Tyres are one of the most abused components of a vehicle. A tyre has to deal with varied road conditions, temperature and driving style. Moreover, tyres are also exposed to acid rain, brake dust, harsh chemicals and sunlight. However, tyre compounds are treated to handle these conditions.
The anti-aging chemicals and oils in the tyre compound ensures that the tyre performs well till its tread lasts. However, sometimes the rubber compound might loose its elasticity overtime and as a result, small cracks might start developing.
These cracks are often called Weather Checking, Ozone Cracking or Weather Cracking. At first, these small cracks start developing on the tyre sidewall or between the tread grooves. Most of the times, these cracks are very minor and not very deep therefore, there is not much to worry about them. However, if the cracks run deep into the rubber then the tyre might need to be replaced.
Almost all tyres will exhibit some amount of cracking later in their life but the cracking can be accelerated by heat, vehicle exhaust, sunlight and brake dust. For example, if the vehicle is mostly parked indoor then there is less likelihood of tyre cracking.
Special attention should also be given while choosing the tyre cleaner and dressing products as some of them might contain chemicals that dry up the tyre's anti-oxidants and anti-ozone protection.
It is also observed that if the vehicle is driven frequently then it resists tyre cracking. This is because when the tyre compound is stretched, the oils in the tyre compound are redistributed and this keeps the tyre supple. This is the reason that the cars that remain parked mostly, for instance the show cars, show signs of tyre cracking earlier.
Apart from the deterioration of tyre compound due to external factor, sometimes driving on under inflated or over-inflated tyre can also cause excessive stretching of rubber and surface cracks might appear.
What you can do to prevent tyre cracking-
- Maintain proper tyre pressure
- Do not overload the vehicle
- Park in shade, if possible
- Don't use tyre cleaners excessively
- Clean tyres with soap and water frequently to remove contaminants like brake dust
- Drive your vehicle frequently
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