When are Cracks in the Tire Sidewall / Tread Unsafe?

When are Cracks in the Tire Sidewall Unsafe

As time goes by, cracks may tend to appear on the sidewall of your tire or at the tread surface. What does this mean?

Do you have to replace your tires? When are the cracks in the tire sidewall or tread unsafe?

If the cracks on the tread surface are minimal, you have nothing to worry about. But if the cracks are larger and cover the entire length of your tire, then this may not be safe anymore.

You need to replace your tires when this happens. Large sidewall cracks can degrade your tire.

Have a professional inspect your tires and get a new set of tires if necessary. If you want to know more about sidewall cracking, you can watch the following video:

What Causes Cracks?

Do you want to know why your tires are cracking? Several factors can contribute to this.

Read and consider the following causes of cracks:

What Causes Cracks

1. Exposure to Water

The tires will be elastic if they are exposed to water for a prolonged time. When they are elastic, it will lead to degradation where cracks can be produced in the tires.

2. Not Using the Tires for a Long Time

The tires should be used to avoid cracks. When not in use, antioxidants and other chemicals in the tires are not properly distributed.

Thus, cracks can be created because of long-term disuse.

3. Exposure to Chemicals or Oils

If the tires will be exposed to oil, gasoline, and other chemicals, they can have cracks. Even some cleaning agents have a high level of acidity that can cause the tire to rot.

4. Improper Tire Pressure

Cracks can be formed between treads if you will have improper tire pressure. Numerous forums reveal that overinflation can be a cause of tire cracks.

This is more likely to happen when your tire is old. As the rubber stretches through overinflation, it can crack.

In the same case, underinflated tires that will hit bumps can stretch the rubber and can produce cracks.

5. Manufacturing Defects

This may not always be the case, but it happens sometimes. This is more common if the quality of your tires is not very good.

Low-quality materials are more prone to cracking. So, if this happens to you, you must refer to the craftsmanship warranty of your tires.

Know if they can have a replacement for your tires because of manufacturing defects.

6. Extreme Cold

The non-winter tires that are used in winter can have cracks. This is because the tires cannot withstand cold temperatures which can result in irreversible cracking.

7. UV Light

Your tires have some chemicals in them. When exposed to direct sunlight, these chemicals can break down.

Thus, the tire can crack. This will be likely to happen because it is hard to keep your tires away from sunlight.

You are always out on the road and the sunlight can reach your tire. The only thing that you can do is to choose the spot where you can park your car.

8. Natural Aging

When your tire reaches 5-6 years old, you cannot do anything, it will start to crack. Cracks will begin to build up in the sidewall and the tread area.

This thing is typical because the rubber compound will begin to deteriorate.

9. Using Your Tires All Year Long

One of the reasons that cause cracks is that you are using your tires all year long. Maybe you have summer tires that you have used for the whole year.

When this happens, the tires cannot withstand other seasons. Due to the differing temperatures, the tires will crack.

10. Heat and Humidity

Hot temperatures can make your tire expand. The contraction can be a cause of cracking.

So, you have to store your tires in an ideal environment where the temperature does not change so much.

11. Low-Quality Tire Shine

You must be careful in using tire shine products. Some are aggressive and can dry out your tires.

Are Small Cracks Dangerous?

Are Small Cracks Dangerous

When cracks are deep or widespread, that is when you should worry. Small cracks mean that your tire is aging.

But it does not mean that you have to replace your tires. But do not take small cracks for granted.

Take this also as a serious thing. You should watch out if you find small cracks in your tires.

Be sure that you can take action when small cracks become larger. Take proper care of your tires.

Should You Replace Cracked Tires?

When cracking is throughout the surface of the tires, then you should replace your tires. It is a sign that the rubber is not functioning as it should when the cracks extend deep to the surface.

For your safety, you have to replace them. If the cracks are small, there is no need for that.

But if you know that it is almost the end of your tire’s life, then you should consider a replacement.

Should You Repair Cracked Tires?

For appearance purposes, cracked tires can be repaired. They can be masked.

Fillers from the market can fill in the cracks. You can do this if you think that the cracks are unsightly.

But you must understand that it is only for aesthetics. The effect of the cracks will not change.

You can hide the tire’s dangerous state but you cannot avoid the consequences of driving with cracked tires.

Signs of Cracks in Tires

  • Weird noises and vibrations while driving
  • The color of the tire is faded
  • The tire has a dull appearance
  • A crack on the sidewall
  • The outer edge of the tread has cracks
  • The rubber is falling off
  • The tire is dry and brittle

What Does Dry Rot Look Like?

What Does Dry Rot Look Like

● Faded Color

Your tire is suffering from dry rot if its color is turning to gray instead of black. Discoloration happens at the time of cracking or even before it.

● Sidewall Cracks

You can see fractures in the sidewall when your tires are on dry rot. These cracks can be found in isolated areas or can be within the entire area of your tire.

● Brittleness

You can see that your tire will have a brittle appearance because of dry rot. Pieces of rubber will be loosed from the tire.

You can find cracks in the tread. Because of these cracks, the handling of your vehicle can be affected.

How to Prevent Tire Cracking

They say that prevention is better than cure. So before you will have the problem of cracked tires, you must know how you can prevent this from happening.

Of course, you should do proper tire maintenance. This is the only way you can avoid issues of tire cracking.

Anyway, here are some tips that you can apply so that you can prevent tire cracking. Read the following:

● Choose Your Tire Brand

There is nothing wrong with buying cheap tires. But you should be careful in choosing your tires.

Choose a brand that is recommended by many people. Use something that has been proven by many to be good.

Get something that most car owners trust. Your tires do not need to be expensive.

But they should have a solid reputation for good quality. You can expect poor rubber to degrade quicker.

Whereas, tires of good quality can last for a long time.

● Prevent Chemical Contacts

Prevent harsh chemicals from contact with your tires. They can make your tires degrade and have cracks.

● Inflate Your Tires Properly

Be sure that your tire pressure always follows the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure. Underinflated or overinflated tires can cause your tires to have multiple potential issues.

One of these is having cracks.

● Exercise Your Tires

Your tires need to be exercised to perform at their best. So, you need to travel more often or drive around town.

When not in use, antioxidants and antiozonants cannot move closer to the surface of the tire. It can cause cracks in it.

So, you should drive at least once every month to avoid this.

● Choose Where You Park

To do proper vehicle care, you must find a good parking space. Parking your car in an open area can expose your car to different weather conditions.

Direct exposure to the sun will not be good for your tires. You will surely have cracking problems.

To avoid this, choose a good place where you can park.

If you want to know more about how you can prevent your tire from cracking, you can watch the following video:


Can You Drive on Tires with Cracked Sidewalls?

When the crack on the sidewall is minor, it can be safe to continue driving. Small cracks are not liable for any major safety concern.

Can I Drive on a Tire with Cracks on It?

If the cracks are small and on the surface, you can drive on a tire with cracks. Even new tires can have surface cracks on them.

Should You Replace Tires That are Cracking?

If dry rot happens to your tire which is also known as sidewall cracking, you need to replace your tire. This can happen when your tire is 5-6 years old.

Though it may happen sooner.

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