Every vehicle features parts and components that are exposed to friction and therefore are more vulnerable to physical damage and wear. Tires are the brightest example.
It is not just about good looks. It is about your and your loved one’s safety. It is absolutely mandatory that you check your tires every time you are going to drive somewhere. Particularly, check your tires for signs of dry rot!
What is so bad about dry rot? It is pretty clear that any damage to tires can undermine balance, especially at high speed, and cause an accident.
What is it?
When a tire grows dry rot, the rubber goes crack and loses its original shape. Cracks appear in the sidewall or tread. If left unnoticed, the damage will deteriorate, and the destructive process will continue.
The term “dry rot” characterizes the specifics of the decay process. Old tires that have been exposed to harsh outer influences (weather, terrain, etc.) are more likely to dry-rot.
In most cases, dry cracks result from too much sunlight. Also, damage can be caused by lack of pressure, misuse, or lack of use. The rubber may begin to dry, warp and rot.
Cracks in the tread may affect the safety of driving. The earlier you detect the problem, the easier it is to stop the deterioration. Without treatment, the tire will become unsafe and therefore not usable. If you have detected the problem before it is too late, you can have it sealed professionally.
If you realize that things have gone too far, buy a new tire. Advanced rots cause air leaks, so you won’t be able to inflate your tire properly.
A dry rot increases the risk of deformation and sudden collapse of a tire. Water, dirt and debris can get inside through the cracks and speed up destruction.
What are the signs of a dry rot?
Dry rots cause the rubber to lose integrity. Tires begin to fracture and lose shape. Every driver should be aware of the symptoms and do his/her uttermost to minimize the risk. The most common signs are:
Lack of elasticity
Lack of natural moist causes tires to dry-rot. The rubber loses the essential oil and becomes brittle. This can be observed through tiny particles of rubber coming off from the tire.
Cracks and fissures
Dry rot causes a tire to crack. This seriously impacts the pattern and results in poor traction and grip. If you fail to detect the problem in time, you will have serious handling problems, and driving will not be safe anymore.
When a tire starts dry-rotting, tiny cracks begin to appear on the sidewall. They may form one or a few tiny clusters or spread to a large area and affect the entire sidewall.
Loss of color
Dry rot can cause the black rubber to fade to gray. Discoloration results from lack of moisture and decaying structure of the material.
These are the most common symptoms of dry rot. It is necessary to check tires for dry rot once or twice a year. Rubber tends to deteriorate in hot or extremely cold weather. It is recommended to check tires in early spring and fall.
If you have spotted at least one sign of dry rot, have it checked professionally to ensure you still can use it safely.
Why do tires dry-rot?
A tire that has dry-rotted badly cannot be used. Trying to patched damaged areas may give it a tiny bit of good looks, but it will not solve the problem. What you really need to do is extend your tires’ life by following some rules.
Take steps to avoid exposure to excessive sunlight, extreme temperatures and chemicals. Be sure to keep your vehicle in a well-ventilated garage that can protect the tires and the rest of it against harmful factors, such as:
- Toxic and active agents, fertilizers, stain removers, engine oil.
- Excessive sunlight or other sources of UV radiation
- Extreme heat, cold and dryness
- Excessive moist
- Staying out of use for a long time
- Exposure to ozone generated by electrical appliances
- Improper inflation combined with frequent use of the vehicle
How do I prevent dry rot?
To prevent damage, follow the user guide and all care and maintenance recommendations. There are several things you can do to about it. Here are some anti-dry-rot steps that can help you.
Check your tires regularly
Inspect the tread pattern and sidewalls on a regular basis. Every time you do, look for signs of discoloration, fissures, deformities, and bulges. Take every little change very seriously!
Do not park your vehicle in sunlit places for too long
Tire rubber is quite sensitive to ultraviolet radiation. Persistent exposure to sunlight can cause the sidewalls to deteriorate prematurely.
Heat exerts destructive influence on the tires and the rest of the vehicle. When parking for a long time, be sure that there are objects around that provide some shade.
Clean it regularly
It is quite advisable to keep your tires clean with the help of a piece of cloth and light soap. Once you are finished, rinse the rubber with water.
Be sure that cleansers that you are going to use are intended for cleaning rubber.
Do not use toxic agents
Active and toxic chemicals may affect the structure of the rubber and make things worse. Check more information about tire cleansers and buy those recommended by renowned and pre-vetted tire manufacturers.
Maintain an acceptable air pressure level
A poorly inflated tire is more likely to fail. It wears down in less than no time, because it is more sensitive to friction-related damage. Underinflation causes it to crack and collapse prematurely.
Be sure to inflate your tires as recommended by the manufacturer. Check the pressure once per month.
If you have noticed cracks or deformities on the sidewall, things are bad for the tire. Air will escape through the cracks, and it will be difficult to maintain appropriate air pressure. To avoid the trouble and extend the life of your tires, provide sufficient pressure specified by the tire manufacturer. Do not under- or overinflate your tires.
Load your vehicle as required by the manufacturer
Overloading is another common cause of tire damage. Failure to abide by load requirements can cause a lot of trouble and reduce your tires’ life.
Store it properly
Tires should be stored as advised by the manufacturer. If you are intent of storing them for a long period of time, keep them on the wheels and off the ground.
Park it properly
If you have to park your vehicle for an extended period of time, please, do the following:
- When parking, be sure that your vehicle is not overloaded
- Do not park it in direct sunlight. If you do not have much choice, cover the car and the tires to protect it against sunlight
- Do not place your car in a very hot or very cold place, or where temperature may change dramatically
- Relocate your car at least once every 90 days
Summing it up
Always check your tires and be sure they are in a good shape, especially if you are planning a long-distance trip. Take appropriate steps if you have noticed even minor signs of damage.
A vehicle requires constant care and investment. You should invest a lot of time, energy and money in it. Please, follow tire care guidelines and do all necessary procedures to extend their life and prevent them from dry-rotting. Check tire manufacturers’ official websites and use professional advice. Replace your tires if you realize they are dry-rotten beyond repair.