Reasons Why Tires Fail and What You Should Do

Tires could well be the most important component on your car or truck, given that they affect the performance aspects of the car, including handling and acceleration to ride comfort and braking. Therefore, it's absolutely necessary to maintain your tires and they probably deserve more attention than any other components of the car. However, most drivers just don't think about the condition of their tires. A Department of Transportation study from 2001 stated that 60 to 80 percent of cars are have underinflated tires, 20 to 50 percent of them are driving with tires with low pressure, and 10 to 30 percent of these cars have tires with pressure as low as 30 percent of the recommended pressure. Underinflation is one of the main reasons why tires fail.

Every tire sidewall should have the manufacturer's date code on it. It will be in the form of a four-digit number, showing the month and year the tire was produced. Unfortunately, there's no expiration date. It is never a good idea to install tires on your vehicle that have been sitting on a warehouse for many years. A decent rule of thumb is not to purchase tires more than five years old, because if you use those tires for 5 years on your car, you will be driving with 10 year old tires towards the end of the tires' lifetime.

Tires that have too little pressure in them can experience a very high temperature-much hotter than properly inflated ones. The pressure in the tire keeps the tread and sidewalls from flexing. Friction caused by this flexing generates heat, which causes the rubber and the fabric construction of the tire to degrade. Although the appearance of tires can be decent, it doesn't mean the tires are still in good condition. It's impossible to see if your tires are underinflated without the help of a tire pressure gauge. The proper pressures for tires can usually be found on a sticker on the driver's door frame or inside the glovebox. They should also be in the owner's manual.

While underinflation can be a big problem, overinflation can be as well. The maximum tire inflation pressures are printed on the sidewall of the tires, and not necessarily what the vehicle manufacturer recommends. Overinflated tires will have poor traction, and the tread will wear away quickly in the center.

Deterioration of tires is also harmful for tires. Things such as ozone, road chemicals and ultraviolet light degrade the rubber on tires. But this is probably more of a problem for RV and trailer tires mounted on vehicles that are stored outside in the sun. Tire covers will keep the UV rays at bay longer. Avoid ozone damage by not storing unused tires near any ozone sources like electrical equipment or motors, pool chemicals or the like-especially indoors. Tire sidewall rubber is permeated with oils that are designed to leach out slowly and protect the rubber. Often times, aftermarket tire protectants will remove these oils, which is why they are not recommended. A small amount of weather-checking is normal. If the cracks appear on the fabric sidewall plies, it's a sign that tires need to be replaced.

Any sharp foreign object that penetrates the tire far enough to cause an air leak can be reasons to require the tire to be removed from the wheel and inspected by a tire technician for damage to the inside of the carcass. A temporary repair can be an application of an externally applied plug or worm. Repairing tires involves patching tires from the inside with a plug that not only holds air but prevents water from going into the carcass's belt plies. Water in that part of the tire can cause it to become weaker. However, a tire sidewall cannot be repaired.