Are Cracked Tyres Dangerous?
Tyre Advice That Could Save Your Life
Tyres are one of the most important aspects of your car and as such are engineered to be durable. However, they don’t last forever, and after a while, you may notice that your car has cracked tyres. This kind of wear and tear can be a sign that you need new tyres. Here are some tips for getting the longest life out of your tyres and the dangers of driving on cracked tyres.
Dangers of Cracked Tyres
Cracked tyres are a sign of wear and damage to your tyres. They can be dangerous to drive on. If you notice your tyre has cracks, you should take your car to a tyre shop for the tyres to be examined. There are two major risks you face if your tyres are cracked:
- Loss of grip
The biggest danger caused by cracked tyres is the loss of grip. This can cause loss of control when driving around bends, and on wet roads, you will be more likely to aquaplane.
As the integrity of the tyre worsens and more cracks appear, your chances of experiencing a blowout increase dramatically. See our article, ‘The How, Why and What of Tyre Blowouts’ for tips on how to come to a safe standstill should you suffer a blowout.
Causes of Cracked Tyres
Your tyres are made up of three main components:
- Plies, which are inside the tyre and give it flexibility while maintaining its structure
- Beads, which are coated into the rubber of the tyre to create a seal between your wheel rim and the tyre
- Polymers, the rubber on the outside of the tyre
Cracked tyres are a result of the bonds in these components breaking down and can have multiple causes: ageing, water damage, UV damage, incorrect tyre pressure, and degradation.
- Ageing Tyres
Polymers naturally break down over time. As your tyres age, they become more susceptible to cracking because of the tyres stiffen and lose their elasticity. Even if your tyres are not used, the bond will naturally break down. You may have a car that’s been sat in the garage for years without being driven, and when inspected, is found to have cracked tyres.
- Water Damage
I know what you’re thinking: rubber is waterproof, right? Yes – however, if you drive on wet roads for a prolonged period, water can still enter your tyres and cause damage. Queensland can experience monsoon troughs and storms through the rainy season that leave the roads wet all day. If possible, avoid driving in these conditions to prevent damage to your tyres. Use your brakes sensibly, and dry your tyres when you return home.
- UV Damage
With the rainy season also comes the heat. From December to February in Brisbane, your car tyres will be taking the most damage. The extreme heat and UV rays cause tyres to expand and are one of the biggest causes of cracked tyres.
- Incorrect Tyre Pressure
Maintaining correct tyre pressures is essential to getting the longest lifespan out of your tyres. Cracked tyres can be caused by both overinflation and underinflation. If your tyres are underinflated, there is more surface of the tyre touching the road. If it is overinflated, there will be bulging. Both scenarios put extra stress on your tyres and can lead to cracking.
Rubber is an organic material, which means it’s biodegradable. While there are chemicals that you can use to slow down the degradation, there is no way to stop it completely. Eventually, you will find your tyres start cracking naturally. Tyre manufacturers recommend changing tyres every five to six years, irrespective of the miles driven on them.
How to Prevent Cracked Tyres
We do not recommend that you fix cracked tyres. However, there are some steps you can take to extend the longevity of your tyres. For example:
- Tyre pressure – Ensure that your tyres are inflated to the recommended PSI
- Tyre protector – Regularly apply tyre protector to your tyres
- Garage – Where possible, keep your car parked in a dry garage
Cracked tyres are a sign of wear and tear. If you start noticing cracks, it’s time to take your car to a tyre shop and get your tyres switched. Damaged tyres provide less grip and increase the risk of a blowout.
Don’t mess with your safety. Feel free to contact us to book an appointment to have your tyres checked, or to ask any questions you may have.
Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,