Tire dry rotting, also known as sidewall weathering, is when your tire develops cracks on the sidewall with aging, and the rubber compound starts to deteriorate.
What is Dry Rotting?
You may not realize it, but your car’s tires are constantly exposed to factors that can lead them to dry rot. From UV rays and high heat to constant exposure to rain, humidity, and even salt in the winter, your tires are under attack from all angles.
What exactly is dry rot? It’s a common fungus that flourishes in humid environments with little light and almost no airflow. Because of this, you won’t see it growing on any other part of your car except beneath the floor mats, where there isn’t much airflow or direct sunlight.
If left untreated, dry rot will eventually spread throughout your tire and trigger a chain reaction that leads to structural failure. A dry-rotted tire is likely to bear leaks, lose tread wear, and is prone to a blowout.
This article will introduce you to how you can prevent dry rot from your tires so you can drive safely for many more miles to come.
What causes a tire dry rotting?
Sidewall weathering usually occurs when tire rubber compounds, with time, start to deteriorate and break down.
As with other products, there is natural deterioration over time as they get exposed to the external environment, same with tires, with time tires are exposed to high temperature, UV rays, water, and dust, and the rubber compound in tires starts wearing down faster which may lead to tire cracking – a condition some may call “dry Rotting.”
Sidewall weathering / Dry Rotting can be attributed due to these main reasons.
Exposure to Ultra Violet Rays (UV Rays)
The most apparent factor leading to dry rot is the sun’s UV rays, the UV rays coming from the sun can penetrate through your tires. Car tires contain a type of polymer made of synthetic rubber, and they’re damaged by UV rays quite quickly and causing them to oxidize and dry out.
This is especially prevalent in tires that are already old and worn. Drivers of cars with factory-original tires may have no idea that their tires have been prematurely aged by the sun since they were manufactured before the advent of ozone-depleting chemicals.
If you see that your tires aren’t holding air as well as they used to or are generally more brittle and cracked than when you bought them, you may be dealing with the effects of UV damage.
Another factor that will prematurely age your tires and lead to dry rot is high temperatures.
It can happen when driving in a scorching climate, but also if you drive your car on asphalt that’s been excessively heated by the sun.
Tires are made of a compound that’s highly sensitive to high temperatures. If the air inside your tires is hot enough, it can begin to expand and push against the inside of the tire, causing it to leak. For this reason, tires aren’t typically manufactured to withstand temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the asphalt beneath your tires is already hot enough to cause your tires to overheat, then your tires may begin to dry rot.
Prolonged Exposure to Rain and Humidity
When your tires are constantly subjected to rain, they’re exposed to a degree of humidity that’s almost certain to lead to dry rot.
The only way to avoid this is to drive with tires that are designed to be water resistant, like all-season tires. Driving with all-season tires will keep your tires from drying out and losing their structural integrity when they’re constantly wetted by rain.
That said, driving with all-season tires in the winter is not too good because they’re designed to resist water while also keeping out snow and ice. But unfortunately, they aren’t meant to handle the extreme cold that winter driving brings.
If you regularly travel on roads that have been treated with salt, you’re almost certain to expose your tires to salt. All-season tires are water resistant, but they aren’t salt resistant.
So if your tires are regularly exposed to salt, they will become more brittle and prone to cracking and dry rot. Driving with a set of winter tires treated with salt repellant will keep your tires from suffering the effects of salt exposure.
What Does Dry Rot Look Like in a Tire?
How to keep tires from dry rotting
Following are the tips to control dry rotting.
- UV Exposure
- Ozone O3
- Non Usage of Vehicle
- Proper Tire Inflation
- Regular Tire Rotation
1- UV Exposure
UV Rays enter the tires and dry them out, protecting the tires from UV Exposure. For the said purpose, tires can be given a UV protection treatment that will help you prevent UV rays from entering the tire and causing damage.
2- Ozone O3
O3 Molecules are present in our environment called Ozone. Prolonged tires’ exposure to these molecules causes them to react with the tires’ rubber, thus causing them to rot. To protect the tires from this reaction, make sure when the tires are not used, they seal tires in vacuumed plastic bags. Then, when the tires are in use, get the Ozone protection treatment done.
A temperature that is too hot (above 25 Degree Celsius)or too cold (Below 0 Degree Celsius) is terrible for the tires. Also, the sudden temperature changes cause dry rot to speed up. Therefore, storing the tires at a constant optimum temperature while not in use is best. While in use, avoid parking in direct sunlight.
4- Non Usage of Vehicle
The resins and oils in tires require the tire to be in rotation to be activated and working. Therefore, when the vehicle is not in use for a more extended period, the resin and oils are not extracted out to the tire’s surface, and eventually, the tire dries out from the surface, causing it to rot.
5- Proper Tire Inflation:
Usually, we take Tire Air Pressure for granted and fail to maintain the optimum level required for the best performance and durability of the tire also increases car fuel efficiency also prevents the tire from dry rotting, For every tire, there is recommended tire pressure level provided by the manufacturer anything below that level is underinflated and anything above that level is over-inflated, both are dangerous for the tire health cause it to wear unevenly and also contribute to cracks and blowouts.
Every tire has an inimitable load capacity. Beyond the loading capacity reduces the lifetime of the tires and makes them dry rot fast. Crossing the specified loading index mentioned in the tires results in tire dry rotting. it’s recommended not to Overload the car in order to save tires from dry rot.
7- Regular Tire Rotation
The best way to keep your tires from drying out is to rotate them regularly and replace them when they reach their maximum lifespan.
Regular tire rotation will keep your tires evenly worn and minimize the chances that they accumulate uneven wear that leads to dry rot.
It’s recommended to replace any tires that are six years old or older. After this period, tires lose their structural integrity and become more susceptible to dry rot. Therefore, it would be best if you also make sure to install new tires properly so that they don’t dry rot before you get a chance to replace them.
Tires are one of the most critical components of your car, and it’s essential to keep them functioning safely. Unfortunately, tires are also exposed to many harmful factors that can cause them to dry rot and prematurely fail.
Hopefully, by reading through this article, you know how to keep tires from dry rotting. But, more importantly, how to increase their lifespan.