If one or more of your tires starts to show signs of dry rot—a condition characterized by dried-out rubber, excessive cracking of the tire’s sidewalls, and the reduced ability to hold air—they will need to be replaced. Advanced dry rot can result in improper tire inflation and may even cause the tire to break apart while driving, posing a serious safety hazard.
While it’s natural for your tires to wear down with age, dry rot can wreak havoc on your tires even before they start to go bald from normal use, leading to their premature replacement. Learning to identify dry rot—and the conditions that cause it—can help save you money in the long term.
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever
What is tire dry rot?
Tire dry rot is a condition that essentially speeds up the aging process and is caused by exposure to certain temperatures, substances, or situations that lead tires to dry out, crack, and break apart.
How does a tire get dry rot?
Some of the most common causes of dry rot are:
- Low inflation pressure: Underinflated tires increase the wear on your tire treads, generating excessive heat that can result in cracking or tire separation
- Excessive exposure to UV rays: Tires that receive a lot of sunlight for long periods are more apt to crack and dry out
- Exposure to abrasive chemicals: Motor oil, industrial cleaning solutions, and other corrosive chemicals can cause the rubber to dry out and crack
- Inactivity: Cars that are parked for long periods—both outside and inside—can develop dry rot as the protective resins in rubber are only activated when the tires are in use
- High temperatures: Frequent exposure to high ambient temperatures can cause tires to age faster
Warning signs of tire dry rot
You’ll know your tires have started to dry rot if they’ve begun to discolor and have turned a shade closer to grey or white as opposed to their usual black. Another telltale sign of dry rot is cracking along the tire sidewall or tread, which can occur independently or in tandem with discoloration.
Key Takeaway Long periods of inactivity, exposure to the elements, extreme temperatures, and underinflated tires can all give way to tire dry rot if you’re not careful—inspect your tires regularly to lessen your chances of debilitating tire damage.
How to protect tires from dry rot
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prevent your tires from getting dry rot—check out the list below:
- Clean your tires: A rag, warm water, and dish soap can be used to clean tires without exposure to harsh chemicals
- Keep tires properly inflated: When your tires are properly inflated, it reduces the amount of wear and subsequent heat they are subjected to, extending their lifespan
- Inspect tires regularly: Check your tire sidewalls and treads once a month for cracks and other damage
- Avoid parking in sunlight: Whenever possible, park in the shade to avoid unnecessary exposure to UV rays that will dry out your tires
- Don’t overload your vehicle: By not going over the recommended load capacity of your vehicle, you’ll prevent unnecessary stress on the tires that can cause premature cracking
How to save money on car insurance
Adhering to a regular maintenance schedule is key to keeping your car functioning at peak performance, making it easier to operate and drive safely. Make sure to protect your vehicle further with the right insurance policy using
As a licensed
car insurancecomparison app and broker, Jerry makes finding affordable rates easier than ever—all you need to do is download the app, fill out a 45-second questionnaire, and Jerry will start comparing dozens of quotes from the nation’s top insurance companies.
Once you find a policy that works for you, Jerry will help you get signed up. On average, Jerry users save $887 a year on their car insurance, so download the app today and find out how much you could be saving!
“I was tired of looking around multiple websites, so I decided to giveJerrya try. Let me tell you—the process is so easy and simple, and they really find you the best prices for your coverage level. Getting insurance for my new car was quick and easy!” —Joanna D.
Compare insurance quotes from 50+ carriers with Jerry in under 45 seconds