Car just passed inspection ... with cracks in the tires?

Car is a 1999 Honda Civic.

My car was inspected yesterday. I needed the A pipe replaced (exhaust pipe connected to the muffler) and a radiator leak repaired or maybe the radiator replaced. I’m in dire straits, and this was paid for by a charity. I really need my car, as I will have nowhere to stay as of this coming Saturday. Anyway, the repairs were made and the car passed inspection.

I drove off, made a stop somewhere, happened to glance at one of my tires, and noticed deep cracks in it. Odd that I hadn’t noticed these before, because I’ve had trouble with dry rot before. These are top-of-the-line tires (bought back when I had money as an investment against skidding accidents), but they’re four years old now.

I called the Honda place to ask about it, and the guy was annoyed with the question. He said they knew my situation and they were trying to help me out, then finally said the mechanic felt my tires were good for another year. This was a Honda service center, by the way.

Granted, I needed it to pass inspection, but would it pass with tires that have dry rot? The first time I had dry rot, the cracks were barely noticeable and had to be pointed out to me. (That time, they were only one year old, within the warranty period and so got replaced.) This time, the cracks are much bigger and deeper, and in all the tires (easy to see, once I looked). Now I’m worried that I’ll have a blowout very soon.

Not much I can do about it with no money, but I’d like to at least know what to expect. Seriously, if the cracks are that bad, wouldn’t the mechanic fail it for inspection?

Last question: Is dry rot the same thing as weather cracking? Is weather cracking dangerous?

As I said in your previous post, and as others have said: The important point you (OP) seem to be missing is: If you own an old car, you need money for the repairs when it breaks. And it will break. If you can’t afford to keep it running, sell it.

Tires should not develop cracks after 4 years, but that will probably fail inspection in most states. From your statement, the mechanic let you get by with bad tires as a favor, something that could cause him to lose his job. But it does depend on the state.

Without seeing the tire, it is hard to say. I do not know how your state works, but ours only inspects for emissions failure, not even brake lights are checked.

No one can evaluate your tires without seeing them. Since you have no money, just drive on. What you can do is check the air pressure and adjust as needed monthly or more frequently.

ALL tires crack over time. It is a matter of degree as to whether or not they are suitable for continued use.

In other words, cracks by themselves are not enough to fail an inspection. It depends on how bad they are.

But ultimately, if you are unsatisfied with the tires and the inspection, then take appropraite steps - don’t go there anymore and replace the tires.

I was assuming large, easily visible cracks. I have never seen this in a tire. But the others are correct, it depends on the state. Some don’t check tires at all.

I gather from this post and your other post, that you have no money and will soon be living out of your car.
I presume that the mechanic and service manager felt that because of your situation you would not be driving much. No income, no gas and no where to go.

I think they let the tires slide as a favor because of your situation and yet you are complaining about the results. The charity paid for your parts…I presume the brakes that you needed too…and the dealer picked up the cost of the labor.

What exactly do you want.
Would you rather the dealer not pass your car.

Go back to the charity and ask for them to buy new tires for you.

I think you need to park your car where there are many small businesses and start using your feet to go door to door…every door… asking if they are hiring. After you have covered the surrounding walking distance move the car to the next area.
Don’t whine about your situation and don’t mention you live in your car. Just ask if they are looking for help. It wouldn’t hurt to keep track and on paper and stop back in 10 days and ask again.
I have someone in my family that went from flipping burgers for $10/hr, to janitorial help $17/hr. and this job he can walk to in less than 10 minutes. The flipping burgers, he needed to depend on family to drive him every day.

There are jobs out there, but you need to work to find them.


I have no idea what state you’re in or how the statute on tires is worded. I would be surprised if the statute states that tires should be failed over dry rot.

Generally speaking, safety inspections usually dwell on tread depth minimums and not much more.

Used tires are an option.

I had Goodyear put tires on my car that were dry rotted. They sat on a shelf for 7 years before they put them on my car. I insisted they replace them. Here is how you can tell how old your tires are.!3756!3!72454655173!e!!g!!tire%20date%20code&ef_id=UvTuDAAAAUnxqOZb:20150730140334:s

My state does require tires to be safe as part of the inspection. The treads are still within safe limits. I will have someone look at them regarding the cracks. I’d still like to know whether dry rot and weather cracking are the same thing?

For those who are so superior because they’re not in my position, realize that I am trying to survive. I need to get through these immediate problems so I can build my life back up. I’d much rather earn money and pay my own way than beg for charity, but right now I need help.

Still, it’s no favor to ignore a problem that could be a safety hazard. My post here is one way of trying to find out how much of a risk it is to drive with these like this.

