All tires develop dry rot over time. Once dry rot occurs, it can’t be reversed. This means preventing it from happening in the first place is your only remedy.
Fortunately, there are some helpful tips we can provide whether you’re trying to extend the tire life on your daily driver or the ones you’ve stored away for use during the harsher and slipperier winter months.
How To Prevent Dry Rot On TiresIt’s not possible to completely prevent tire dry rot, but it can be slowed down significantly.
The best methods include keeping your tires out of direct sunlight, using UV-protectant tire sprays or coatings, avoiding parking or storing tires near electric motors that create ozone, and keeping the tires away from extreme changes in temperature.
In this article, we’ll explore what causes dry rot, how to spot it, and most importantly, share tips on how to prevent it for both regularly used and stored tires.
Understanding and addressing this common tire problem can help you maintain your vehicle’s performance, ensure the safety of you and your passengers, and even extend the life of your tires.
Let’s take a closer look.
Causes Of Dry Rot
Dry rot is a common problem that can happen to tires. It’s when the rubber on your tires starts to break down and weaken. This can cause cracks and make your tires less safe to use.
Dry rot can happen to any tire, whether it’s on a passenger car, a truck, or even sitting in storage. It’s important to know about dry rot and how to prevent it, so you can keep your tires in good shape for as long as possible.
There are a few different things that can cause dry rot on your tires. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes:
- Exposure To Sunlight And UV Tays: One of the biggest reasons tires get dry rot is because of sunlight. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause the rubber in your tires to break down over time. This is especially true if your tires are parked in the sun a lot or if you live somewhere with lots of sunshine.
- Ozone Exposure: Ozone is a gas that can also damage tire rubber, causing it to break down and dry rot. Electric motors, like those found in appliances and power tools, can produce ozone, so it’s important to avoid parking or storing tires near these devices.
- Extreme Temperature Changes: Tires don’t like big changes in temperature. If it’s really hot outside and then gets very cold, or vice versa, it can cause the rubber in your tires to expand and contract. This can lead to dry rot, as the rubber gets stressed and starts to crack.
- Long Periods Of Inactivity: If you don’t use your car or truck for a long time, your tires can start to develop dry rot. This is because the rubber can get weak and start to break down when it’s not being used. So, if you have a vehicle that sits for a while without being driven, you might want to keep an eye on the tires.
- Exposure To Harsh Chemicals: Sometimes, things like oil, gasoline, or even certain tire cleaning products can cause dry rot. These chemicals can damage the rubber in your tires and make them more likely to crack and wear out.
Tips To Prevent Dry Rot For Tires In Use
If you’re driving your car or truck regularly, there are some simple things you can do to help prevent dry rot and keep your tires in good shape. Let’s look at a few important tips:
Regular Tire Maintenance
- Maintain Proper Tire Pressure: One of the easiest ways to prevent dry rot is by keeping your tires inflated to the right pressure. Check your owner’s manual or the sticker on your car door to find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle. Make sure to check your tire pressure at least once a month, and add air if needed. Underinflated or overinflated tires can cause extra stress on the rubber, which can lead to dry rot.
- Rotate Tires Periodically: Rotating your tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles helps to make sure they wear evenly, which can prevent dry rot. When you rotate your tires, you’re also giving them a chance to “rest” and recover from any stress they’ve experienced.
- Balance And Align Wheels: Having your wheels balanced and aligned can help prevent uneven wear on your tires, which can reduce the chances of dry rot. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended intervals for wheel balancing and alignment, and make sure to follow them.
- Benefits Of Regular Use: Driving your car or truck regularly helps to keep the rubber in your tires flexible and prevents it from becoming stiff and brittle. When you drive, the tires heat up and release an additive called ozonate inside the rubber, which can help prevent dry rot by counteracting the effects of ozone.
- Consider Using A Tire Coating For Added Protection: Some people choose to use a tire sealant or conditioner to help prevent dry rot. These products can be applied to the surface of the tire and help to protect the rubber from the sun’s UV rays and other harmful elements.
