Everything You Need to Know to Fix and Avoid Cracked Tires

One way to determine how worn out your tires have become with time and use is to check for cracks in the rubber.

Cracks don’t immediately demand you to change your tires and instead walk the fine line of being a cause of concern and something that you need to deal with immediately.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to fix cracked tires to help you determine which of the mentioned categories you fall into.

Why Do Rubber Tires Develop Cracks?

Every tire you buy comes with a set lifespan before the eventual composition of the rubber tire breaks down entirely. The naturally causes a steady drop in performance before eventually reaching a point where the tires will not be able to function at all.

Dry rot and cracked tires are the first sign of tire decay.

The cracks on your tire could be minor, shallow, and barely visible. These types of cracks aren’t a cause of concern unless you’re worried about how the tires look.

But eventually, the decay will spread along with the cracks. In this case, the tire has become brittle and needs to be reached.

Age, however, is the only factor that can develop cracks on a rubber tire. Exposure to different kinds of chemicals along with abuse and neglect of tires can also accelerate the aging process and lead to cracked tires. 

This includes driving aggressively, skipping tire cleaning, and improper inflation which can all push towards the spread the dry rot and cracks.

Can Cracked Tires Be Repaired?

While the cracks in your tires can be filled using fillers, they cannot be repaired. Once dry rot develops in your tires, its spread can only be slowed down.

How Do You Know That You Have Cracked Tires?

Checking for tire cracks is easy. The following are the four signs you have to cheek in mind while checking for cracked tires.

Dry Rubber

Cracks appear when the outer protective layer of oil and antioxidants wears off with time and use. This can also cause the tire to become dry and brittle. You can run your hand against the rubber to feel this change.

Splits on Sidewalls

Visually checking the sidewalls of your tires is one of the easiest ways to determine how worn out your tires are and whether or not you need to replace them. Any cracks on the sidewall are a clear-cut sign that your tire is breaking down.

Cracks on tire tread

Similar to cracks on the sidewalls, splits can also develop on the outer edge of your tire’s tread. If you see that cracks have started to appear on your tire tread, it is time to replace it immediately.

Tread cracks usually only occur after significant dry rot has already taken spread. 

Faded color

Tires mostly come with a standard jet-black color. With age though, the color of the tire’s rubber begins to fade and turn gray. Faded color can either premeditate dry rot or can happen simultaneously with the spread of cracks.

How To Fix Dry Rot and Cracked Tires?

So how to fix cracked tires? Whether you should fix cracked tires or not depends on how severe the spread of dry rot is.

If the cracks are barely noticeable and shallow, you don’t have to spend excessive money to replace them. Instead, you can follow the steps and apply the mentioned formulas below to fix cracked tires.

1) Using a Sealant

Using a sealant is the ideal way to deal with small cracks. You’ll need the following tools

Step 1: Let Your Tires Cool Down

Applying the sealant is not suitable when tires are hot. Try to avoid driving your car before you fix cracked tires. If you have driven your car though, you need to wait until the tires have completely cooled off.

Step 2: Identify and Remove the Damaged Tires

After inspecting all four of your car’s tires and determining which tire has dry rot, you need to remove it from the car. You can’t expect to properly apply the tire sealant while it’s still attached.

Taking off your tires will also allow you to thoroughly inspect the damage and determine whether it would be better to replace it or not.

Step 3: Prepare the Tire and Apply the Sealant

There are some sealants that you can apply to your tires as it is. Others, however, require you to prepare the tires beforehand. Follow the instructions given on the sealant and apply it to the inner side of the tires.

You’ll have to inject the sealant into the valve stem for it to work as promised.

Step 4: Reinstall Your Tire

Once the sealant has been applied, you can reinstall the tires on your car again.

Depending on which sealant you’re using, you might have to drive the car around for a bit after installation to help the sealant properly fix the cracks.

Don’t forget to check the air pressure of your tire before testing it with a pressure gauge as the sealant might have caused some air to leak during the application process.

2) Using a Protectant

Using a protectant is the ideal way forward to proceed for cracked tires with semi-deep cracks. Using a protectant for fixing cracked tires lets you create a protective layer over the rubber from UV rays and other harmful elements.

Here’s everything you need to apply protectant on your tires.

Step 1: Prepare Your Tires

This step is pretty similar to the one described above for applying the sealant.

This includes keeping your tires cool before applying the tire protectant. You should also carefully examine them for damage and cracks after removing them from your car.

This step is necessary to determine whether you should proceed with either fixing the tire or replacing it.

Step 2: Use the Degreaser

Applying the degreaser is an easy-to-do task. All you need is a large sponge. Try to apply the degreaser on the entire surface and thoroughly focus on the areas with visible cracks. Once you’re done with the degreaser, let your tires dry before proceeding with the next step.

Step 3: Wash the Tires

After your tire has dried, use a clean cloth to wipe it down. Thoroughly wash the tires using a water hose if you have one at hand.

Step 4: Use Tire Protectant

After completing all the steps, you can finally apply the protectant to your tire. Just wait until the tire has dried after the rinse and follow the mentioned instructions written on the protectant to fix tire cracks.

Step 5: Reinstall the Tires

Simply reinstall the tire on your car and you are good to go. You might see signs of dry rot despite using the protectant but don’t have to worry as you can simply repeat the steps and reapply the protectant.

How Can Crack Tires and Dry Rot Be Avoided?

You might be concerned about how bothersome the entire process of dealing with cracked tires is.

Isn’t it better, instead, to simply avoid cracks and dry rot from developing in the first place?

As much as you like, tire cracks are inevitable as your tire ages. The only thing you can do instead is to delay tire cracks by taking extremely good care of your tires.

The first defensive measure you can take is to regularly clean your tires and protect them from natural elements like sunlight and dust.

Don’t leave your car outside without it being covered and don’t neglect to check the air pressure of your tires. Thoroughly inspect your tires often to visually determine signs of dry rot and cracks. 

Is Having Crack Tires Unsafe?

Superficial cracks are not a safety concern.

However, once the cracks have become widespread and have spread to sidewalls or tire tread, it is time to replace the tires.

As cracks indicate that the integral composition of tires has been compromised, deep cracks can affect handling, car control and put your car at serious risk of a tire blowout.

Final Thoughts

Dry rot and cracks are part of the natural lifespan of your tires that will develop eventually with time and use. You can fix cracked tires for appearance’s sake and the spread of dry rot can be slowed down through the use of sealants and tire protectant. 

Not only that, the best way to prevent dry rot is by taking good care of your tires to extend their life.

Regular check-ups and keeping tires protected against UV rays are some of the ways you can care for your tires.


Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

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