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Severe Tire Cracking Michelin LTX

About Tire Cracking, Dry-Rot, & Old Tires

Tire cracking is common on tires that don’t get driven that much, like trailers, motorhomes, classic cars, collector, performance cars, grandma’s, and the church van.

The less you drive, the more they crack.

Most of the time, you’ll wear out tires before cracking and dry-rot become a problem.

That’s because the tire rubber has antiozonant, an additive that prevents tires from cracking due to the ozone, UV, and road-grime.

But antiozonant only works if the tires are being driven and going through their normal heating and cooling cycles.

showing severity of tire cracking

If your tires sit for months at a time without being used, they’ll start to crack prematurely. 

Normally, I see light sidewall, shoulder, and tread cracking after 2-3 years, usually cosmetic ozone and weather cracks and considered normal wear and tear.

Manufacturers recommend replacing your tires every 6 years, whether they’re worn out or not — If your tires are less than 3-years old and cracking, there may be a problem.

I use Michelin’s nifty Ozone or Weather Cracking Visual Tool as a guide —

How does this compare to your tires? 

Steps you can take to protect your tires.

  • Cleaning – Use a special tire and wheel cleaner every time you wash your car. I use Meguiars at the shop because it’s safe to use on all wheels.
  • Protection – It’s ok to use a tire protectant. Make sure it’s not silicone or petroleum-based because they speed-up tire cracking and dry-rot.

I use Wizard’s because it’s water-based and doesn’t leave a residue. and won’t sling protectant all over your car!

My advice is tires need to be driven. Even if you have nowhere to go, getting your tires hot occasionally will make them last longer.

People send me pictures of their tires from all over the world for an opinion — 

I’m Spencer, the owner of Kenwood Tire & Auto Service – If you’re looking for a tire recommendation or live local and want to get back on the road asap, I’m here for you.

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