How Long Before Tires Dry Rot? (Checked)

Dry rotting means that the rubber in the tires will become brittle and crack, which can lead to a blowout while driving.

In this blog post, we will explore how long it takes for tires to dry rot, what causes them to rot faster, and what you can do to make your tires last longer.

tire crack (dry rotting)

Can Tires Dry Rot in 2,3, 5 Years?

Tires can dry rot in as little as two years. When taken care of properly, most tires have a six-year lifetime with a maximum of ten years. Dry rotting typically happens when tires are in direct sunlight or stored wet environment.

The time it takes for your tires to dry rot depends on the climate where you live and the conditions you drive.

The most common cause of dry rot is exposure to sunlight when stored and not using your tires regularly.

UV rays from the sun can break down the rubber in your tires, causing them to become brittle and crack. The hot temperatures often experienced in the summer can also cause tires to dry rot.

How you care for and store the tires also matters. Always make sure your tires have the correct air pressure. The recommended PSI can vary by tire type and size, so check your owner’s manual or the placard on the driver’s side doorjamb for guidance.

Driving on low-pressure tires can cause the tires to wear down faster and make them more susceptible to dry rot.

Tire pressure fluctuates with temperature changes, so it is vital to check your air pressure regularly.

If you store your tires, such as switching between winter and summer tires, make sure they are in a cool, dark place. Heat and light can speed up the dry rot process.

What Causes Tires to Dry Rot Faster?

Exposure to extreme temperatures, long periods of sitting idle, environmental factors such as pollution and UV rays from the sun, improper storage, and poor care and maintenance.

High temperatures and constant exposure to sunlight can cause rubber compounds in tires to break down faster, resulting in dry rot. For example, in deserts where it is hot and sunny all year round, tires often show signs of dry rot in just a few years.

Similarly, the rubber compounds can also break down if you leave your tires sitting idle for long periods, especially in hot climates or in direct sunlight.

A lesser-known cause of dry rot is storing tires near ozone-generating sources, such as engines, fuel-based generators, battery chargers, or welding machines. This situation causes dry rot by breaking down the tire’s rubber compounds.

Environmental factors such as smog, road salt, and other pollutants can also speed up the dry rot process by breaking down the tire’s rubber compounds.

Improper care and maintenance can speed up dry rot, reducing the lifetime of your tires. For example, driving on low-pressure tires can cause the tire’s sidewalls to flex more, resulting in cracks.

Similarly, if you rarely rotate your tires, one side may wear down faster than the other.

This can cause dry rot since the more unevenly worn tires will have thinner sidewalls more susceptible to cracking.

Besides these causes, some tires are more prone to dry rot than others. Tires with a higher percentage of natural rubber are more susceptible to dry rot, as natural rubber is softer and breaks down faster than synthetic rubber.

How Long Do Tires Last Once They Show Cracks?

Tires with cracks may last a few months to a few years. But it’s a gamble, as the life of a tire depends on the severity and location of cracks.

If you have minor surface cracks that are only visible when you look closely, the tires may last you a little longer.

Read here when there are so many cracks you need new tires.

However, the best option is to bring your tires or vehicle to a professional tire shop to have them inspected and replaced if necessary.

When your tires are showing deeper cracks, or if you notice bulges in the sidewalls, it’s best to replace your tires as soon as possible. These signs indicate that the rubber compounds are breaking down faster, and the tire is at risk of failing.

The risks of driving on tires with dry rot outweigh the benefits, as the tires may fail suddenly and could be dangerous to both you and other drivers on the road.

Dry rot can lead to tire blowouts, loss of control, and accidents.

A blowout is extremely dangerous as it can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and can even lead to a rollover.

If you must drive on tires with dry rot, make sure you maintain a safe speed and stay extra alert. The only location you should drive with cracked tires is the nearest tire shop or service station.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so if you’re unsure about the condition of your tires, it’s best to take your car to a professional for an inspection.

What Can I Do To Make My Tires Last Longer?

There are several things you can do to extend the lifetime of your tires and prevent dry rot.

Always inflate your tires to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI. This maintenance step helps reduce the flexing of the sidewalls, leading to cracking. When the PSI is over or under-inflated, it puts extra stress on the tires.

Rotate your tires regularly.

This care helps disperse wear and tear, so your tires last longer. The recommended interval is every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

Avoid driving on rough roads when possible. Driving on roads with potholes and other obstacles puts extra stress on your tires, which can cause cracking and dry rot.

If you drive on gravel roads often, make sure to inspect your tires regularly. Gravel can cause tiny punctures in the sidewalls that may not be visible at first. Over time, these punctures can become more extensive and cause dry rot.

Clean your tires regularly to remove any built-up grime, road salt, or other pollutants.

These substances can break down the tire’s rubber compound, causing dry rot.

Store your tires properly when they’re not in use. For example, cover your tires with a tire cover if you’re storing them in your garage. Don’t leave your tires out in extreme temperatures, and ensure they are protected from the elements.

Invest in tire protectants.

This maintenance step helps create a barrier against the elements and can extend the life of your tires.

Tire protectants are available in both spray and gel form. You can apply these protectants to your tires every few months or after you wash/clean them.

Do Some Tires Rot Faster Than Others?

Yes, some tires are more susceptible to dry rot than others.

Natural rubber is softer and breaks down faster than synthetic rubber. Tires made with a higher percentage of natural rubber are more likely to dry rot. However, the most significant factors determining how quickly your tires will dry rot are care, storage, and age.

If you don’t properly maintain your tires and store them in unfavorable conditions, they are more likely to dry rot.

Similarly, if your tires are older and have been driven on for a long time, they may be more susceptible to dry rot than newer tires.

Some tires also have a terrible reputation for being prone to dry rot. For example, tires that are not UV-resistant can break down more quickly in sunlight, leading to faster dry rot. Luckily, there are products you can use to improve the UV resistance of your tires.

Overall, the best thing you can do to make your tires last longer is to take care of them. By following these tips and taking your tires in for regular inspections, you can help prevent dry rot and keep your tires in good condition for as long as possible.

Sources:

  1. https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a15339994/how-long-should-a-new-set-of-tires-last/
  2. https://www.goodyear.com/en-US/learn/tire-care-maintenance/dry-rot-tires
  3. https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/a3243/do-you-really-need-to-replace-those-tires-15408787/
  4. https://www.consumerreports.org/tires/how-to-keep-your-tires-looking-good/
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