take that out on a public road. It's not even a close call. Oct 19, 2015 at 10:05
  • 1
    Just rub some boot polish on it and it'll be fine.
    – PCARR
    Oct 19, 2015 at 18:53
  • 3
    don't you have a spare tire in your car?
    – njzk2
    Oct 19, 2015 at 20:28
  • 2
    This is the only thing you should consider doing with this tyre. Even without the cracks, the tread wear is far out of legal limits in countries with reasonable vehicle safely laws. I think I'd rather drive (to the nearest tyre store) with the donut tyre thats been rotting away in my vehicle for more than 10 years. Oct 19, 2015 at 23:49

4 Answers 4


The only advice anyone could possibly give about this tire is that it should not be taken on the road. Out of respect for other peoples lives, the car should not be driven with even one tire like that on it.

  • 6
    If it's exactly one tyre that bad, you should be able to put the spare on. Even a low-profile spare which might have lower load/speed/total distance limits is at least safe to drive on. It might be better to put a space-saver spare on the back and a back tyre on the front for better handling/braking. Check the recommendations if you have a spare like that (I've only had cars with full-size spares).
    – Chris H
    Oct 19, 2015 at 10:39
  • 1
    @ChrisH 2 x 10 miles x 5 days = 100 miles, that's quite a lot to ask from a spare tire. Most of those are rated up to 50-70 miles. Oct 19, 2015 at 13:07
  • 2
    @DmitryGrigoryev, I was surprised to see that, but my caveat about checking is only reinforced. Because my spares have always been full size and full quality, and most of my cars have had steel wheels until recently, swapping the spare on has been a valid solution.
    – Chris H
    Oct 19, 2015 at 14:00
  • 1
    @DmitryGrigoryev You're probably right, but there were some exceptions in the window between when full sized tires were phased out and they decided to only provide a can of fix a flat. The donut in my 06 Buick LaCrosse is rated for 3000 miles at 65mph. (Not that trying to get all 3k miles out before replacing it is a good idea; but it does make getting a flat 150 miles from home at o'dark thirty less of a crisis.) Oct 19, 2015 at 22:05
  • When this happened to our car, we took it on the road exactly once - when it was time to go to the dealership. (The incident that caused the tires to be exposed also did a number on the brakes... and we decided it was time to get a new one...)
    – corsiKa
    Oct 20, 2015 at 14:55

In the UK, it would be illegal to drive on this tyre. Therefore, if you were stopped by the police, they would have the right to stop you driving further, order a tow-truck to collect your car and remove it. They could then fine you and charge you for the costs of towing and returning your car.

I don't know about other countries.

  • 3
    It's illegal in the US as well. Oct 19, 2015 at 20:31
  • And Canada. You can probably get away with it in China.
    – Nelson
    Oct 20, 2015 at 6:31
  • 2
    And Germany. You can probably get away with it staying inside your garage.
    – phresnel
    Oct 20, 2015 at 8:09
  • Don't forget the mandatory 3 points on the license for each bald/unsafe tyre you get caught with
    – Mauro
    Oct 20, 2015 at 8:56
  • I would bet only lowly developed countries have not codified tire tread depth requirements.
    – user58368
    Oct 26, 2023 at 22:14

The tire in the photograph is not safe to drive on, but that does not mean that you cannot drive the vehicle to work. If the vehicle has a full-size spare tire, then replace the worn tire with the spare, and use the worn tire as a spare.

If in fact you do need to use the worn tire as a spare, then keep the speed below 50 KPH / 30 MPH. That speed is often considered the speed at which the rotating stresses on the tire approach or exceed the weight stresses on the tire.

Note also that your worn tire is not worn evenly. That likely means that your front-end needs to be properly aligned, lest you wear out the new tires in short order as well.

  • 1
    Nice idea ... to get the car to a shop. The fact is that probably all the tires look like this, or at least two of them (the drive tires).
    – user58368
    Oct 26, 2023 at 22:16

As others pointed out, it is not safe to drive on this tire. This is the perfect time, to take your bicycle out of the garage to go to work.

10 miles (16 km) won't take you much longer than 45 minutes. Put a fresh shirt and underpants in your backpack, because if you are untrained, it will make you sweat. But at the end of the week, when your new tires arrive, you don't want to miss the healthy ride in the morning and evening anymore.

  • 4
    This does not fundamentally answer the question.
    – Zaid
    Oct 20, 2015 at 8:20
  • 1
    I know, but it answeres the question fundamentalistic. Oct 20, 2015 at 11:26
  • 1
    The underlying answer here is "find another way to get to and from work" which is fair and reasonable. Uber, ride sharing, take a train/bus, even biking are all alternatives which mean this tyre doesn't get used.
    – Criggie
    Jan 21, 2017 at 9:20

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