Bald tyres are tyres which have been so worn down that they have almost no tread. Since tread is what helps tyres grip the road’s surface, bald tyres can be extremely dangerous. Bald tyres are called this because the tyre tread – which helps the driver of a vehicle stop quickly in an emergency – has been worn down to an unacceptable level. Ideally, before going on a long journey in this festive Season, tyres should be replaced before they are truly bald to maintain optimal safety. In the excitement of returning to a hometown to celebrate Hari Raya, a Driver, as well as passengers in a vehicle, should be aware of whether the vehicle is roadworthy. This includes checking the condition that the tyres of the vehicle are in to assure that the tyres have sufficient treads within the \'safety level\'. TYRES TREADS There are several brands of car tyres on the market. Among them are Goodyear, Bridgestone, Michelin, Silverstone and Sime Tyres. \"I opt for tyres that have treads that can grip the road surface better in emergencies for my continental-made car, which is heavier when compared to other cars. As for my Proton Wira car which is lighter, I opt for China-made tyres,\" said Zainal Mohd Tirmizi, an executive with Maxis Berhad, when approached at a car service centre in Petaling Jaya near here. Zainal, 40, said he places importance on the reliability of car tyres for the safety of his family. TYRE CARE Koo Wai Jin, a mechanic at Benzone Auto Care Sdn Bhd in Petaling Jaya, said the tyres of a four-wheel vehicle should be \'balanced\' to ensure the car\'s safety while traveling on the road. Therefore, the owner should bring his car to a tyre centre for \'balancing and alignment\' of the car tyres. \"Ideally, the rear and front tyres should be alternated every three months. This is to make sure that the tyres last longer. The tyre pressure should also be well maintained,\" said Koo. Koo recommends tyre pressure between 27 and 28 PSI for vehicles with four tyres. He said if the vehicle is heavier, then the tyre needs more pressure. Information on optimum tyre pressure is found in the booklet provided by the car maker. Koo advises drivers to regularly check tyre pressure. \"I check the tyre pressure once a month. The more frequent the car is on the road, the more frequent the tyre pressure needs checking,\" said Zainal. What about women drivers? There are many women drivers on the road these days and they have managed to maintain their cars and tyres without assistance from the opposite gender. \"My mechanic advises me to add three or four more PSI units than the normal pressure when pumping air into the tyres after the tyres get hot from many hours on the road due to a long drive. \"If the tyre is low in pressure, then it will cause damage to the tyre rim. If the tyre is under normal pressure, then the brakes will not function well,\" said Hazirah Abdul Rahman, who has been a driver with a ‘P’ (probationary) licence for one year.