Tire rot can dry out rubber long before the tread is gone
Cooley On Cars
Hey folks Cooley again got another one of your e-mails about high tech cars and modern driving.
This one comes in from angelr he is in Glendale Arizona says a tire dealer told me I had to replace my tires on my 2014 Impala because they had been on the car since I bought it new, even though he says they still had a lot of tread left at about 29,000 miles.
I had never heard of tire rot, and the weather where I live isn't extreme enough in my opinion.
What do you think?
He asks me.
Well Angel i'm afraid that your dealer and your tire store and I were not bssing you.
Tire rot is a real thing.
It can be brought about by several factors in the environment.
First of all ambient heat.
You live in a hot climate High heat temperatures tend to age tires faster, dry out some of the compounds that keep them pliable and rubbery.
They're not made of natural rubber anymore, a whole lot of other things are going on in there.
Ozone, the ozone in the environment that we hear about all the time from environmental point of view also attacks the nice pliability and cohesion of the molecules in a tire, like it does any other rubber product.
This one attacks all the rubber in your car.
We've done recent segments about how it attacks some of the trim and seals around your doors and how you can prevent that.
It does the same thing to your tires especially if your outdoors a lot.
And the car is parked out there but every hour you're out driving in the sun especially where you live.
It's getting baked in UV.
And finally, in very different climates than yours.
Salty, slushy, long winters, those are hard on tires too.
You are out there driving in kind of a wet soup of salt and road chemicals and oil that's coming up.
So what do you look to make sure you have tire rot versus just being told you do.
First of all examine the side walls.
This is the easiest thing to do.
Look for tiny, tiny cracks that really look like crazing that you might see on porcelain.
We walked out a minute ago and look at my Crown Vic, and sure enough, I've got quite a bit of crazing on my side walls that I hadn't noticed until you sent your emails, so guess who's gonna be buying new tires pretty soon?
We looked at our CNet van, and nothing of the type.
It has slightly newer tires, and maybe has lives an easier life, apparently.
So you can see the difference there pretty clearly.
If you don't see it there, that doesn't mean you don't have a problem.
Turn the tire out, and look at your tread blocks, the actual parts of the tread that stick up, and see if you've got cracking across those blocks.
It can be more pronounced there, I find, than on the sidewall, easier to spot.
And obviously it's troublesom because pieces of your tread could start to separate and come off.
Then you've got something you can't see which is a hardening of the rubber compound.
When you're rubber compound gets harder you won't see it, but you may feel it.
When you go through a turn one day that you've handled 100 times at a certain speed and this time the car gets a It's a little squirrely.
Maybe it's a little damp and the car gets loose where it never used to.
That can be a hardening of the rubber compound.
Where you're a little bit more driving on billiard balls than driving on donuts if you know what I mean.
And that can give you a lack of stability.
And finally, the data approach to this is to look at your tires for their manufactured date.
You should find a four digit code.
Looks kind of like this And that means the week, and the year, two and two, when your tire was manufactured, since the year 2000.
If you find you have tires with three digits for their date code, the first two are the week, the third digit is the year of the last century.
You're done, you need new tires, park it.
So unfortunately the reality is yes, tires often age before they wear out.
If your tire store is telling you that, they're not necessarily spinning a line of bull.
It doesn't feel good having tires full of tread taken off, but there can be good reasons.
They're starting to break down, become less reliable, less safe.
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