When are Cracks in The Tire Wall Unsafe? Top 3 Indicators

In 2020, there were 664 total motor vehicle fatalities from tire-related crashes. This, ensuring your tires are in good shape, is essential for keeping your level of traffic safety and the best possible performance and fuel efficiency for your vehicle.

So you ask yourself, “When are cracks in the tire wall unsafe?”

When are cracks in the tire wall unsafe

If you’ve ever traveled on worn tires, you may have observed that small cracks appear in the sidewall and between the treads. Depending on where they are and how bad they are, you may or may not need to be concerned about these cracks.

Small cracks on the tire tread blocks are typically nothing to fret about; they are just signs of natural wear and tear. The tread may separate from the remainder of the tire if there are deeper cracks, indicating that the tire is nearing the end of its usable life.

When are the Cracks in the Tire Wall Unsafe?

Cracks in the tire sidewall indicate that the rubber is starting to break down. Tire cracks are considered unsafe if you observe that the cracks increase in number and get deeper or longer over time. You may want to consider replacing your tires when this happens. A crack that extends deep into the rubber signifies that your tire is unsafe and should be replaced. 

So basically, the top three indicators that the cracks in the tire wall are unsafe are:

  1. number of cracks
  2. depth of cracks
  3. length of cracks

Over time, tires will eventually start to crack, like any other item made from rubber. Most cracks begin on the tire’s sidewall and gradually progress into the tread surface. As mentioned above, large sidewall tire cracks are more concerning since they cause the tire to deteriorate more quickly.

What causes tire cracks?

It’s essential to understand that tires do have a lifespan. In other terms, they can work for a certain amount of time until the substances degrade to the extent where they become ineffective.

Cracks indicate that your tires’ rubber is beginning to degrade. Typically, this occurs as a result of exposure to:

  • ultraviolet light
  • chemicals
  • oils
  • neglected maintenance

These, along with other factors, gradually break down components and decrease the flexibility of the rubber.

The incredible thing is that, under normal conditions, tires should last 12,000 to 15,000 miles a year or between three and five years, depending on maintenance, driving style, conditions, etc.

Bridgestone Tires

One important thing to learn is how to read tire codes, which include the date of manufacture on the side wall.

Picture showing tire code meanings

Cracks appear as this flexibility decreases. Once cracks appear, the tire will eventually approach the end of its useful life. Depending on the damage’s severity, you should decide to be concerned. 

There isn’t much cause for concern if the tires are still relatively new and the surface cracks are shallow and fairly few. But if ignored, damages will eventually result in a split tire, where the sidewall splits open, rendering the wheel useless.

Tire abuse and negligence can also result in cracking. The tire’s tread area may crack due to incorrect pressure, overloading the tires, and harsh handling.

All of these are indicators that, to prevent significant damage, you need to change your driving style and tire pressure.

How to Avoid Crack Tires

With time, tires will crack. The chemicals will eventually degrade, even if you take careful care of them.

Nevertheless, there are techniques to stop tire fractures, such as providing the most significant amount of protection from harmful elements, such as water, sunlight, and even salt, on winter roads. 

Read more: What Causes Uneven Tire Wear? 5 Common Issues

You may stop surface cracks from emerging on your tires by regularly washing them and applying suitable tire formulations for shine and protection. It’s crucial not to overlook the area facing the car’s interior, as cracks will also start to appear.

Follow these steps to prolong the life of your tires and avoid cracking:

  • Whenever feasible, park your car in a garage away from the sun.
  • Avoid letting tires sit in water that is still.
  • You should clean your tires with snow and mud after driving.
  • Maintain correct tire pressure to lessen the strain on the tire’s rubber.

If you’re worried about tire cracking, neglecting the problem could result in a hazardous driving accident, such as a blown tire that leads your car to skid. The tires on your vehicle won’t last forever, even with the best maintenance.


Can Tires With Cracks Be Restored?

Although you can cosmetically fix tire cracks, they cannot be structurally fixed. No, despite whatever anyone else claims, there is no method for making a tire younger or more efficient; the only ways to fix a tire are to plug it or patch it.

New tires: Are they vulnerable to cracking?

Unusually, brand-new tires develop cracks since they typically do so over time. Nevertheless, on some occasions, consumers claimed that their brand-new tires began splitting only a few months after purchase.

Do All Cracks Pose Risks?

Cracks are a sign that your tires are old or that you must take extra care of them, but not all cracks mean you need to change them immediately. A scarcely noticeable crack might not require replacement right away.

Most of the time, you need only be worried if cracks are severe or extensive or if they are spreading to numerous locations of your tire.

Why Are Cracks Risky?

Your tires will likely need to be changed if a crack is dangerous. Most of your tire’s performance depends on the strength of the rubber compound, which is jeopardized if cracking is visible over the surface and penetrates deeply into the rubber.

How Misuse Leads to Cracks in Tires?

Cracks might also develop in your tires due to improper maintenance. Cracks may develop as a result of any misuse, involving over- or under-inflation, punctures, shoddy patchwork, and incorrect driving.

For instance, if you frequently overcorrect for corners and scrape the sidewalls of your tires on curbs, the rubber will degrade more quickly.

Take Away

Tire sidewalls and tread surfaces both frequently develop cracks over time. If you need new tires right away, it will probably depend on how severe the gaps are and where they are positioned. However, if the damages are minor and surface-level, there is no need for concern.

On the contrary, it’s essential to replace the tires immediately if the cracks are significant, lengthy, or numerous. The sidewall plays a more substantial structural role than the tread, making cracks there slightly more concerning than those on the tread.

Read more: Can You Change Tire Size on the Same Rim?

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