Tires are subjected to one of the harshest environments experienced by any consumer product. In addition to being stretched millions of times as they rotate, they are also exposed to rain, brake dust, harsh chemicals and direct sunlight, as well as summer’s heat and winter’s cold. While a tire’s rubber compounds have anti-aging chemicals in them, exposure to the elements will eventually cause rubber to lose some of its elasticity and allow surface cracks to appear. These cracks typically develop on the sidewalls or at the base of the tread grooves. Since all tires are made of rubber, they will eventually start to show signs of cracking. This can be accelerated by too much exposure to heat, vehicle exhaust, ozone and sunlight, as well as electric generators and motors. A vehicle parked outside instead of in a garage will constantly expose its tires to the rays of the sun, increasing the likelihood of cracking. Additionally, some sidewall cracking has been linked to abrasion from parking against a curb, or the excessive use of tire cleaners that inadvertently remove some of the tire’s anti-oxidants and anti-ozone protection during every cleaning procedure. When sun exposure or excessive cleaning is the cause of the small cracks, the sidewall of the tire facing outward will show damage, while the sidewall facing inward is rarely affected.
The anti-aging chemicals used in the rubber compounds are more effective when the tire is used on a regular basis. The repeated stretching of the rubber compound actually helps resist cracks forming. The tires used on vehicles that are driven infrequently, or accumulate low annual mileage are more likely to experience cracking because long periods of parking or storage interrupt the rubber. In addition to being an annoyance to show car owners, this condition often frustrates motor home and recreational vehicle owners who only take occasional trips and cannot even park their vehicle in a garage or shaded area. Using tire covers at least minimizes direct exposure to sunlight.
There are a few conditions that would possibly void the manufacture’s coverage. The same types of cracks can also be caused by poor tire maintenance practices. Driving on a tire that was flat, or one that was under inflated or overloaded causes excessive stretching of the rubber compound, and may result in cracks that appear similar to the surface cracks mentioned above. The manufacturers’ warranty might not apply if an interior inspection of the tire clearly indicates that the cracks were due to these conditions. Make sure to bring the vehicle in and we can inspect the tires for you. If there is an issue, we can recommend the best way to have the tire repaired or replaced. This can help you to have a safe and comfortable drive.