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How Can You Preserve Your Tires from Age-Related Rot?

Posted May 19, 2022 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: repair tires

Tires may be the most overlooked—and most misunderstood—component on your car. While modern tires are incredibly capable (even compared to those made a decade back), they still require some degree of care and feeding to maximize their lifespans. Reader Doug Higbee recently chimed in with a rather specific question about tire care, asking:

Tires age. 'We' know this to be the case. What would be Hemmings recommendation to preserve tires from age-related rot? I cannot confirm what I was advised many years ago: Using a pure silicone spray on the tire will help replenish what has dried from the tire over time. I have witnessed this absorption to be extremely rapid after the spray contacts the tire, leading me to believe it benefits a ‘thirsty’ tire. What is your take on this?

First and foremost, we need to acknowledge that modern tire compounds have evolved at an incredibly fast pace. In some cases, they’ve become even more specialized, too: Modern summer-only performance tires offer a level of grip unimaginable in a street tire a few decades back, but the window in which they can be safely used has grown smaller. Both Pirelli and Michelin warn that summer-only tires may be subject to sidewall cracking in low temperatures, voiding any manufacturer’s warranty.

With this in mind, the rubber compounds used in a modern tires differ from the rubber compounds used in tires years ago. What may have been good advice for a ’60s-era bias-ply, or an ’80s-era radial, may be harmful to tires today. For advice on proper tire care, we looked to Goodyear, which manufactured over 169 million tires (of all types) in 2021.

Per the Akron, Ohio-based manufacturer, sidewall and tread weathering, often referred to as dry rot, is a result of the breakdown of compounds used to make the tire. Though a natural age-related process, several things can accelerate this, including UV exposure, environmental extremes (particularly a hot, dry climate), high ozone levels, underinflation, and lack of use. Tires benefit from regular exercise, and don’t like to remain stationary for extended lengths of time. According to South Bend, Indiana, (and online) vendor the Tire Rack, “The repeated stretching of the rubber compound actually helps deter cracks from forming.”

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Guru

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: About 4000 miles from the center of the earth (+/-100 mi)
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#1

Re: How Can You Preserve Your Tires from Age-Related Rot?

05/19/2022 4:28 PM

I was once told to put the car up on jack stands so the wheels were off the ground to prevent the tires from rotting.

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Guru

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Surrey BC Canada
Posts: 1571
Good Answers: 40
#2
In reply to #1

Re: How Can You Preserve Your Tires from Age-Related Rot?

05/20/2022 12:23 AM

At least it stops forming a pronounced flat spot, and if you ignore the tires for a season it wont sit on the rims if it has a very slow leak.

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Guru

Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1447
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#3
In reply to #1

Re: How Can You Preserve Your Tires from Age-Related Rot?

05/20/2022 2:29 AM

The logic of that is that it is the contact between the tire and the ground which causes the rotting.

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Guru

Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 2004
Good Answers: 29
#4

Re: How Can You Preserve Your Tires from Age-Related Rot?

05/20/2022 1:17 PM

If you use them and wear them out, they will never get sidewall cracking. They are made round to go round. https://biznakenya.com/tyre-expiry-date-need-know/

Can't keep them for ever!

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