Trailer tires often suffer from dry rotting for several reasons. The most prominent one is when they are parked without use for prolonged periods. The ultimate remedy is replacing the tires that are in deplorable conditions due to dry rotting, but if you have noticed the trend earlier, there are ways to prevent the spread.
The methods to prevent dry rotting include timely inspections, parking them under the shade, cleaning the tires, washing them periodically, and ensuring proper inflation.
Also, not using any harmful chemicals or products to expedite the rotting. Add these methods with proper storage care and covering the tires with an appropriate covering.
In addition to dry rotting, another issue that emerges on the tires is flat spots. These are the areas that show a flat tire area with minimal or no treads. In flat spots, you will observe that only the air-less tire is completely flat on the ground. Flat spots lead to developing cracks in the tire. So, both these tire defects are a result of negligence and not taking the steps to take care of the tires. Here’s a guide to preventing dry rotting.
What do You need To Know About Dry Rot?
Dry rotting is something that you can easily prevent and save money on replacing the trailer tires every time you take it out for a trip. For better prevention, it is imperative to know the characteristics of dry rotting.
Even as the name is self-explanatory, there are a few things that you should know before taking a leap into the prevention steps.
- Brittle Tires: The word ‘dry’ in dry rotting means that the tires gradually lose their essential oil. In more severe forms of dry rotting, you will see small cut pieces of tires popping out from the sidewall
- Tread Cracks: On a routine trailer check-up exercise, check the tire treads for small cracks. These small cracks are signs that dry rotting has begun. Plus, taking out the trailer with tread cracks can affect the handling.
- Color fading: The signature color of tire dry rotting is gray. So, the moment you notice that the tire color has changed from black to gray, it’s time to take action and prevent the tire from an aggravated dry rot.
Supplies Required to Keep the Trailer from Dry Rotting
There is no exclusive kit or set of equipment required to prevent dry rotting. But yes, there is some sort of equipment required depending on the prevention method you opt for. Having said that, here are a few things that you will always require.
- Tire Cleaner: While buying a tire cleaner, it is essential to buy non-petroleum ones. This is because petroleum-based tire cleaners augment the oxidation process leading to a faster wearing out of the rubber.
- Tire Covers: A tire and wheel cover will protect your tire from the heat coming from the sun, which has a direct impact on the rotting.
How To Keep Trailer Tires from Dry Rotting
Preventing the trailer tires from dry rotting isn’t a one-time thing or a process. To protect your tires, you need to adopt some measures and use the right materials to support the methods. So, here are the things you need to do.
#1. Regular Inspections
This is the first step towards preventing dry rot and saving you the money to replace the tires. Firstly, ensure that you conduct regular inspections of the trailer tires and the trailer itself. Fix a day in the month or once every two months for the inspection.
Start with the sidewalls to notice any sort of cracks, discoloration (gray), or any sort of bulges in the tire. For the treads, check for cracks. Well, if the tires have been on the road before, the treads will have some cracks. So, where treads can confuse you, focus on the sidewalls.
#2. Park the Trailer Under the Shade
Protection from the sun is also essential to protect the tires from dry rotting. If you do not have enough space in your home to park under the shade, hire a unit for the same.
If that’s also not possible, find a tree where you can park or look for the trailer parks in your area to keep the trailer there.
In case any of these is not possible, and you are forced to park the trailer under the sun, use a tarp to cover the trailer from all the sides, including the tires.
#3. Cleaning the Tires
A simple thing such as washing and cleaning the tires can improve their life and prevent dry rotting. Complement the tire cleaning process with tire covers to keep them in an immaculate condition for years to come.
However, while cleaning, use a water and soap solution. Do not use heavy chemical-laden products to wash them as it can do more harm than good. After washing the tires, shield them with tire and wheel covers for extra protection.
#4. Ensure Proper Tire Inflation
An under-inflated trailer tire is akin to an accident waiting to happen. Even if the trailer is parked, you must ensure that it always has the company-recommended air pressure. Under-inflation aggravates the dry rotting process, and if you drive with less pressure, the intensity of tire treading will be higher.
A word of caution: if the tires have already started to dry rot and you see cracks in the sidewalls as well as the treads, the inflating needs to be more frequent. This is to prevent further rotting and ensure that when you take the trailer out for inspection before a trip, it can reach the repair shop.
#5. Do Not Overload
If we were writing a guide on how to store your trailer for the summer or winter, the first thing we would have shared is emptying the trailer. Every tire is built to withstand a certain capacity of weight. However, when the trailer is parked, the tires are already under a lot of stress.
An overloaded trailer will only add to the problems, including accelerating the dry rotting. Plus, the extra weight can cause cracks, bulges, and even a blowout, especially when the tires are directly exposed to the sun’s UV rays.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can I drive the trailer with dry rotted tires?
The question is not about how far, but how much you are at risk of a blowout when driving with dilapidated tires. So, it is best that if you see the signs of dry rotting, check for its impact and then replace them before taking the trailer out on a long trip.
What’s the best way to tell that trailer tires are dry rotting?
Sidewall cracks is the quickest and most authentic way to find out if the trailer tires have started to rot. This can happen due to the heat, pressure, leaking oils, and chemicals from cleaning agents.
Can I also remove the tires to save them from rotting?
Yes. If you can invest in two pairs of jacks, it is better to take the tire out and store them in a cool and dark place with no exposure to the sun. While storing them inside, you can also use an Aerospace Protectant for better protection.