BillRussell, yes, these are large, easily visible cracks.

circuitsmith, thanks for the idea of used tires.
knfenimore, thanks for the link.

Can you post a photo of the tire’s sidewall?

Dry rot and weather cracking are the same thing. I still have no idea how the statute is worded in your state so I cannot state whether or not the tires should pass or whether they’re unsafe or not.

Some very minor dry rot is not a problem but when it evolves into lengthy cracks it is a problem that has nothing to do with passing an inspection. It becomes a life on the line issue then.

When OK used to have an inspection program and I held an inspector’s license the main thing we looked at was making sure the tire tread met a minimum depth and that there was no sidewall damage or steel popping out anywhere. Failing a car over severe cracking was an option.

The last thing an inspector wanted was to look the other way and have someone go out and get killed 20 minutes later when an iffy tire blew out on the freeway.

If you could post a few closeup pics of the trouble area we might be able to tell you whether they’re dangerous or to motor on with no worry.

Don’t worry about you financial position. Most of us have been there and done that; sometimes repeatedly.

This is either a troll or someone who regularly bites the hand that feeds them.

Maybe you are confusing “cracks” with “weather checking”…Weather checking amounts to little more than surface blemishes and they don’t degrade the safety of the tires…Are you trying to get the charity to buy you a set of tires too??

Quote;For those who are so superior because they’re not in my position,

I don’t think anyone here feels superior. We are just trying to help you in any way we can, evewn giving pointers on finding a job.
My nephew thought that because it was an office building…there would be no jobs for someone like him. He works full time and is pretty much left to do his job without much supervision and he loves it.

As noted by OK4450…we’ve all been there at least once.


Very true. I remember back in the mid 80s watching the local news one evening and a story was done about the collapse of Penn Square Bank in OK City. Tragic I thought, but that doesn’t affect me. I was dead wrong.

The bank failure had a ripple effect nationwide and the economy here went from booming and could not even get a hotel room at gunpoint to everything dying over 2 weeks time. The dealer where I worked went from buried in work every day to standing around until noon without even unlocking the toolbox. For someone working on flat rate with 3 kids I was suffering big time watching that clock creep along and not earning a single dime while doing so.
One popular bumper sticker being sold in convenience stores all over town was “Will the last person out of town turn off the lights”.

A few weeks of this cxxp and I branched out to find a job but it led to a 160 miles a day round trip commute.
Not long afterwards the dealer where I had worked started folding up and closed down as did several other dealers and independents. Thank God my new tool box was paid off before everything died… :smiley:

Tough times are nothing to be ashamed of.

Mountainbike, I can’t post a photo. I took the car to a tire shop and asked. Yeah, I know, they have a vested interest in selling tires, but I think the guy gave an honest answer. He doesn’t think the tires will last a year, as Honda said, but he thinks they’ll be safe for another 3 - 6 months, which is all I’m asking.

OK, you’re right - it’s the danger to my life (and anyone else who’s around when a tire blows) that I’m really concerned about. The guy told me that ozone cracking (that’s what he called it) isn’t as severe as dry rot. He said what I have is too severe to be just ozone cracking.

Oldtimer, are you that troll you’re referring to? Was there anything helpful or constructive in your post???

Caddyman, I’m trying to find out whether those tires are safe to keep driving on. Oh yes, and I’m trying to survive. I’m NOT trying to bilk any charities, but if Honda had cleared my car when it was unsafe, you bet I’d follow up on that.

Yosemite, thanks for making it clear that you’re trying to help.

OK, you’re right, tough times are nothing to be ashamed of, but so many people seem to think I should be ashamed. Those people need a dose of what I’m going through so they can acquire some insight.

Anyway, thanks to all who answered with info regarding my car questions.

I had factory skills so that got me through a few times, back when they paid reasonable wages. Of course you have to be in good physical condition for that and young. Bruce Williams the talk show host if anyone remembers the guy, had a standing bet that he could be dropped off anywhere in the US without a dime and would be making money by the end of the day. He never said how but the guy was a real entrepreneur. Sounded like he’d be knocking on doors to do whatever, run errands, drive cars, etc. He was also a great salesman so no doubt he’d walk into a business and challenge them that he could sell more than their best guy if he was put to work.

Its tough to see the opportunities sometimes but in my experience there wasn’t one hard time that I didn’t come out better because of it. Of course back then you could buy four white wall recapped tires mounted from Firestone for $100. Only thing with used tires is that mounting and balancing can still run the bill up. Then again physical health can make all the difference.

Its a very simple test, run a finger nail over the tire, if it easily scrapes up a dry black powder, you have dry rot. If you get a little oily black substance (very little to none) then the tires are good(ish). If you can see the cords of the tires in the cracks, then even if they are not dry rotted, the tire still can’t be trusted.