Is it OK to drive with cracks on tyres?

Quite often during the operation of the vehicle, some cracks appear on the tyre tread. In such situations, car owners usually have reasonable questions: “Is it OK to drive with cracks on tyres? What consequences it may lead to?” To have a detailed answer, you need to fully understand the topic.

What are the causes of cracks?

There are various reasons that contribute to the appearance of shallow or deep cracks. Thus, microcracks on tyres 1-2 mm deep, resembling a cobweb, are an indication of improper storage of tyres. The tyres were exposed to direct sunlight or abrupt temperature drops.

Quite often, minor defects in the grooves of the tyre are caused by the negative impact of chemical reagents that are added during the production of asphalt mixes, or sand and salt solution, sprinkled on icy roads. If the cracks on the tyres have a depth of more than 3 mm, this is an unmistakable sign of tyre wear due to long operation. The reason is the loss of elasticity because of the gradual evaporation of the resins and oils used in the manufacture of tyres.

Another common cause of cracks on tyres is inaccurate mounting. Inexperience or poor-quality equipment during such operations can lead to cord damage.

Types of cracks and their consequences

There are different types of cracks on the tyres, which differ in depth and location.

When deep longitudinal or transverse cracks appear, there is a threat to the safety of drivers, passengers and other road users. Dirt, moisture, and chemical reagents, which penetrate the tyre, can cause an abrupt burst of the tyre and a serious accident. Therefore, if you notice lateral or longitudinal cracks on tyres, it is recommended to replace worn tyres as soon as possible.

Is it OK to drive with cracks on tyres? 

First, you should contact the workshop and qualified technician to make diagnostics of the tyre and find out the causes of damage. Only after examining the tyre, the specialist could tell you whether it is possible to use this tyre after repair or it’s better to replace it.

If the damage is located in the drainage channels of the tread, water from the road can reach the steel belt, facilitating the corrosive destruction of this part of the tyre. This will cause noise and vibrations while driving, uneven tyre wear and rapid failure.

Cracks on the side of the tyre will lead to a gradual loss of tyre pressure. This can cause overloading of the sidewalls, overheating and premature wear.

What measures should be taken, if the tyres are cracked? 

Usually, car owners decide to throw away worn tyres and buy a new set of tyres. But in some cases it is possible to repair tyres with cracks. If cracks are in the grooves of the tread, you can ask for help from specialized car repair shops or service stations, where the technician can fill the damaged areas using a special machine. To eliminate the “cobweb” of microcracks, silicone compounds are used, that slow down the rubber ageing process.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to repair deep damages and the use of such damaged tyres is strictly prohibited. Therefore, the only solution will be a complete replacement of the tyre.

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