Chunk Of Tire Sidewall Missing: How Big of Deal is it

Tires can get damaged often and easily. 

Tire punctures, misalignment, or even cracks are all common enough problems that you can expect to see but what if your tire is missing a chunk of its sidewall?

Here’s everything you need to know about the chip on your tire’s sidewall.

How Thick Is a Tire Sidewall?

Tire sidewalls are usually different in thickness from one area to the other. The thinnest part is usually the middle to the upper area.

Most sidewalls are around 6 to 15 mm thick. There’s an easy way through which you can tell the thickness of the tire sidewall. 

Each tire comes with a two-digit number after the slash mark which informs the tire’s width in terms of its height.

Can The Sidewall Be Damaged? And How Much Damage Is Acceptable?

Your tire’s sidewall can easily be damaged if you were in an accident or if you drove too close to the road’s curb. 

Sharpe rocks and sticks can also end up damaging the sidewall. 

New tires can be costly to purchase, it’s why most drivers tend to ignore small damages to their tires and opt for repairing them.

But tire sidewall damage is usually dangerous to ignore. That’s why most drivers follow a rule of thumb regarding sidewall damage. 

If you can see the threads, then it’s time to replace the tires.

Other than that, if you see an air bubble at the tire’s sidewall then you’ll have to immediately replace it. 

An air bubble can burst at any given moment, and you’ll end up with a tire blown out. 

Causes For a Small Chunk of Tire Sidewall Missing?

There can be numerous reasons why a tire sidewall is missing a small piece. 

You could have ended up hitting a sharp rock while driving on the road, or you might have driven over various elements while driving off the road. 

Accidents, whether small or large, can also result in potentially damaging your tire’s sidewalls.

The following are some common ways your tire’s sidewall might be missing a small piece


One common way that you can end up damaging your tire’s sidewalls is by driving your car off the road. 

Doing so puts immense pressure on your tire and can lead to premature wear and tear. 

Eventually, the damage will leave the tire vulnerable and can cause it to come apart easily.

Hitting A Curb

Even an experienced driver can sometimes underestimate the distance between a curb and their car while driving. 

It’s possible that you either drove too close to a curb or ended up hitting it. 

This can be a plausible reason as to why your tire’s sidewall might be missing a piece.

Driving Too Fast

Most cars come with a recommended speed limit. 

If you make a habit of driving faster than the recommended speed, your tire ends up facing the brunt of the pressure and stress. 

Eventually, this pressure cumulates in damaging your tire’s sidewalls.

Other Reasons

There are a plethora of things that could go wrong which might result in your tire missing a chunk of its sidewalls. 

This includes and is not limited to improper installation, manufacturing details, age, etc.

Can You Drive a Car on Tires with A Damaged Sidewall?

A tire sidewall is the most sensitive component of a tire. 

Even more so than the tread area. 

If the sidewall is extensively damaged, the whole integral structure of a tire has been compromised. 

Driving around with a damaged sidewall will put you at risk of a tire blowout which in turn can result in a major accident.

If the damage is shallow, however, you don’t have to worry about grave consequences similar to the ones mentioned above.  

You’ll still have to consistently monitor the damage, and will have to replace the tire eventually.

Is It Safe to Drive on A Tire with A Chunk Missing?

The answer to this question depends on the severity of the damage. 

If you’re missing only a small tiny piece of the tire’s sidewall, you can drive your car safely without worrying about possible slips or accidents.

You can even use repair kits from your local auto repair shop to fix the tire. 

Even if the tire sidewall damage is minimal, the best course of action you can do is to take your car for service.

However, if your tire is missing a large chunk of the sidewall, it’s better to be safe than sorry. In this case, you’ll have to immediately replace the tire.

What Will Happen If You Don’t Fix the Missing Chunk?

As mentioned before, the sidewalls of a tire are extremely sensitive. 

Even shallow damage can eventually spread and compromise the integral structure of the tire.

