In another of our series looking at different aspects of “dry rot”, here’s a look at what the Americans call “tire rot” or “sidewall cracking”.
You may have been wondering what exactly is tyre rot? It’s something that may have been on your mind lately. You may also have been wondering if it’s safe to drive a car that’s experiencing tyre rot? Here we’re going to answer all of those questions for you. This way you’ll know not just how your tyres became rotted. But, what you should do now that they are.
What we might know as dry rot is also sometimes called sidewall cracking. That’s because cracks appear in the sidewalls and in the tread. This is the first indicator that you’ve got dry rot on your hands. The chemical bonds in the rubber are breaking down. This is all started by oils in the rubber evaporating. Simply put, your tyres are drying out. The oils are evaporating and the chemical bonds are breaking.
What causes dry rot? Generally, it comes from the vehicle not moving. A car that sits for a period of years will experience dry rot. It can also happen if the car sits outside in the sun too much. This is generally only a problem if you live in an exceptionally hot area. Where the sun is beating directly down on your tyres all day long. Most people don’t live in such conditions. This is why the main cause of dry rot is simply not driving a car. It’s not unheard of for classic cars to sit in a garage or barn for five to ten years without being moved. This is why the tyres on those cars can become rotted.
How can you prevent dry rot? The first thing you can do is drive your car regularly. That’s the best way to prevent dry rot. You can also put boards underneath your car’s tyres when not in use. This is only done if you’re not going to drive the car for a long period of time. You’re going to want to also make sure the tyres have enough pressure. You’ll need to check the air pressure at least once per month. Make sure to add any air if the pressure is down.
It’s important to note that dry rot can only be repaired in its early stages. Otherwise, you’re going to have to get new tyres. It’s not safe driving on tyres that have dry rotted. The cracks will eventually reach the chords of the tyres. When this happens they’ll split. You don’t want that to happen to your tyres. Especially if you’re driving down the motorway.
Don’t drive on dry rotted tyres. If you have any doubt whatsoever, take your car to a place that sells tyres. They’ll be able to tell you just by looking at your tyres. Everyday the most precious cargo may be being carried in your car. That precious cargo is your family. Don’t risk their health and safety. Get those dry rotted tyres replaced immediately. Driving with dry rotted tyres will ultimately spell disaster. An accident can total your car or worse. It can cause death or injury to a loved one. A car can be replaced. People can’t be. Always remember that when making maintenance decisions for your car.
Or read more info on the more conventional issue of dry rot treatment.