What to do if your tires are cracked

Tire Damage: Here are the ones you can (and cannot) fix yourself

During use, tires can get a variety of damages, most of which are the driver’s own fault. As a result, the rubber goes to waste, and since the legislation prohibits using different models of tires on the same axle, you have to spend money to replace the second tire as well.

The most common damage is a puncture. This is the most harmless type of damage, but only if you noticed it in time and repaired it right away. It is strictly forbidden to drive on a flat tire, not even for a few meters! The damage caused by driving on a flat or low pressure tire is catastrophic. This causes the sidewalls to deform more than they should, causing the tire to overheat, delaminate and the carcass to deteriorate due to broken cords. The result is that the tire has to be scrapped. The wheel rim can also be damaged.

Punctures can be of two types: with or without broken cords. To determine this, you must remove what punctured it. If the edges of the puncture converge tightly, the cord is intact and the tire can be repaired without removing it from the rim. Otherwise, if the edges do not converge, you will have to disassemble the wheel and repair with reinforcement of the carcass from the inside. As an option, in the field and in the absence of a spare wheel, such a puncture can be repaired without removing the tire from the disc, and then carefully drive to a tire shop or garage and make a complete repair.

When repairing you should clean the puncture site and mark it. Then it all depends on what kind of repair kit you have – they usually come with instructions. There are sealants that are poured into the tire through the nipple, after which the wheel is turned puncture down and the substance seals the hole. Repair with a harness or insert is a bit more complicated, but also more durable: the edges of the hole are ground with a special tool, and then the harness treated with a special composition must be entered into the tire through the puncture with a special awl, pulled out (not all the way out) and cut flush with the surface.

If the cords of a puncture are damaged, the tire must be removed from the rim in order to reinforce the inner tire surface with a patch of additional cords. One side of these patches has an adhesive layer that promotes cold vulcanization. After such a repair, the wheel will need to be balanced. Mushroom-shaped patches are also used to seal punctures from the inside, with a stem that winds into the puncture. These patches are also coated with a special adhesive for cold vulcanization.

Cuts or punctures, unlike punctures, are not repairable because they compromise the integrity of the structure, which cannot be reinforced. Moreover, punctures are always sudden and on the move: the tire suddenly loses pressure and before the complete stop of the car has time to make several revolutions on the rims, which breaks the cords and destroys the layers. Using such a weakened tire, even if it was possible to fix and reinforce the place of a tear or cut, is not recommended in the future.

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Incorrect storage of tires can cause them to crack. The danger of such damage is that moisture enters the cords through the cracks and causes the carcasses to fail. In addition, air can escape through the cracks. Unfortunately they are not repairable and will not last as long as you would expect. Sooner or later the tire will become warped, cracked or blistered from corrosion and torn cords or from driving under recommended pressure.

Blows or hernias can appear on a tire for a variety of reasons – it is always caused by a break in the cords or a split in the carcass. In the first case, the tyre has been run over and the impact has severed the cords or the cords have been cut with a sharp object. In the second case, the hernia is not damaged or nearby, which means that it is either a result of a production fault, or a consequence of frequent driving with a pressure lower than recommended. The danger of hernias is that they may explode at any moment and provoke a skid, which would lead to an accident. If there is nothing to replace the tire with a hernia, it is better to move it to the rear axle and drive very carefully. Like cracks, a hernia cannot be repaired. Sometimes small swellings resulting from bumps or cuts are reinforced with reinforced patches, but there is no guarantee that the tire won’t blow out. That’s why it’s recommended that tires with hernias be replaced immediately.

The sides of the tire may be damaged as a result of rubbing against curbs or the edge of the asphalt when pulling off on the curb. If you are prone to this kind of driving, it is recommended to inspect the inner and outer sidewalls from time to time and, if abrasion is detected, to change wheels so as not to expose the cords – the thickness of rubber on sidewalls is small (1.5-3 mm), and it can be rubbed down to the carcass very quickly.

It is not uncommon for poor-quality tire service to be the cause of tire damage, in the course of which the bead ring was damaged. In this case, the tire loses its geometry and “sits” on the disc crooked – makes a “figure of eight” when rotating, and during the ride there is a transverse vibration. It is impossible to repair such a tire – you need to replace it as soon as possible with a good tire, before it damages suspension: rods, hubs and bearings.

