How To Check for Tire Cracks and What To Do if You Find Them

You know how unsettling it can be if you’ve ever driven and experienced the jolting sensation of hitting a pothole or having rocks scrape across your tires. Not only is this dangerous for your spine, but it can also be risky for your tires.

Even though cracks in the sidewalls of your tires might not appear like a huge concern at first glance, they can pose significant dangers. Because of this, it is necessary to check for cracks between the treads of your tires regularly and to take appropriate action if you discover any. But how would you do so? Keep reading to find out.

What Are the Signs of a Cracked Tire?

Tires are susceptible to developing a variety of cracks, but the fractures that emerge in the tread in the spaces between the grooves are the ones that require the most attention. These cracks, also known as “tread cracking,” are caused by the tire’s contact with the ground over time.

To check your tires for signs of cracking, start by inspecting the tread area and see if the following signs are present:

  • Thin cracks, bulges, or bubbles on the sidewall: These can be caused by wear and tear or can be a sign of an older tire that has been exposed to heat for too long. They are the most common signs of a cracked tire and can be dangerous if left unchecked.
  • Tire pressure is low: If your tire pressure is lower than usual, it could indicate that an inner crack has caused a slow leak. Even if you don’t see any outward signs of tire cracking, if the pressure is low, it’s worth checking your tires.
  • Unusual vibrations: Excessive bouncing or vibrations when you drive can be a sign that your tires are not balanced correctly or that there is an inner crack causing the tread to expand and contract unevenly.
  • Tread depth is too low: Every tire has a minimum tread depth to ensure proper traction, and if it starts to wear down prematurely, it could be a sign of a cracked tire.

On top of all these signs, the age of your tires can also be an indicator that it’s time for a replacement. Generally, tires should last up to six years, though this varies depending on the brand, quality, and how frequently they are used. This is why it’s always a good idea to have your tires checked at least once a year by a professional to make sure they are still in good condition. By inspecting your tires regularly and keeping an eye out for any of these signs, you can spot tire cracking before it becomes a serious safety risk.

What Kind of Damage Can Tire Cracks Cause?

Damaged tires can cause a variety of problems. In addition to making it difficult to maintain control of the vehicle, they can lead to different types of damage, including:

Blowouts

If a cracked tire is bad enough, it can lead to the tread separating from the tire’s body, resulting in a blowout. When a tire blows out, it can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, leading to an accident. Tire blowouts are most likely to occur when the tires are driven on for too long without being replaced or repaired.

Poor Handling

Another problem that tire cracks can cause is poor handling. When the tires are in poor condition, they may not grip the road properly, leading to sliding and skidding when cornering or braking. Not only is this dangerous, but it can also damage the tires themselves, as the friction created by sliding can cause more wear and tear. This can also be risky in inclement weather conditions, such as rain or snow that’s been on the road for a while.

Increased Fuel Consumption

Cracked tires that are not properly repaired can also lead to increased fuel consumption, as the uneven tread can cause more friction when the car moves. Also, they will not roll smoothly since it causes the engine to work harder and use more fuel. This prevents the vehicle from achieving maximum efficiency, resulting in higher fuel costs.

Cause Premature Tire Failure

Tire cracks can also cause premature wear and tear on the tires themselves. This means that they will need to be replaced more often, which can be expensive over time. It can also lead to increased wear and tear on other parts of the vehicle, such as the suspension and brakes, which have to work harder to compensate for the poor performance of the tires.

With all these damages in mind, you must regularly inspect your tires and get them replaced or repaired as soon as you notice any signs of cracking. While tire cracks may seem like a minor issue, they can lead to serious problems and even accidents if left unchecked.

What Can Cause a Tire to Break?

While tire cracking is a common problem, several things can cause it, so it’s important to be aware of them. Some of the main causes include:

  • Over-inflation: If a tire is overinflated, it will cause the tire to expand and contract more than normal. This can lead to cracking on the sidewall or between the treads.
  • Under-inflation: Under-inflated Tires can also be vulnerable to cracking, as the tread will wear down unevenly, causing cracks to form.
  • Improper storage: If tires are stored incorrectly, they can be damaged by heat or cold, which can cause cracking.
  • Excessive usage of tires: If you’re using seasonal tires all year long, they will wear down more quickly and be more likely to crack. So, it is important to use the right kind of tire specifically designed for the summer or winter season.
  • Age: Older tires are more likely to crack, as they will have been exposed to more wear and tear over time. It is important to regularly inspect your tires, even if they look perfectly fine.
  • Using low-quality, tire-shining products: Using poor-quality, tire-shining products can cause a build-up of residue that can lead to cracks in the rubber.

What To Do if You Find a Crack in Your Tire?

Having the right knowledge of tire cracking is important, but if you find a crack in one of your tires, it’s important to get it fixed as soon as possible. You can repair the crack with an appropriate patch or sealant if the crack is small. However, if the crack is larger or more serious, you should take it to a professional who can inspect and repair it correctly.

A professional can also check the other tires on your vehicle to ensure they are in good condition and don’t have any hidden cracks. This is a crucial step, as it can help you prevent further damage and remain safe on the road.

Always remember that cracked tires are not something to be taken lightly. Ignoring them can lead to serious safety issues and costly repairs, so make sure you take the necessary steps to protect your tires. Regular inspections and proper maintenance are essential to ensure your tires stay healthy and safe.

Lastly, saving time and money on tires may not be worth the risk. Taking care of them now can save you far more in the long run, so ensure you check your tires regularly and get any necessary repairs done immediately.

How To Prevent Tire Cracks From Happening in the First Place?

You can take several steps to prevent tire cracks from occurring in the first place. Aside from regular inspections and tire rotations, which will help ensure that your tires are wearing evenly and not developing any weak spots that may be more prone to cracking, it’s also important to make sure you’re doing the following:

  • Store your tires properly, ensuring that they are not exposed to too hot or cold temperatures.
  • Use the right kind of tire for a specific season.
  • Maintain proper tire pressure by checking your manufacturer’s recommendations for inflation.
  • Do not overload your tires to avoid over-stressing them.
  • Avoid driving on rough terrain that may cause damage to your tires.
  • Drive responsibly to avoid bouncing off curbs and running into potholes.
  • Regularly clean your tires with the right cleaners, such as a mild soap and water solution.

By following these tips, you can help to reduce the risk of tire cracking and protect your tires for years to come.

Conclusion

Overall, tire tread cracking is a problem that can be easily prevented. By following some simple maintenance procedures and being aware of the common causes of tire cracking, you can help keep your tires in top condition and ensure they last longer. Never underestimate the importance of proper tire care, and make sure to inspect your tires regularly by a qualified tire specialist.

About the author, Laurence Perkins

Laurence Perkins is the passionate car enthusiast behind the blog My Auto Machine. With over a decade of experience in the automotive industry, Perkins has knowledge and experience with a wide range of car makes and models. His particular interests lie in performance and modification, and his blog covers these topics in-depth. In addition to his own blog, Perkins is a respected voice in the automotive community and writes for various automotive publications. His insights and opinions on cars are highly sought-after.