Tire Sidewall: Importance And Maintenance

Tire Sidewall: Importance And Maintenance

If you were to ask a car enthusiast what is the most important component of a tire, he will probably tell you its tread. But the answer is only partially correct. In fact, each of the tire components plays an important role. And it is not necessary to know everything about them. It is enough to only keep in mind their purpose and specifics so as to choose the best ones. Thus, we can choose the correct tires for our car in a much more efficient way.

The tires of our vehicle are directly responsible for our safety on the road. And yes, their treads are really crucial. At the same time though, their sidewalls are equally important. Tire sidewalls first of all give us a lot of information about everything we need to know about the tire in general. But besides the inscriptions on them, the structure itself and the care for them are equally essential.

Many times, we tend to neglect this component when choosing a set of new tires. But, I hope you correct this mistake from now on because I will teach you what to pay attention to and how to keep your tire sidewalls in optimal condition. The idea that you must remember once and for all is that the sidewall of a tire not only adds aesthetics to your car but also contributes to its performance.

Basic description of the tire sidewall

First things first. The definition of sidewall says that it is the part of the tire that you see when you look at it. It is basically the most visible part of the tire because you can see it in its entirety, unlike the tire treads, which you can only see partially.
Manufacturers write plenty of information on the sidewall. Information is not chaotic but has a certain standard and meaning. Drivers learn about almost all the technical and mechanical specifications of the tire only based on the information on the sidewall. Thus, you can find out about its size and diameter, the weight it can withstand, DOT code, speed rating, and many other indications. So, in addition to the aesthetic role it plays on the tire, this portion is also a real instruction for use in every sense of the word.

The primary material of the tire sidewall is rubber. However, the manufacturers supplement it with various additional components to strengthen its resistance, flexibility, and shock absorption. Let's not forget that the roads are not perfect and with every pothole, the tire is subject to strong impacts. To cope with these pressures, manufacturers add metal, plastic, or nylon components to the sidewalls.
An important aspect of the sidewalls is the portion that connects them with the tire tread. This is known as the tire shoulder and it plays an imminent role in the entire structure of the tire. Besides the fact that the shoulder is one of the most resistant and toughest components, it ensures the position of the tires on the wheel rim while also maintaining the shape of the whole tire.
So the sidewall including its shoulder is actually the component that allows the tire to perform the way the manufacturers envision.

What does a "healthy" sidewall mean?

Of course, tire sidewalls are extremely prone to dirt. They catch all the mug and dust possible and it is quite challenging to always keep them in a clean condition. Unless you are the owner of a car wash where you can shower it daily.
If a dirty sidewall is something acceptable, some symptoms suggest that the sidewall is not exactly in good condition.

A healthy sidewall must not have gouges, bulges, or blisters on it. In the same context, cracks are also symptoms of an affected sidewall. After washing, the sidewall, like the entire tire, must not have white spots that cannot be removed even with the help of special chemicals. These may suggest the appearance of dry rot in the tire, which requires an urgent and detailed tire inspection by a specialist.

Any of these symptoms mean that the sidewall is not healthy. Driving with such symptoms is not at all safe and you need an inevitable consultation with professionals in the field.

Keep in mind that any impact that affects the sidewall of the tire leads to its weakening. No need to mention how dangerous a weakened sidewall is. As you can deduce, it can no longer withstand the pressure and damping force of the vehicle while driving.

Be very careful with the bulges and cracks on the sidewalls. They talk about an internal condition of the tire in which the inside lining may have opened up. React immediately to these symptoms that require emergency intervention.

How to properly maintain the tire sidewall?

I have recently talked about how to keep your tires in good shape. Everything starts with a frequent visual inspection. The same rule applies to tire sidewalls. When inspecting your tire condition, don't overlook the sidewall condition to identify potential symptoms. Even the smallest damage is dangerous. This is because the pressure during riding turns small damage into a large one. Under these conditions, it is not excluded to undergo a tire blowout.

Every time you wash the car, opt for chemical solutions specially designed for the protection of the tire, including the sidewalls. They prevent premature drying and maintain optimal elasticity. At the same time, these solutions prevent the impact of UV rays on the tires, which are not at all friendly with the sidewalls.

You probably know how important the correct tire pressure is. This is also valid for sidewalls and shoulders. Inappropriate pressure exposes tire shoulders to major stress. They become sensitive especially in tough road conditions.

Bottom line

The entire set of components of a tire must be considered, not just the tire tread. You can have the best-performing snow or rain grooves in the world. But these will be useless if the tire shoulders are somehow affected. It's great when the sidewalls look awesome on the tire and add an aesthetic touch to the car design. But in the most perfect scenario, they must also be in optimal condition to have a safe driving experience.

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