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It is possible to find out, whether you use the tires correctly and what kind of invisible damage they have received, by characteristic tread wear, varieties of which are collected in the table for convenience:

Tread wear

Repair, repair

Unilateral wear in the shoulder area

Tread wear on one side indicates incorrect wheel alignment (camber), or frequent maneuvers at high speeds.

Check the camber or change your driving style to a more relaxed one.

Bilateral wear in the shoulder areas

Driving with tire air pressure lower than recommended.

Inflate the tire to the tire manufacturer’s recommended pressure (the table with recommendations is fixed in the driver’s door opening) and find the reason of the fall: puncture, crack, hernia, nipple, rust on the disk rim in the place of contact of the tire, etc.

Wear in the center of the tyre.

the tire pressure is too high.

The tire pressure is too high. Reduce pressure to the recommended pressure (see decal in driver’s door opening).

Wear in the form of rings and grooves.

May occur on trailers or rear wheels of pickup trucks and vans due to vibration and bouncing at high speeds.

Shifting wheels on a loaded axle to even out wear, driving with a heavier load.

Scuffed wear with cuts

Frequent wheel slippage on stony surface.

Shift the wheels to a non-driven axle, work more carefully with the accelerator pedal when you start driving.

Why tires crack and what to do in such a situation

Car tires are designed for a certain service life. But under the influence of various factors, this period may be markedly reduced. This is mainly due to the quality of the tires, the conditions of their use, as well as compliance with the rules of seasonal storage.

Cracked tires

Quite often motorists are faced with the problem of the appearance of cracks on the rubber. Such a phenomenon has its own reasons. But most of all drivers are interested in the question of what to do with cracked tires and whether it is possible to continue to operate them.

In order to make the right decision, it is necessary to understand the causes of cracks, their varieties and the degree of danger.

Why cracks appear

Every motorist must know why his car tires suddenly crack and what leads to the occurrence of such a situation.

There are several potential causes. They can manifest singly or act as an amalgamation of several factors at the same time.

  1. Poor quality tires. One of the main reasons why the car often cracks even the new tires. Therefore, motorists are advised not to save on rubber, and to buy kits from proven places. The date of manufacture plays an important role. It is not recommended to buy stale tires. They are unlikely to withstand the whole declared service life.
  2. Age. Also, tires can crack due to natural causes in the form of aging. This applies not only to the storage of new tires, but also to the long-term use of rubber. The influence of such factors as snow, rain and extreme heat contribute to the destruction of the rubber structure, and the corresponding marks appear on its surfaces.
  3. Violation of storage rules. There are certain recommendations and regulations according to which seasonal tires should be stored. Removing one set and installing the second one on the car, winter or summer tires should be properly stowed, provide them with appropriate conditions for long-term storage.
  4. Failure to comply with the rules of operation. The most trivial example is the use of summer tires in the winter and winter tires in the summer. Tires are designed to operate at certain temperatures. If this rule is violated, the rubber is actively destroyed.
  5. Improper installation. The phenomenon is rare, but it cannot be excluded. During installation, the tire cord can stretch or even tear. Therefore, to change the shoes on your car, it is better to choose proven tire fitting services.
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Using summer tires in winter time

As you can see, there is nothing supernatural here. The reasons are quite trivial and obvious. But even this does not solve the problem of cracking. Many motorists stubbornly continue to violate all the rules and recommendations. Hence, the corresponding consequences.

Types of cracks

The cracks themselves on car rubber can appear directly in the area of the tread, or laterally. It is the lateral cracking that is most often referred to.

Before deciding how to proceed, it is necessary to determine what type of lateral cracks on the tires the motorist encountered. They are divided into 2 categories.

  • Shallow. Usually their depth does not exceed 1-2 mm. They are divided into cohesive and single cracks. Cohesive cracks form entire paths along the wheel. With such deformations, it is important to strictly limit the operating conditions of the car. Driving is possible, but not desirable.
  • Large. Or deep. They differ in their size, sometimes provoking delamination, and in depth reach the cord. With such damage, further operation is strictly prohibited.

It is important to answer the question of whether you can continue to drive the car if the tire has a crack on the side.

A side cut on a tire

How Dangerous Is It?

To understand whether you can continue to drive the car, if the side of the tire cracks appeared, it is necessary to start from the specific circumstances.

To begin with, you should consider how serious this damage is. With minor and shallow defects, operation is allowed.

Even with minor cracks to ride on such wheels is allowed within the city and at low speeds.