Similarly, if you don’t fix the missing chunk, more pieces will start to fall off until your tire becomes too damaged to be used. 

You’ll also be leaving yourself vulnerable to tire blowouts and accidents.

How Can You Fix a Sidewall with A Missing Chunk?

As mentioned before, you’ll first need to get an expert’s opinion on whether the tire should be replaced or fixed.

Once the specialist gives his opinion, you can proceed with trying to find options to repair the tire. 

You can try finding the missing rubber pieces in your garage or your driveway. If you’re lucky, you might find it lying around somewhere nearby. 

You can glue the piece back together.

It might not be a flawlessly done job, but for a shallow cut or missing piece, it might be enough.

You can also look into other possible solutions and use the following repair kits.

GlueTread All-in-One Deluxe Kit

GlueTread All-in-One Deluxe Kit

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GlueTread Sidewall Repair Kit

GlueTread Sidewall Repair Kit

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GlueTread 4×4 Sidewall Repair Kit

GlueTread 4x4 Sidewall Repair Kit

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Wokape 70Pcs Tire Patch Kit

Wokape 70Pcs Tire Patch Kit Heavy Duty

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Why Should You Use Repair Kits?

These repair kits are a favorite among drivers. 

The kit can help you extend your tire’s life and lets you deal with minor cuts, shallow scratches, and more.

The kits come with strong patches that can be glued to the troubled area of the tire. 

These patches are easy to apply and are a cost-effective way of repairing small damages to your tires by yourself. 

You can also utilize a tire plug instead of a tire patch.

A tire plug is inserted in the hole and it seals itself inside the tire. 

Both the tire patch and the tire plug are efficient solutions to have at hand.

Why Should You Use a Tire Plug?

Both tire plugs and tire patches are used to repair minor but different kinds of damage to tires. 

If you end up driving over a nail or any other sharp and blunt object that has your tire leaking air, the best way you can repair your tire is by inserting a tire plug in the hole.

Tire plugs are extremely easy and cheap to use and administer.

Not only do the plugs fill the hole, but they also end up vulcanizing the tire as well. 

But what exactly is a tire plug? It’s a malleable and long piece of rubber that is inserted from outside the tire. 

Once inside, it expands and traps the air in the tire to prevent it from escaping.

What’s The Difference Between a Tire Plug and A Tire Patch?

A tire patch is a flat piece of rubber that can be glued or sealed on the damaged area of the tire.

A tire patch which includes the patch being applied from the inside of the tire and then sealed is considered to be a better repair compared to a tire plug.

The process isn’t as fast as the installation of a tire plug. It also requires a lot more work. 

But while a tire plug is ideal for fixing punctures, your best bet is to use the tire patch to fix damages to the sidewall.

Should You Fix or Replace a Tire with A Small Chunk of The Sidewall Missing?

It’s important to remember that regardless of how small the damage is, you need to immediately take steps to address it. 

Even minor damage to the tire can end up having disastrous consequences and can result in harmful accidents which might put the life of the driver and the passengers at risk.

The damage to your tire sidewall needs to be addressed and a specialist should determine what you should work towards fixing the damage or replacing the tire. 

If the damage to the sidewall is too extensive, it’s far better for you to ignore the dent in your wallet and replace the tire immediately.

Moreover, even if you can fix the damage, you’ll eventually have to end up replacing the tire. 

Small missing chunks are not dangerous on their own, but the damage can eventually spread and comprise the tire entirely.

How To Avoid Sidewall Damage

While you can’t avoid driving on a sharp object or something similar, you can still include the following tips to maintain your vehicle.

  • Checking the tire pressure monthly
  • Ensure that you don’t put additional load on the tire
  • Drive within the recommended speed
  • Take your car for service monthly

Final Thoughts

Damage to your tire’s sidewall can be dangerous and unexpected. 

There are a lot of reasons why your tire might be missing a small piece of it. Whether you should replace or fix the tire depends on how extensive the damage is

If the damage is minor, you can utilize tire repair kits to fix it.


Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

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