Cracked Tires: Why Cracks Appear And How To Prevent

Cracked Tires: Why Cracks Appear And How To Prevent

You know for sure that the time will come when you will have to replace your tires. You have to take this aspect into account from the moment you mount a new set of tires. With their regular use, they become thinner and more damaged over time. The question is: when do you understand that it's time to think about a new set?
To be able to answer this question, it is necessary to regularly inspect the condition of the tires to estimate how much of their life is left.
Many drivers are guided by the tread of their tires. The flatter they become, the greater the need to change them. Well, this method is really suggestive and correct enough. However, it is not the only method to estimate the condition of the tires. Apart from tire tread, you would do well to draw attention to tire cracks. These also suggest that the tire is about to stop serving its purpose.
But is the presence of cracks always equal to tire replacement? Not necessarily. Some secrets help you better understand if the cracks are dangerous or not and if you have to replace the tire because of them or not. Let's see what they are.

The factors that lead to tire cracks

Let's better understand the factors that determine the appearance of cracks. First of all, all tires have a limited lifespan. There are no tires that will last forever. The explanation lies in the fact that the components that form the construction of a tire are prone to break down once time passes. They deteriorate gradually until the moment they provide neither traction, efficiency, nor the safety of the car on the road. This happens about 6 years after the date of manufacture.

So, tire damage is a natural process. They are prone to dry rot and dry out over time, also causing the appearance of cracks. However, the crack appearance is not a big cause for concern. What should worry you is, in fact, their severity.

If you analyze a 2-3-year-old tire that was used in normal road conditions, you will notice that it already has small cracks on its surface. If these are shallow and do not affect the tire in depth, it is not a serious reason for worrying. These are a natural consequence of daily wear.

If, however, their depth does not seem normal to you and it ends up affecting a large portion of the tire, then it is the moment when you have to ask yourself some questions. How brittle is the tire? How deep are the cracks? A hard do tread blocks break apart? If the answers are "pretty bad" then it is the right time for tire replacement.


These cracks are the result of several factors. It's hard to say which one affected the tires. This is because, as a rule, all factors affect the tire simultaneously. For example, dry rot is a common premise for the appearance of cracks. At the same time, they appear as a result of the chemicals with which the tires are processed to maintain their elasticity. Also, UV rays negatively impact tire structure, without us being able to somehow influence this process. In this context, it is very welcome to take into account the materials with which your tires are processed and opt for high-quality chemical solutions.

Besides all these causes, the human factor also has an essential role. Drivers neglect tire maintenance. They tend to over or under-inflate them unreasonably, exposing them to their early damage. Extreme driving habits also severely impact the condition of the tires, causing the appearance of cracks.

How dangerous are small tire cracks?

Small cracks are a sign that your tires are naturally aging. Based on them, you can figure out how new or old the tire is. Many drivers consider the small cracks when buying a new set of second-hand tires. The more of them, the more years the tire has been rolling on the road.

These are also an indicator of your driving style. If you adopt aggressive driving behavior, they will be more, even if shallow. So, small cracks are not exactly a cause for concern as long as they are not deep and do not damage the shape of the tread blocks. There is no need to think about a replacement yet because in most cases they serve for a few more years.
However, this does not mean that you should neglect them. If you want the small cracks not to turn into large and severe ones, you must take some preventive measures.

When is tire replacement due to cracks recommended?

Specialists recommend replacement when it comes to severe cracks. It would be good to closely inspect the structure of the tire to determine the degree of affection of the cracks. A crack is considered severe when it penetrates deep into the tire and tends to deform the tread block structure. Also, take into account the affected surface. If cracks with medium depths extend over the entire tread of the tire, it is time to make some changes.

How about a cracked tire repair?

Many drivers are curious to know if a cracked tire can undergo a repair process. Well, it depends on what you mean by "repair". If the repair means a cosmetic correction, then yes, it is possible. You can do this yourself with the help of special fillers that help mask the signs of cracks on the treads and sidewalls. This procedure could work in the case of minor and shallow cracks.

If we are talking about a substantial repair that would restore the tire's stability, then no filler will help you. Deep cracks will put your safety on the road at risk, regardless of whether you treated them cosmetically or not. The best idea is to replace the affected tires.

Be careful when/if you buy a set of second-hand tires. Some dealers use special fillers to hide the real condition of the tires. As a result, you could end up with hardly damaged tires. The best idea ever is to always opt for a new set, even if they are more expensive. Keep in mind that you are not paying for tires but for your safety on the road.

Any prevention techniques?

Sure thing. But don't expect that you can categorically avoid the formation of cracks. As I told you, tire aging leads to their inevitable appearance, whether we like it or not. It's a matter of time. But what you can do is to have a careful attitude towards your wheels. So, what is in your hands is to extend the period until cracks start to appear and severely affect your tires.

The first and most obvious method is proper maintenance and care. Even if it seems insignificant aspect, regular tire cleaning is a simple and effective method of preventing cracks. In the same context, opt for high-quality chemical solutions. They protect the tires from UV rays, and therefore, from the early appearance of cracks. Take into account the whole tire's surface, and not just the outer one. Cracks affect the inner part of the tire to the same extent.

Further on...

When you change the summer tires to the winter ones, make sure to store them in a suitable environment. Find them a suitable place, away from direct sunlight, moisture, and dirt. Provide them with proper ventilation and cover.

Follow the manufacturers' recommendations in the most responsible way possible. I am referring in particular to the correct inflation of the tires without excesses or shortages of pressure. In the same context, mount the correct tires for the right season to avoid additional stress on them.

Last but not least, reasonable behavior behind the wheel is always welcome. Do not expose the vehicle to aggressive braking or fast cornering. A wise driving style is beneficial not only for your tires but also for your safety on the road.

I have tire cracks. What's next?

As tire cracks are inevitable, most of us probably have them right now. So what's next? Should we do something or should we just leave things as they are? The answer lies in how serious the situation is. Start by inspecting them immediately. If the cracks are superficial, breathe easy. You still have enough time to continue the drive. However, do not forget about their possible appearance. Continue the regular inspection at least once a week.

The moment you identify them (I hope you don't come to this) you have to consider a new set of tires immediately. Deep and aggressive cracks are a sufficient reason for a replacement even if other aspects of the tires still seem to be in good condition.

Don't wait until they start to impair your drive. It may be difficult for you to determine the severity of the problem yourself. In such a case, a second opinion never hurts and it is best if it is a professional one. Of course, friends, neighbors, and office colleagues will want to advise you, but opt for exclusively professional advice. If you still need a set of high-quality tires because yours are already too damaged, here we are to help you solve the issue. Safe travel!

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