Every component of your vehicle is essential to its working, but one component that often gets neglected and is overlooked quite frequently are the tires of your vehicle. Though overlooked a lot, yet they are quite essential to the running, fuel economy, handling of the car, and your overall safety.
The longevity of your car hinges a lot on the maintenance and well-being of your tires.
The major distress that comes with tires is the appearance of “cracks” on its surface due to what is more commonly known in the car industry as “dry-rot.”
Dry rot is the deterioration of the rubber of the tires and is the underlying cause of cracked tires.
To overcome dry rot that leads to cracked tires, most mechanics would recommend you to straight-up replace the tire with a new one.
While that is one valid recommendation, but a lot can still be done to preserve the tire’s life and rejuvenate it for future use.
Two Ways to Fix Cracked Tires
- Using sealants made especially for cracked tires to fill in the cracks is an excellent start.
- Another way is to preserve the tires externally rather than filling in the cracks internally using a tire protectant.
These sealants will allow you to fill in the cracks internally and make the tires look and perform almost good as new.
These two inexpensive methods not only allow you to save the cost of buying a new tire but they are mighty effective as well.
Step-by-Step Guide to Fix Cracked Tires of Your Car
If you want to know the nitty-gritty details of how to apply each of these methods of tire preservation, here is a step-by-step guide for you:
Using a sealant
The tire sealant is a fibrous liquid commonly made from a mixture of water, mica flakes, hydrated bentonite clay, and a water-miscible carrying agent.
It coats the inside of the tire and builds a firm flexible plug filling in the cracks of the tire.
Let us see how to apply the sealant here:
1. Remove the tire
You may first remove the tire to get easy access to the surface of the tire. Make sure that the tires are cool and you don’t immediately touch them after a drive. Jack the vehicle, remove the lug nuts on your rims using a tire iron and that should allow you to remove the tire easily.
2. Examine the cracks
The next step is to identify the damaged regions i.e., where cracks have formed on the surface. Identify the regions that need the most attention that will also help you decide whether the tire is beyond repair or not.
3. Apply the sealant
Once you’ve examined the affected areas, now is the time to apply the sealant. Most tire sealants come with a nozzle and set of instructions printed on the bottle. Carefully read and follow the printed instructions and apply the sealant using the nozzle to the inside part of the interior of your tire.
4. Re-inflate the tire
You will definitely be losing air and pressure while working with the tire and applying the sealant. So once you’ve successfully applied the sealant, re-inflate the tires and check the numbers using an appropriate pressure gauge.
5. Re-assemble the tire and Test-Drive:
After completing all of the above steps, finally, you may re-install the tires and take your car for a drive around to test the efficacy of the sealant which will help you check whether you applied the sealant correctly.
Using a tire protectant
If you find accessing the interior part of the tire too tedious or if the cracks are quite noticeable and comparatively bigger, then using an external tire protectant/tire shine may be a better option for you. Following is a brief guide on how to do it:
1. Thoroughly clean the tire
To apply the tire protectant, prepping the tire is extremely important.
Prep means getting rid of anything that is in or out of the tire.
It is imperative that you wash and rinse the tires first (preferably use PowerClean) before applying the tire protectant.
2. Dry the tire
Let the tire dry out completely before applying the tire protectant. You don’t want any moisture on the tire when applying the tire protectant because most tire protectants are already water-based solutions.
3. Applying the tire protectant
The protectants can be applied using a spray gun that has a needle-based nozzle or they can generally be applied using a micro-fiber cloth directly on the tire’s surface.
You don’t want too much of the protectant on the surface, just a little hint of protectant on the tire would suffice. It should feel dry to the touch roughly after half an hour after you apply it.
4. Test Drive
Once the tires are nice and dry, the last part is to take your car out for a drive to check if everything is functioning as intended. Make sure that your tires are not sliding or anything of the sort which would suggest that you didn’t let it dry properly or applied too much of it.
Dry Rot Prevention Tips
Here are few tips, however, to prevent dry rot from occurring in the first place
- Prevent UV exposure to the tire.
- Park the car in a cool and dry environment (preferably in a garage)
- Avoid protectants if not required.
- Use a tire cover, but make sure that it is not made of a material that absorbs moisture.
- Make sure that your tires get proper drive time. Parking a car in one place for an extended period of time reduces tire longevity.
- Elevate your tires from the ground if possible when not in use. This would reduce pressure on a tire that would boost its life tremendously
While the best option for cracked tires is to replace them with new ones, but that means spending a lot of cash. The above-discussed methods were some of the workarounds that can assist you in preserving the tire’s life for another 6 months or so in an economical way.
The bottom line to keep in mind is that you won’t be repairing the tire by performing all of these methods but rather you would be retarding or slowing down the dry rot process which in turn would give you ample time of around 5-6 months of tire use. So keep this thing in the back of your head and hope the above guide helps.