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What does it mean when the repair shop says the tires have dry-rot, and does this give a reddish color to the sides of the tire?The guy at the repair shop said it meant that the tires were sitting unused for too long but we use the car every single day. Thanks - NP

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amanda J. Pierce, MBA Hi Nancy, Dry-rotted tires means more or less, there are stress cracks marks on the outer side wall of the tire compromising the integrity. Dry Rot/Weather Checking (fine lines on Sidewall) Also very hot, sunny climates are hard on tires. Ways to avoid dry rot: Use mild soap & water to clean tires, not tire cleaners or preservatives - Avoid exposure to fertilizer, ozone, extremes in temperature - Do not park under electrical wires nor near electric motors e.g. furnaces - Do not use anything that makes the tires shiny. These products make the rubber look nice and clean and bright black, but they also rob the rubber of the chemicals they were manufactured with which are designed to minimize the effect of ozone. With rubber, unbonded elements are left over from the vulcanization process that continue to react as the tire ages, leading to hardening, cracking, and bulging at times.

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Hi Nancy, If tires sit around unused for too long, they can deteriorate and be unsafe to use. I

Suzanne Grego, Technician at City of Philadelphia Fleet Management Nancy Peet, When a tire gets dry-rot, it starts to crack and break apart. Think of the rubber in tires as a persons skin. After time, it wears out and starts to crack. Some people have good genes and it takes a lot longer to see wrinkles, just like some tires are made with better material and last a lot longer before they start to crack. Dry-rot can be caused by age, by frequent weather changes, extreme weather conditions, or just simple exposure to the elements every day. The reddish color you may sometimes see on the sides of your tires is most likely brake dust. They do make shields to block the brake dust from coming out of the side of your tire, but I don

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