Last Updated on September 10, 2022 by John K. Clifford
Eight years ago, Michelin recalled defective tires it had sold in North America. The reason for the recall was consumer complaints, one of them being dry rot.
But is dry rot a Michelin issue alone? From this Quora answer, all tire manufacturers have it rough from time to time. So, we shouldn’t see Michelin as the single point of failure.
Anyway, your Michelin tire has dry rot because of natural degradation. Since you drive much, you expose the tires to adverse environmental conditions. This exposure to extreme climate and other outside elements increases dry rot.
In this article, you’ll get answers to these questions:
1. What causes early dry rot
2. How does dry rot look like in a tire?
3. How long do dry rot tires last?
4. Can you fix dry rot tires?
5. Is it safe to drive on dry-rotted tires?
6. Are cracks in tires bad?
Now, let’s roll.
The other name for dry rot is sidewall weathering (GoodYear.com)
What Causes Early Dry Rot?
Sometimes, dry rot can happen earlier than expected. And why? What could be the reasons for the premature weathering? Well, here is what causes dry rot:
1. Improper tire storage
2. Low air pressure
3. Too much exposure to UV light
Let’s see the reasons at length:
1. Improper Tire Storage
When you store your tire in an area of high temperatures, you speed up dry rot. Like other auto parts, tires are made of natural materials. When those materials heat up, the tire starts breaking down. In the end, its tread and sidewalls will begin weathering.
Also, you’re likely to speed up dry rot if you store tires near these areas:
1. Welding equipment
3. Electric motors
4. Battery chargers
5. Any other equipment that generates ozone
2. Low Air Pressure
One in every three passenger cars has underinflated tires, says the NHTSA. And when tires don’t have enough air, friction increases. So, sooner than later, the tire will start cracking, and dry rot will begin happening.
3. Too Much Exposure To UV Light
UV light is too strong, and your tires are no match for it. So, when you accustom your tire to too much heat and light, its sidewalls will start weathering.
Other reasons for dry rot include:
1. Long disuse periods
2. Use of corrosive chemicals like industrial cleaning solutions
3. Shallow temperatures
How Does Dry Rot Look Like In A Tire?
If you take a closer look at your tire, you’ll notice dry rotting. While it may take many forms, here are the main ones:
2. Cracks along with the tread patterns
3. Crack running on the sidewalls
4. Breakable appearances
Let’s explain each:
Your tire comes in a pitch-black color. But when dry rot starts, the color will start fading. Soon, your tire will have a gray tone, and it won’t look as attractive.
2. Cracks Along The Tread Patterns
When dry rot advances, you’ll see lines of cracks running along with tread patterns. I’m sure that the sight won’t be a good one.
3. Cracks Running On The Sidewalls
When the weathering starts to happen, you’ll notice more cracks on the sidewalls. Depending on how severe the dry rot is, the cracks may extend to larger areas.
4. Breakable Appearance
When you buy new tires, they have tough looks of freshness. But, dry rot makes their surfaces brittle, and thus, they appear too hard.
And if you try touching the brittle areas, the rubber pieces may even flake off.
How Long Do Dry Rot Tires Last?
Regardless of your car’s mileage, dry rot tires can only last six years. If you’re lucky, they’ll push past year six and die in year 10. So, to know when to change the tires, you need to know their year of manufacturing. And that can be tricky.
Knowing How Long Your Tires Have Been Around
From Cnet.com, tire manufacturers mold the date of making into the sidewall. And usually, the format is XXXX. The first Xs are the week of making, and the other two are the tire’s manufacturing year.
One example of the date is 5107. For 5107, the tire was made on the 51st week of 2007.
If your tires were made past 2015, you should consider changing them. I’m sure they’re exhausted from all the dry rot.
Can You Fix Dry Rot Tires?
No, you cannot fix dry rot tires. Dry rot is inevitable, and the only way to fix them is to delay the weathering. And how do you do that? Let’s see:
1. Buy Car Or Tire Covers
If your tires spend lots of time outdoors, consider getting car covers. The covers will prevent harsh weather from rotting the tire and other parts.
Here are two options you can consider:
But if you don’t want full car covers, you can go for this tire cover by Camco. The reason I like it is it protects your tires from dirt, corrosion, and the sun. So, when you buy it, dry rotting won’t happen fast. Also, your tires will look more vibrant.
Car covers are better since they prevent the entire car from exposure. When you buy them, you’ll take care of both the tires and other auto body parts.
2. Park Vehicles Away From The Direct Sun
If you can, let your vehicle rest under a shade. If not, the parking place should be an area with mild to low temperatures.
3. Choose Underground Parking Over Curbs
When you leave your car on a curb, the sun will heat your tires. Also, they’ll gather dust quicker. So, if you can, avoid open parking.
When you go for underground parking, your tires are away from direct sunlight. That means you won’t expose them to UV light that could speed up dry rotting.
Is It Safe To Drive On Tires With Dry-Rotted Tires?
It is not safe to drive on dry rotted tires. The more dry rot the tires have, the more unsafe they are. And why, though?
Dry rot causes the rubber in the tire to heat and expand. And when you drive an expanded tire, the car’s weight may blow it up. So, if you’re dealing with ‘severe’ dry rot, don’t drive the vehicle.
Are Cracks In Tires Bad?
If the tires’ cracks are superficial, they’re not bad. In fact, it’s safe to drive on the tires. But if the cracks are longer, deeper, and in high numbers, they’re bad.
At that point, you’ll need to replace the affected tires. If you drive them in that condition, you risk involving the car in an accident.
And I’m sure you won’t like the number of tire-related fatalities. Check this table out:
|Year||Fatalities in Accidents Involving CarsWith Tire-Related Issues|
|1992||700 – 800|
|1997||600 – 700|
|2002||500 – 600|
|2007||400 – 500|
|2012||600 – 700|
|2017||500 – 600|
You don’t want to be part of the 2022 stats, so replace those dry rot tires.
Now, you know why your Michelin tire has dry rot and separation issues. Also, you know how tires get dry rot and how you can prevent it from happening too soon.
Dry rot is natural to tires, so don’t bash the manufacturers. Instead, practice good tire care. That way, your tires will live to their entire lifespan. And, you’ll only change them when it’s necessary.
Good luck with those tires!