The tires are constantly subjected to severe conditions; they must withstand constant temperature changes and adapt to the requirements of driving, pollution, bad roads, etc.
All of these factors together affect the material of the tire. The most visible consequence of this daily aggression is the loss of elasticity and the formation of tire sidewall cracking.
Why Cracks Occur on Tires
The most common reason why cracks occur on tires is age. Tires do not have a predictable lifespan; they also age when not in use or used only occasionally.
When tires have been in use for five years or more, it is a good idea to have them thoroughly inspected by a professional at least once a year.
After ten years from the date of their manufacture, be sure to replace them, even if they appear to be serviceable and have not yet been worn to the profile wear indicator.
Cracked tires are also affected by several factors: temperature, maintenance, storage and use, load, speed, air pressure, and driving style.
Ensure you always inspect your tires; it’s recommended that tires be changed every 10 years, regardless of how much they have been used or how they look.
Are Tire Sidewall Cracks Dangerous?
If your tires have sidewall cracks, it’s definitely time to replace them and buy new ones. The risk of a flat or blowout tire is increased. The ability to cope with increased cornering loads is reduced, and cracks and worn-out tires also reduce the tires’ grip. Tire cracks definitely impact your safety on the road.
10 Tips To Prevent Tire Wear and Tire Sidewall Cracking
Worn-down tires are not only an unwanted additional cost, but they can also lead to a car accident. By following some simple tips, you will extend their lifespan and keep them in good shape.
1. Check Tire Pressure and Inflate Them at Least Once a Month
Insufficient inflation of the tire is the most common cause of tire failure and tire sidewall cracking. It also has immediate effects on fuel consumption, vehicle control and affects the safety and life span of the tires. Check and adjust tire pressure every month, and again before each long journey to prevent excessive tire wear down.
2. Rotate the Tires Every 6000 Miles or According to the Instructions
Tire rotation contributes to a more balanced wear-down of the tires, which extends tire life, as well as ensuring balanced handling and grip. Regular tire rotation also contributes to a smoother and safer ride.
How you rotate the tires depends on the type of vehicle you have.
- Front-wheel drive—move the front wheels to the rear, keeping them on the same side. Move the rear wheels to the front, but swap sides.
- Rear-wheel drive—move the front wheels to the rear, but swap sides. Move the rear wheels to the front, keeping them on the same side.
- Four-wheel drive—move the front wheels to the back and move the rear wheels to the front, swapping sides for both sets.
3. Avoid Overheating the Tires
High temperature and the overloading of tires are the two most common reasons for excessive wear and tire sidewall cracking. The higher heat they are exposed to, the shorter their lifespan is. Insufficient charge, high speeds, aggressive driving, and heavy loads, and driving on rough roads contribute to high temperatures on the tires.
4. Never Overload the Tires
Overloading is the second most common cause of tire wear down or even a flat tire. Each tire is designed to operate within the maximum load range—load index—which is marked on its sidewall. Any excessive overload can lead to faster wear down of the tire, structural damage, a sudden blowout, and a shorter lifespan.
5. Examine Your Tires Regularly for Excessive Wear or Damage
To ensure the longest possible tire lifespan, give them all a visual inspection at least once a month and before long journeys—preferably when checking the tire pressure. Look for uneven or excessive tread wear, bumps, or cracks on the sidewall or tread, abrasions, or signs of holes that may have been made by screws, glass, nails, and other objects.
6. Choose the Right Tires
Tires should not only work well in dry weather; they should also perform well in rain, sand, snow, mud, and at different temperatures. So make sure you choose well and get good quality tires. It may mean you will pay more money, but it will save you money in the long-run.
7. Replace Tires When Necessary
If your tires are older than 10 years, it’s time to change them. Tires also need to be replaced if their tread is worn down to the wear indicator, if the wear is very uneven, or the tire is much more worn out at the edges.
Replacements should also be made if tires have been punctured and cannot be repaired, the tires are severely cracked on the side, or bulges are visible anywhere on them.
8. Your Tires Should be Balanced
Unbalanced tires cause uneven tread wear down and uncomfortable driving, as well as excessive wear down on the suspension and other important components. An unbalanced tire can be detected when experiencing a shaking steering wheel while driving; sometimes, the entire car will shake. It’s usually most likely to be seen and felt on the highway at higher speeds.
9. Install Tires in Pairs or Replace All Four of Them
The installation of different types of tires on the left and right side can visibly impede the handling and balance of the vehicle, especially when operating the ABS braking system. It’s important that the tires are installed in whole kits, and if not, in front or rear pairs.
10. Make Sure Steering and Suspension Are in Proper Alignment
Poor alignment of the steering wheel and suspension system, whether the front wheels or rear wheels, not only adversely affects the feel on the steering wheel and the stability of the vehicle but also causes uneven and rapid tire wear.
If you do not solve the problem during your annual car service, a mismatch of the steering system or suspension can completely destroy the tires in a very short time or over a short distance.
How To Check Your Tire Expiration Date?
Tires have an expiration date, and tires should be inspected or even replaced after 6 years. If your tires are still good and without any problems after that period, you should definitely replace them after 10 years.
The tires have 4-digit numerical markings showing the date of manufacture of the tire. The first two digits indicate the week of manufacture and the last two the year of manufacture.
For example, code 0100 means that the tire was manufactured in the first week of 2000. The tire should be changed 10 years after the manufacturing date (in our case 2000), so you should change your tire in 2010, if not earlier, depending on your tire shape and preservation.
My Tires Expired, What Now?
If your tires are still in good shape after the expiration date, and if confirmed so by a professional car mechanic service, you can keep your tires for the next 1-2 years with regular inspections.
However, for your safety and to prevent any other damage to your wheels, we would advise you to change them every 6 years or when the tire expires. There could still be micro-cracks on your tires that you can’t see, and the materials used for the tires usually lose elasticity over time.
The lifespan of a tire is strongly related to how the tire is used and in what weather conditions. When a tire wears out under favorable conditions, its service life can be extended to more than six years.
To get such a result, you need the following some rules:
- The tire pressure must be checked regularly.
- Perfect wheel geometry and balance of the tires.
- Rotate your tires at least every 6000 miles.
- Ideal parking conditions (in the fresh air, as little sun as possible).
- Good weather climate.
However, despite good conditions, the combination of substances within the tire will wear out in a few years, and tire sidewall cracking appears. Cracks will also show up on the rubber profiles.
As long as these cracks remain only superficial, they shouldn’t immediately lead to an accident or disaster. However, the micro-cracks of the tires warn you about the high wear of the tire. Loss of elasticity affects the car’s overall behavior, which means it is time for new tires.
Go to your nearest car service center to check and change your tires if necessary, and don’t forget to consider our 10 tips to prevent tire wear and tire sidewall cracking. Hopefully, you can extend the lifespan of your tires and avoid the additional cost of new car tires.