When are Cracks in Tire Tread Too Unsafe?
Tire cracks tend to appear on either the sidewall or within the tread surface of a tire and knowing when to let them go is a key aspect when it comes to safety. No matter how good the tires may be, they are simply not made to last forever.
When Are Tire Tread Cracks Unsafe?
If your tires are lined with miniature cracks on the tread surface you are safe and there is no need to worry. However, if those cracks are larger and if they span across the entire length of the tire, you should replace the tire immediately.
Most tire cracks start on the tire sidewall surface and they slowly move their way across the tire and into the tread surface. Large sidewall tire cracks are indeed more worrying as they tend to degrade the tire at a faster pace. All in all, be sure to have a professional inspect your tires, and don’t be hesitant to invest in a new set of tires if that is indeed necessary.
Why Are My Tires Cracking?
- You are using seasonal tires all year long
- Heat, UV light, and humidity
- Air pressure
- Low-quality tire shine
You Are Using Seasonal Tires All Year Long
One of the most common reasons why tire cracks form is because many people tend to use seasonal tires yearlong. Summer tires are made out of harder compounds that only do their job if the ambient temperatures are high enough. If the temperature falls below 44 F on average, summer tires are likely going to seize up.
This tends to lead to tire cracking on both the sidewall and on the tread. It’s the very same story with winter tires during the summer as they are not designed to withstand increased temperatures.
Heat, UV Light, And Humidity
Oscillating temperatures cause tire expansion and contraction which ultimately leads to premature cracking. This is mostly relevant for those who tend to store their tires in less than ideal environments that experience vast temperature changes. UV light is also something your tires should not be exposed to if that is not necessary.
Be sure to park your car inside a garage or in a shade if possible. If your tires already suffer from tiny cracks, water is likely going to penetrate those cracks and accelerate the process of cracking even further.
If you underinflate your tires, they are going to generate a lot more heat and thus will expand and contract which ultimately leads to premature cracking. This can be easily avoided if you simply air your tires properly.
On the other hand, if you overinflate your tires, you will stretch the inner compounds of a tire which can not only cause cracking but can also cause tire bulging or even a blowout. It’s also worth mentioning that most tires require a different PSI rating during the winter and summer periods.
Low-Quality Tire Shine
A high-quality tire shine product that is approved for automotive use is not going to cause tire cracking. However, there are many tire shining products out there that are way too aggressive and tend to dry out your tires.
Some of these are aquaphobic which means that they are going to make your tires feel like a desert and thus cause cracking.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, tires are not made to last forever. Even if you take optimal care of your tires, they are only able to last a certain amount of time. Therefore, if you are using older tires and you see them develop cracks on either the tread or the sidewall, be sure to replace them immediately.
Older tires are structurally compromised due to their age and if you pair that with cracking, you are more likely going to experience a blowout.
Can Cracked Tires Be Repaired?
Tire cracks can indeed be repaired to look nicer, but they can not be repaired structurally. The only way how one can repair a tire is to either plug it or patch it, but there is no way how one can make the tire younger or more effective, no matter what anyone else says.
How Can I Prevent Tire Cracking?
If your tires are severely cracked, be sure to replace them immediately and get yourself a set of fresh rubber. Now it’s time to make sure that this does not happen again by following a few simple steps on how to make your tires crack-proof for the longest.
First of all, don’t let your car tires bake in the soon if that is not necessary, and the reason why is listed above. Second of which, be sure not to use any aggressive and aquaphobic tire shining products or tire detailing products as these can prematurely retire your tires.
Don’t overload your tires and try to keep them at an optimum tire pressure at all times. Finally, be sure to invest in automotive-grade well-tested tire conditioning products that are not only going to make your tires look better, but also perform better, and last longer.
Are New Tires Prone To Cracking?
A new set of tires is unlikely going to form cracks because these are usually being formed over time. However, there were a few instances where people complained that their brand new tires suddenly started cracking, only a few months after purchase.
This can indicate one of two things. The first one is that the tires have been shelved for a while and thus you should always look for the tire manufacturing code on the tire while purchasing them.
Secondly, it may be due to a manufacturing defect. The good thing is that most tire manufacturers offer a few years’ worth of warranty, so be sure to contact your seller for further information.
Tire cracks tend to form on either the tread surface or on the sidewall of the tire. The severity of those cracks and where they are located are likely going to decide if you need a new set of tires immediately. That being said, if the cracks are superficial and tiny, there is nothing to worry about.
On the other hand, if the cracks are large, long or there are many of them, it’s time to replace the tires immediately. Cracks on the sidewall are also a bit more worrying than those located on the tread as the sidewall carries a more important structural role.
didn’t they have a warrantee? those are like 80% unworn. i have had two sets of goodyear wranglers that are cracked badly. i am afraid to go over 40!
thanks for the video! i am calling goodyear tomorrow. john
Excellent video! Your discussion and video of the circumferential cracks in the tread grooves was eye opening. Your cross section through the cracks to show how the crack depth went all the way to the steel belts was very insightful, and your point about corrosion of the now exposed steel belts was the best!
Great video. . just noticed cracking near the rim of just 2 tires on once side of the car, also Yokohama. I keep this car outside and the sun does heat this side of the car more than the other. I am just going to replace them. Purchased in 2016, but not much mileage on them. The other 2 look just fine.
Thanks for this informative video. It is not worth taking any chances and this video really showed me why.
Thank you for the great video! I have a 2018 Ford F150 with 33k miles. The Goodyear Wrangler Fortitude HT tires are severely cracked in the tread. I am looking for a good tire, not sure what to buy. I would have thought that the tires would have lasted longer. Again your video with the tires cut in half was an eye opener!
Fantastic video! I was on the fence about installing our snow tires, with decent tread depth remaining, on my daughter’s car for another winter (cracks between treads). But not any more!!! The sections you cut through your tires that showed the cracks relative to steel belts was shockingly enlightening. This might just have saved us a very unpleasant unforeseen catastrophe. Thanks!
Thanks for the Video! It confirmed my thoughts on my tires, I just changed 4 Geolanders just like yours, two with tons of tread & two with plenty left, all with the exact cracking that yours had. I will also add that I think that these tires gave nearly 0 traction in the snow. Had to put my near mint 96′ Pathfinder in 4WD to move it at all in 1″ of snow in my flat driveway. Thanks again & Take care!