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Tire dry rot: It’s as serious as it sounds

Have you ever had an old rubber band crumble in your hands? It happens because the rubber breaks down and deteriorates. . How do you know when it’s time to replace your tires? If you spot dry rot, it’s time to replace the tire.

What is tire dry rot?

Dry rot is when a tire shows signs of cracking or splitting in the sidewall, and it’s caused by:

  • Excessive exposure to UV rays from sunlight.
  • Harsh chemicals especially petroleum based products.
  • Storing tire in a severe temperature environment.
  • Lack of use or prolonged storage.
  • Low tire inflation pressure.
  • Exposure to ozone generating sources such as electric motors, generators, battery chargers, and welding equipment..

With advanced cases of dry rot, you could see:

  • Cracking in the tread pattern or upper sidewall of the tire.
  • Cracking in the lower sidewall or bead area, just above where the tire is mounted to the wheel.
  • A hard and more brittle surface.
  • Graying or fading in the sidewall area of the tire.

How to prevent tire dry rot

You can take some steps to slow down cracking due to dry rot. The more you avoid exposing your tires to harsh conditions, the longer they'll last.

Here's a short list of things you can do to prevent dry rot:

Avoid exposure Sun and UV rays may cause your tires to crack. Limit your tires' exposure to sun and heat when in storage.

 Avoid harsh chemicals While it's important to keep your tires clean, petroleum-based chemicals or cleaning products will damage the rubber in your tires. Use only soap and water when cleaning.

Maintain proper inflation Underinflated tires create excessive stress on sidewalls, which leads to overheating and cracking.

Don't let your tires sit for too long Lack of use seriously contributes to dry rot. When you drive on your tires, they stay supple. If your vehicle is stored, consider wheel covers.