Protecting Tires From Environmental Factors
- Keep Tires Out Of Direct Sunlight: Sunlight can cause the rubber in your tires to break down and dry rot, so it’s important to keep your tires out of direct sunlight whenever possible. If you must park your vehicle in the sun, consider using a car cover or sunshade to protect the tires.
- Use UV-Protectant Sprays Or Coatings: Applying a UV-protectant tire spray or coating can help shield your tires from the sun’s harmful UV rays and slow down the progression of dry rot.
- Avoid Parking Or Storing Tires Near Electric Motors: As mentioned earlier, electric motors can produce ozone, which can damage tire rubber and contribute to dry rot. Keep your tires away from appliances or power tools that contain electric motors.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
- Clean Tires With Mild Soap And Water: When you’re cleaning your tires, it’s best to use mild soap and water instead of harsh chemicals. Some tire cleaning products contain ingredients that can damage the rubber and make it more likely to dry rot. So, stick with a gentle soap and water solution for the best results.
- Avoid Petroleum-Based Tire Dressings: Some tire dressings contain petroleum products, which can actually cause dry rot. Instead, look for a water-based tire dressing or simply use a mild soap and water solution to clean and protect your tires.
My Favorite UV Protectant For Protecting Tires From UV Damage
Tips To Prevent Dry Rot For Stored Tires
If you have tires that aren’t being used, like winter tires during the summer months, it’s important to store them properly to prevent dry rot. Here are some tips to help you keep your stored tires in good shape:
Proper Storage Conditions
- Store In A Cool, Dry Place: When you’re storing your tires, it’s best to keep them in a cool, dry place, like a garage or a basement. This will help protect the rubber from temperature changes and humidity, which can cause dry rot.
- Keep Away From Direct Sunlight: Sunlight can cause the rubber in your tires to break down and dry rot, so it’s important to keep your stored tires out of direct sunlight. If you don’t have a shaded area to store your tires, consider using a cover or a tire storage bag to protect them from the sun’s rays.
- Cover Tires If Necessary: If you’re storing your tires outside, it’s a good idea to use a waterproof cover to protect them from the elements. This can help prevent dry rot and keep your tires in better shape for when you’re ready to use them again.
- Use Air-Tight Storage Bags: Air-tight bags will keep harmful ozone in the air away from your tires and keep the protective ozonate within the rubber compounds from slowly escaping over time.
Tire Storage Preparation
- Clean And Dry Tires Before Storage: Before you store your tires, make sure to clean them with a mild soap and water solution and let them dry completely. This will help remove any dirt, dust, or chemicals that could cause dry rot while they’re in storage.
- Consider Using Tire Storage Bags Or Totes: To keep your tires clean and protected while they’re in storage, you might want to use tire storage bags or totes. These bags can help keep out moisture, dirt, and sunlight, which can all contribute to dry rot.
Regularly Inspect Stored Tires
- Check For Signs Of Dry Rot Or Other Damage: Even if you’re storing your tires properly, it’s still a good idea to check them regularly for signs of dry rot or other damage. If you notice any cracks or discoloration, take action right away to prevent the problem from getting worse.
- Rotate Storage Position Occasionally: To help prevent flat spots and even wear, you should rotate the position of your stored tires every few months. This can help distribute the weight more evenly and prevent dry rot from forming in one specific area.
Air Tight Storage Bags Protect Tires From Harmful Ozone
Below are some links you may find helpful when learning about tires
- What you need to know about tire dry rot – Get Jerry
- How to store tires to prevent dry rotting and extend their life – LifeStorageBlog
Taking care of your tires is an essential part of being a responsible car or truck owner. By following the tips we’ve discussed, like maintaining proper tire pressure, rotating and balancing tires, and storing them correctly, you can prevent dry rot and keep your tires in tip-top shape.
Good luck and happy motoring.