tires cracking between treads

Cracked tires are one of the important issue that can be observed even in low mileage or new tires.

It was my brand new Suzuki Swift 2023 Model, and I just drove it only 13000 miles on speedometer reading, I noticed a hairline crack on the rear left tire.  As soon as I deeply inspected it, I found very visible cracks between the treads. I took the vehicle to the tire showroom to check the depth of cracks and severity. The tire shop mechanic advised me to immediately replace the tires as cracked tires could lead to risk of accident while driving due to tire bursting anytime.

As I discussed with the tire shop expert, he explained to me that Tire cracking between treads, often referred to as sidewall cracking or dry rot, can have several potential causes. 

How to Check Cracked Tires?

Inspecting Suzuki swift tires for tires cracking

Tires Angle

As i observed tire expert how he was checking the tire cracks, i am listing here my learning as i saw him following these steps:

  1. Find Adequate Lighting: First of all park your vehicle in a well-lit area, preferably in natural daylight or under bright artificial lighting. Sufficient lighting will help you see the tire surface clearly.
  1. Inspect the Sidewalls: Start by examining the sidewalls of each tire. Look for any visible cracks or lines running along the rubber surface. Pay close attention to the area between the tread blocks and the sidewall, as cracks often develop in this region.
  1. Check the Tread Area: Move on to inspect the tread area. Look for any cracks that may be present between the tread blocks or running across the surface of the tread. Again, focus on both the center and shoulder regions of the tread.
  1. Examine the Depth: Check the depth of the cracks. Superficial, shallow cracks may not be as concerning as deep or extensive ones. Evaluate the severity and length of the cracks to assess the overall condition of the tire.
  1. Look for Bulges or Blisters: In addition to cracks, keep an eye out for bulges or blisters on the tire surface. These abnormalities can indicate potential tire damage or internal structural issues. Learn more about tire bulging. Check out detail article on tires bulging.
  1. Repeat for Each Tire: Perform the same inspection process for each tire on your vehicle. Remember to check the spare tire as well, even if it is not currently in use.

What tools do experts use to check tire cracks?

cracki on sidewall
cracks on sidewall

Checking cracked tires doesn’t require any specialized tools. You can perform a visual inspection using the following tools:

  1. Flashlight: A flashlight can help provide additional illumination when inspecting your tires, especially in dimly lit areas or when examining the sidewalls and tread patterns more closely.
  1. Tire Pressure Gauge: While not directly related to checking for cracks, having a tire pressure gauge on hand is useful for ensuring your tires are properly inflated. Maintaining proper tire pressure helps prevent excessive stress on the tires, which can contribute to cracking.

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  1. Magnifying Glass: In some cases, using a magnifying glass can help you examine small cracks or fine details more closely. It can be particularly helpful when inspecting shallow or hairline cracks that may be harder to spot with the naked eye.

Remember, the primary tool for checking tire cracks is your eyesight. A visual inspection is usually sufficient to identify cracks, bulges, or other tire abnormalities. If you notice any significant issues or have concerns about your tire condition, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a qualified tire professional for a more thorough assessment.

Is this dangerous to drive with cracked tires?

Driving with cracking tires can be dangerous, as it compromises the structural integrity of the tire and increases the risk of tire failure. Here’s why it is risky:

  1. Reduced Traction: Cracks in the tire tread or sidewall can diminish the tire’s ability to maintain proper traction on the road. This can result in loss of grip, especially in wet or slippery conditions, increasing the likelihood of skidding or loss of control.
  1. Blowouts: Tire cracking can weaken the tire structure, making it more susceptible to sudden tire failure, such as a blowout. A blowout can cause a loss of control, leading to a potentially dangerous situation, especially at high speeds or on busy roads.
  1. Reduced Load-bearing Capacity: Cracks in the tire sidewall weaken its ability to bear the vehicle’s weight. Over time, the cracks may worsen, and the tire could fail under normal driving conditions or when carrying a heavy load.
  1. Increased Risk of Flat Tires: Cracks in the tire tread or tires sidewall can create weak points where objects like nails or sharp debris can penetrate the tire more easily, leading to punctures and flat tires.
  1. Unpredictable Tire Behavior: Cracked tires may exhibit unusual behavior while driving, such as vibrations, wobbling, or uneven wear. These issues can affect the overall stability and handling of the vehicle, making it more challenging to maintain control.

For these reasons, it is strongly recommended not to drive on tires with significant cracking.Regular tire maintenance and inspections are crucial for identifying potential issues early and ensuring your safety on the road.

8 causes of tires cracking between treads?

Tire cracks between treads
tire cracks between treads

Here are some common factors that can contribute to tire cracking between treads:

  1. Age: As tires age, they naturally degrade and become more susceptible to cracking. Exposure to sunlight, heat, and harsh weather conditions can accelerate this process.
  1. UV Exposure: Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight can cause the rubber compounds in tires to break down, leading to cracking.
  1. Improper Storage: Storing tires in areas with excessive heat, direct sunlight, or high ozone levels can accelerate the deterioration process and increase the likelihood of cracking.
  1. Overinflation or Underinflation: Maintaining incorrect tire pressure can cause excessive flexing and stress on the car tires sidewalls, and may also lead to cracking.
  1. Low Mileage: if you keep your cars parked for long periods, then it can develop cracks due to prolonged inactivity and lack of regular flexing.
  1. Chemical Exposure: if you keep exposing tires to certain chemicals, such as petroleum-based substances or cleaning agents containing solvents, can deteriorate the rubber compounds and cause tires cracking.
  1. Poor Maintenance: if you like to save your extra unwanted expenses then never neglect proper tire maintenance, such as failing to clean and condition the tires regularly, that can contribute to propagation cracking on tires over time.
  1. Tire Quality: if you brought lower-quality tires or tires that were not manufactured to high quality standards then it may be more prone to cracking anywhere on tires. .

Sometimes the tire cracking can also be an indication of a more severe issue, such as structural damage or an underlying manufacturing defect.

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Summary

Never compromised on your safety by keep driving on cracked tires and keep inspecting your car tires for any damage over time. Cracked tires can be dangerous for your life safety as it may blow out any time.

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