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Is tyre sidewall cracking dangerous?

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Updated 16 Oct 2019Rowan Johnstone
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It’s safe to say that throughout their life tyres go through a lot. Extreme temperature changes, compressing and expanding millions of times, exposure to the elements and an untold amount of contact with chemicals and oils on the roads are just some of the things that tyres have to endure.

Tyre manufacturers know this and use anti-aging chemicals to help prolong the life of the tyre. These chemicals are most effective when the tyre is used and the rubber is allowed to stretch. If a tyre is not used for a long period of time the rubber doesn’t get a chance to stretch and it may start to crack.

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Unfortunately, tyre cracking is inevitable. It will eventually happen to any tyre, but only very late in the tyre’s life if it is being used correctly.

Tyre cracking most commonly occurs on the sidewall of the tyre or at the base of the tread grooves, and not all cracking is cause for immediate alarm.

Is it dangerous?

In many cases, cracking can purely be on the surface and relatively superficial. However, there can also be a more sinister type of cracking which goes deep into the inner part of your tyre, compromising its integrity.

Cracks that go into the inner, or structural, part of your tyre increase the possibility of a blowout. That risk is increased when you are driving at higher speeds.

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How long should they last?

Tyres with sidewall cracking also have a reduced ability to handle dramatic increases in load when taking corners. As you turn your car, the outside of the car becomes loaded as the weight transfers away from the corner. Your tyres need to be able to handle these sudden changes.

If the cracks on your tyres are deep it certainly can be dangerous, but if you see any kind of cracks on your tyres it’s best to get a tyre specialist to check them out.

When to look out for tyre cracking

If your car is driven daily, chances are you will replace your tyres due to tyre wear before you see any signs of serious cracking. It’s the tyres on vehicles such as that campervan you use once every two years, or that weekend sports car you bought but can’t find the time to drive that you need to be more concerned about. Tyre cracking is far more likely when the tyres have been sitting stationary for a long time, especially if they’re outside and exposed to the elements.

If you do need new tyres, AutoGuru can help! Get fast online quotes from local tyre specialists. The best part? They’re fixed price and obligation-free!

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Written ByRowan Johnstone

On weekdays Rowan can be found in the AutoGuru office, driving content and growth with the rest of the marketing team.

On weekends you’ll probably find him in the garage with his father restoring a 1958 Ford Star Model Customline or enjoying a cruise through the Gold Coast hinterland on his Suzuki GSX-R600.

Despite his passion for being behind the wheel (or handlebars), Rowan looks forward to the day when he can commute to work in his own driverless car.