My Tires Look...Cracked!
Tires have a service life and a shelf life. Regardless of the number of miles on a set of tires, it’s generally considered that six years is about the upper limit for the service life on a set of tires.
One of the first signs of aging tires is cracks along the surface of the sidewall. It’s not too hard to understand…tires do a lot of flexing under load, they have to bear the weight of a vehicle and they’re constantly exposed to sunlight, cold, heat, corrosive brake dust, and other stressors. Tires are elastic, after all, and after that much wear and tear, cracks are bound to start showing.
New tire formulations do contain compounds that are designed to prevent cracking, but the biggest culprit is direct sunlight and UV rays. Ozone from nearby electric motors or pumps can also really speed up cracking of tires…and of course, with age they’re just going to show more cracks (also referred to as “weather checking” or “age cracks”).
So, how dangerous is it to have tires with cracks in the sidewalls?
You’ll just need to keep an eye on them. Superficial cracks aren’t really much of a problem, but you’ll want to inspect the tires regularly to see signs of bulges, splits or other obvious problems. It’s also a good idea to keep the tires out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Refrain from using “tire dressings” and other products; they may make tires look great, but they tend to dry them out and strip them of their natural antioxidants. Contact with gasoline and other chemicals can also speed up and aggravate tire cracking. Finally, bear in mind how old your tires are and remember that when they’re closer to that six-year mark, they’re in more danger of failing.
What kind of shape are your tires in? At D.W. Campbell Tire Company in Marietta, GA, we’re proud members of the Goodyear family, with a great selection of tires from Goodyear, Dunlop, and Kelly. If it’s looking like maybe your tires are in need of replacement, make an appointment with us!