Causes of Cracking
Incorrect alignment can cause cracked wheels. If the tire is not seated properly on the rim, or there is a balance issue, it will increase the strain on the sidewall and lead to cracking.
Another culprit is consistently driving on underinflated tires. Underinflation decreases its ability to dampen the vibrations caused while driving, which in turn damages its structural integrity.
The age of your wheels can also be a factor. The rubber wheel stops absorbing the energy from the road as it ages, and this extra vibration will damage the tire’s structure over time. This is why manufacturers advise owners to replace the tires after several years of use.
Sitting parked for long periods can cause splits in the sidewall. If vehicles sit still for too long without being driven, the sidewall will start to crack as a result of it not bearing any weight.
Whacking a curb or pothole can also cause some damage. When you hit something hard, it immediately transfers that force to the wheel structure. In some cases, this force is so great that it causes a blowout.
Some less serious reasons for damage include exposure to extreme temperatures or sun exposure, which can cause sidewall splits. Riding a spare can also lead to small, undetectable damage on the inside of the wheel. If you don’t rotate your tires regularly, this can cause breaking on the inside.
How to Fix Cracks
For the most part, minor slices in the rubber aren’t going to do much harm. But if the cracks are deep or pervasive, you might have an issue. Sometimes it’s possible to inject sealant into the sidewall or wheel, depending on how extensive the damage is. If the crack is too big, you might have to replace your whole wheel.
If you’re unsure about your damage, have a technician inspect it to see whether it’s repairable.
Even if your tire is beyond repair, it’s still important to replace the tire as soon as possible. A broken or cracked wheel poses a threat to other drivers on the road and can lead to accidents if not checked out quickly.
The easiest way to prevent cracked tires is simply regular rotation. Rotating your wheels spreads out the potential damage and ensures that you don’t have an issue down the line. In addition, making sure your tires are properly inflated will lessen the strain on the sidewall and reduce cracking from uneven pressure.
Another important aspect of preventing sidewall cracks is tread depth. If the rubber is worn down it can result in cracking or prematurely wearing out your tires, which is dangerous for obvious reasons.
Tire safety is a very important part of proper vehicle maintenance. For more information on tire safety, check out our next blog.
If you take good care of your car, it’ll take good care of you. For tire maintenance or repair in Southern Maryland, give us a call today!