To go beyond city limits, to move on highways and develop speed over 60-80 km/h is strongly not recommended. It can lead to further propagation of cracks with their subsequent bursting at speed. This will already entail loss of control with all the dangerous consequences that follow.

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If the cracks are small, then there are severe restrictions on subsequent operation:

  • only smooth and careful manoeuvres;
  • do not start off abruptly;
  • avoid sudden braking;
  • do not allow stalling on the spot;
  • exclude any variant of aggressive driving;
  • Speed limit to 80 kilometers per hour.

Slipping of a passenger car

All this allows you to drive on the old tires for some time, until the first opportunity to replace them appears.

Operation is allowed with strict restrictions only in case of side cracks. If the tread is damaged, even a small defect precludes further driving.

Since the tread is damaged, the crack will actively diverge and increase in size on subsequent rides. Even provided that the motorist drives extremely carefully, does not exceed the speed of more than 60 km/h and turns smoothly.

As for whether you can continue to drive on the rubber, if more serious cracks appeared. About deep cracks we can say unambiguously. Operation is prohibited. It is too dangerous even to get to the nearest service station or tire fitting shop.

Deep damage can lead to breakage of cords, and suddenly, at low speed. As a result, the tire will literally fall apart on the move. Trying to accelerate, you can’t rule out an explosion. It is not difficult to guess about consequences.

Can the tires be repaired?

Particularly thrifty drivers, who are trying to save every penny and do not spend extra money on their car, wonder if the tires can be repaired when they are cracked.

The answer to this question again depends on the specific circumstances.

There are masters who are ready to do everything the client will ask for money. At the same time they are silent about the consequences to which this kind of repair can lead.

It is necessary to figure out how to act in such a situation and what you can treat your tires so that they will not crack further. On this subject, it is worth giving a few recommendations.

  • It is almost impossible to remove deep damage. Yes, cosmetically removing the defects is realistic. But since the cracks are deep enough, can reach up to the cord, no adequate technician will undertake such work. He will not take responsibility for what will happen to the car and its driver, if he will drive on restored tires again.
  • If the damage is minor, then repairs are allowed. To remove the cracks, you will need to go to a tire shop. Here, using a special machine, the defects will be fixed by melting the rubber. But no one will give guarantees on the long-term operation after such a restoration. So here everything is completely under your responsibility and at your own discretion.
  • When it comes to small cracks and cobwebs, which have not yet had time to break the structure of the rubber itself, you should use special compounds. This is a liquid or silicone-based spray. They are positioned as a means to slow down the aging of rubber. Work pretty well. But it is better to apply them even before the appearance of the first cracks, purely for prevention and extension of service life of a set of rubber.
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Silicone tire grease

The most correct decision in such a situation, when the rubber has already been used for a long enough time, and it appears in the form of defects, will be a complete replacement of the entire set.

Preventive measures

Motorists legitimately do not want to repeat such situations. Cracks really create problems, require additional financial expenses. And replacing a wheel every season is unlikely to be something someone willingly wants to do. Quality tires are not cheap.

In order to avoid such problems, it is necessary to adhere to the elementary rules of operation, as well as to deal with the prevention of rubber.

This involves following a few simple recommendations:

  • Initially, try to buy good quality rubber. The better it is, the longer and more effective it will last. Good tires provide confident cornering, firmly hold the grip, are not characterized by problems such as cracking.
  • Reject the idea of using rubber that is not appropriate for the current season. Conditional all-season tires are not really effective enough in winter and summer. That is why it is better to have two sets and change them according to the regulations and the current weather conditions.
  • Do not forget about preventive measures. It concerns the timely washing of the rubber, application of special means for wheel care. Very often cracks appear because of the contact of rubber with aggressive chemicals, which are constantly scattered on the roads in winter. Therefore, at the end of the trip you can elementary knock down the accumulated snow with reagents, or at least once a week to wash the wheels with plain clean water. The more often you can do this, the better.
  • Use auto chemicals. This isn’t really a requirement, but just one option for extending the life of your wheels. Silicone lubricants against aging have proven to be effective in practice.
  • Follow the rules of operation, keep a calm driving style. Still, the main cause of tire wear and cracking is sitting behind the wheel of the car.

And remember that there is no way to avoid cracks that appear as a result of natural aging. This is a signal that the life of the tires is coming to an end and it’s time to buy a new set.

Small cracks, if you don’t pay attention to them, will soon turn into deep ones. So, try to always keep an eye on the condition of your wheels. It will help to avoid serious problems.

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