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I was told my tires were dry-cracked. What does that mean?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Suzanne Grego, Technician at City of Philadelphia Fleet Management Dry rot or cracking occurs in tires that are usually more than a couple years old. The rubber simply starts to crack from going through so many seasons and conditions. Hot to cold, cold to hot, wet to dry... The tire will continue to get worse with time. If you are concerned about your tires, ask your technician for an opinion. Remember, it never hurts to get a second opinion also.

Barb Petrey, President - DBK Enterprises Inc at Jiffy Lube The tires are old and become brittle, it's time to replace them for safety.

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Hi Holly, Tires degrade over time even when they are not being used. We recommend replacing tires every six years. Just because tires have a lot of tread on them doesn’t mean they are safe to use. Commonly called Dry Rot, when the oils and chemicals in the rubber compound start to evaporate or break down because of UV exposure, the rubber loses its flexibility and begins to crack at the surface, and the structure becomes more and more brittle. This leads to sidewall damage and eventual failure. And we're not talking "Oh, I'll just fill it up and drive on it"; this is a complete loss of function. You might even see the tread start to separate. How to tell how old your tires are? Stamped on the sidewall of each tire you will see the letters D O T with a bunch of letters and numbers following. The final four numbers tell you the week and year the tire was made.

Amanda J. Pierce, MBA Your tires are dry rot, meaning the tread on your side walls have cracked compromising the integrity. It is recommended you replace your tires because you may have a failure in long high speed travels.

Colleen McGee, Driving Instructor at Americas Driving School Hi Holly If you look at the side wall of your tires it will be quite visible if you have "dry crack" or "dry rot" on your them. Just as it says, it will be small cracks that may look whitish and very dry. It's more common on less used tires in hot, drier climates. You are much more vulnerable to have a blow out while driving because the rubber on the tire is much weaker and more worn with the dry rot. Happy Driving! Colleen M

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