Key Takeaways

  • Vehicles will shake with bald tires.
  • Bald tires can come from normal wear and tear, bad alignment, and other things.
  • Vehicle shaking comes from your tire losing traction with the road.
  • You will feel the vehicle shaking in your steering wheel with bald tires.
  • Replacing the tire is the best way to correct tire baldness.

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If your car has bald tires, you may be experiencing some vehicular symptoms. But can bald tires cause shaking?

Yes, bald tires can cause vehicle shaking. Tires can become bald for a number of reasons such improper alignment and bad tire quality. If tires lose their tread, they can lose their ability to keep traction on the road. This loss of traction can lead to your car shaking.

I’m a tire technician with over 8 years of experience diagnosing tire wear issues. I’ve been selling, repairing, and replacing tires to the best of my ability during this time using the latest and greatest tools and technology. I also receive regular training about the best way to offer our customers the best service.

Table of Contents

Bald Tires

Bald tires are tires that have lost the majority of their tread. They are called bald tires, because the tires are smooth on the part of the tire where the tread is supposed to be, like a person with missing hair.

Bald tires can come from a wide array of different things. One reason tires can become bald is improper wheel alignment. If your vehicle is improperly aligned, your tire’s tread will be dragging across the road instead of driving across it.

This means the tread will be stripped away instead of worn down like normal. This is how tires become bald quickly. Another way tires become bald is normal wear and tear.

Tire tread is meant to wear down. And if you drive on tires long enough, the tread starts to disappear and the tire becomes bald. If you drive on bald tires long enough, you start to see the metal make up of the tires, which signals the tire is totally deteriorated and dangerous to drive on.

Another reason tires can “go bald” is because improper tire maintenance. Tires that have been overfilled with air pressure tend to put more wear on the tread, quicker, than normally inflated tires.

A tire with high tire pressure will go bald much quicker than a properly inflated tire, since more weight is riding on a single point in the tread, rather than the weight being spread out over the tire’s whole tread face.

Also, driving on a flat tire will cause the tire to become bald quickly, as the tread drags across the ground.

Also, if you exceed your vehicle’s towing capacity, you run the risk of balding your tires. This is because you are putting extra weight on your tires, causing the tread of the tire to bear more weight, in turn causing them to deteriorate at a quicker rate.

Trucks that tow extra things behind them like an RV really risk having their tires go bald because they are putting so much extra weight on the tires.

In the case of the RV’s, the weight limit doesn’t even have to be exceeded. It’s just the extra weight that the vehicle is towing that causes the tires to become bald.

Vehicle Shaking

With bald tires, you may start to feel the vehicle shaking because there will be a loss of traction between the rubber of your tire and the road. You may feel the vehicle shaking in your vehicle’s steering wheel.

The vehicle may also feel like it drifts from side to side and your steering wheel may be harder to hold in the center.

You may feel like you keep having to make minor adjustments to your steering wheel to keep your vehicle going straight down the center of the road.

Not all tires go bald at the same time! For example, your two front tires might go bald before the two rear tires.

If you feel vibrations in your vehicle’s steering wheel and you suspect bald tires, you can be sure your front tires are bald, since your front tires are connected to the steering wheel through linkage.

If you feel the vehicle shaking in your seat, and not your steering wheel, and you suspect bald tires, you can be sure your vehicle’s rear tires are bald or worn.

A great way to check your vehicle’s front tires for baldness is to put your car into park, start your car, and turn the wheel all the way to the left.

With your steering wheel cocked all the way to the left, you will be able to see the tread face of your front left tire.

To see the tread face of your front right tire, get back in your car and turn the wheel all the way to the right.

If there is no tread left on your tire and it looks like a smooth surface, you can say your tire is bald and it’s time to get new tires.

Steering Wheel

If you have bald tires, you will feel a lot of shaking in your steering wheel. A sense of steering wheel vibration is the number one complaint a customer gives when they drive on bald tires.

You will get vibrations in your steering wheel with bald tires because the bumps and dips in the road that are usually absorbed by your tire’s tread are now being directly relayed to the rest of your car.

You will feel every nook and cranny of the road with worn tires, and you will feel it mostly in your steering wheel.

Dangers of Driving On Bald Tires

Bald tires are extremely dangerous to drive on since there is no traction between the ground and the tire.

One of the most dangerous situations you can get into with bald tires is hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning is a phenomenon that happens with your car when you hit a patch of water and you lose all control of the vehicle.

Basically, your vehicle is coasting on the water and you are unable to stop and you cannot bring back control to your vehicle through the brakes or steering wheel.

Hydroplaning usually occurs for less than a second, but has the potential to become very dangerous with bald tires.

With normal tires, the instant your tread hits pavement instead of water, traction is returned to the vehicle and therefore so is a semblance of control.

With bald tires, your traction will not return and you will continue to skid out until you are moving at a slow enough rate that your bald tires can provide what little traction they can to your car.

Another, more obvious danger of driving on bald tires, is the simple fact that you're driving around with less traction than normal.

Bald tires are dangerous to drive on in any weather.

You want your vehicle to respond to your steering wheel when you turn it, and with bald tires, your vehicle just may stop responding to your steering wheel and continue going straight when you’d like to turn.

As well, tires take the brunt of the force when braking, and without good traction on your tires, your vehicle has the potential to keep moving forward when you hit the brakes when you want it to stop.

Bald tires are very dangerous indeed, so when you notice your tires are starting to go bald, make sure to remedy the issue as soon as possible.

How To Fix Bald Tires

There’s really only one solution to fixing bald tires. And that solution is to replace the bald tires with new ones.

There are places throughout the world that offer to retread tires, but they are few and far between.

Plus, the service is about the same price as it would be to replace the tire, so it’s just more practical to replace bald tires with new ones. Do not even seek to retread bald tires. Just replace them as soon as possible.

You can prevent bald tires, or stave off the issue by giving your vehicle a tire rotation during every oil change.

The tire rotation will help spread tire wear evenly across all four tires rather than keeping your tires locked into the same location for the duration of their life.

Other Causes Of Shaking

If you check your tires, and they are not bald, there may be another reason your vehicle may be shaking. For example, your brake pads may be low which can cause brake rotor warpage, and in turn, vehicle shaking.

Another reason is that a wheel weight might have fallen off of your car and you now have to get your tires balanced again, leaving you with unbalanced tires and a shaking vehicle.

Your car may have bad wheel bearings which can cause a loud growl that can also be confused for vibrations and shaking.

If your vehicle is experiencing vibrations and you’re not sure of the reason why, it’s best to take the car to a mechanic to have it checked out.

Can Bald Tires Cause Shaking?

About The Author

Christopher Sparks

Christopher Sparks

Christopher Sparks has been servicing vehicles since 2012. After completing the automotive studies program at Camden County College, he was awarded an Associates's Degree in Applied Science. His first job was a lube-tech at Jiffy Lube, and is currently an independent B-Technician servicing vehicles for the United States Postal Service. Christopher is ASE certified and loves rebuilding engines.

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