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Tire side wall cracks

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#1 Springer

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Posted August 14 2012 - 7:41 AM

I have a 97 Jeep Cherokee that I inherited from my brother in law that I use as a dedicated beach truck. I have noticed a significant amount of surface cracking in the tire side walls and have become worried that this might be a safety concern. The tires have very low mileage on them and the tread has very little wear. The truck is only driven short distances with only 10-20% of its driving done above 35 mph. While the tires don't have a lot of miles they were put on the car about 5-7 years ago. Does anyone know what causes this type of cracking and if it is a significant safety concern risking a blowout?



#2 Darth Baiter

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Posted August 14 2012 - 7:58 AM

Google tire dry rot. Two reasons to replace tires: treads gone, tires rotted and cracked from age.

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#3 oBxsurfish

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Posted August 14 2012 - 2:40 PM

Yes sir, you have a case of dry rot. I need to find 2 tires for my Jeep as well because of this.

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#4 firefish540

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Posted August 20 2012 - 7:23 AM

the same thng happened to my xterra and i also had dry rot throughout the treads, the tires where only 2 years old and I called the manufacture and they gave me 60% credit towards new tires. I would change them out not worth the risk.

#5 ourway77

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Posted August 20 2012 - 7:26 AM

Great video never knew one could find the year tire was made. I also need 4 new tires for just this reason age cracks while the tread looks VG the tires do show rot. I am going to replace the tires but want a tire that will be better in the sand than the regular radial tires any suggestions. I wonder what precautions can be taken to try and eliminate this cracking? any treatment that can be applied? I know I cover my trailer tires to avoid sun damage I am wondering if the sun can contribute to this cracking on car tires. I have had one of the tires that show cracking and there is no evidence on the inside of the tire could the cracks be superficial or sort of a cosmetic thing? Lou

#6 inthered

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Posted August 20 2012 - 9:30 AM

UV light can damage tires, but "dry rot" is not due to vaporization of chemicals from the tires, as suggested.  It is actually from air pollution--ozone anyway.  Rubber and synthetic rubber are organic compounds--polymers--essentially long chains of elements to make one molecule. 


For sake of argument and without further explanation, these molecules have three kinds of bonds holding together the individual elements of the molecule (single, double and triple).  The cracks are are not a physical change because of evaporation as stated; but, a chemical change in that double bonds within molecules of tire are broken.


This was just FYI about "dry rot."  (If you really need to know more, do some looking into ozonolysis.)


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#7 xjma

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Posted August 20 2012 - 1:04 PM

If you're not going fast with them then you could get away using them for a while but be cautious, and I would definitely not go fast while aired down as going fast with aired down tires creates more heat and will blow out a sidewall on the road, especially weakened sidewalls!! I would get ready to replace those tires though when you can.

I've heard that that tire shine stuff the people put on to make the sidewalls look all shiny accelerates the dry rotting process of the sidewalls!

#8 M1911

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Posted August 22 2012 - 8:59 AM

As others have said, dry rot. Replace the tires.

#9 Springer

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Posted August 22 2012 - 1:19 PM

Thanks guys. New tires on the way. Don't want to risk it.