CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Rubber

why do things made of rubber disintergrate so fast now?,Kevin.

Your post had me so concerned that I just went out to the garage to check on my tires and my serpentine belt. Luckily, they are all still intact, and appear quite normal.

Can you elaborate on your rubber observations?

;-))

Sunlight.

I’m not sure exactly what you mean, but I’ll point out that belts and hoses last much longer now than in the old days.

Ozone and other air pollutants, heat.

Unlike VDC, your post made me look in my wallet…

I’m no chemist, but here’s an interesting link on th esubject
http://www.balloonhq.com/faq/deco_releases/degradability.html

Understand that many of the elastomers we classify as “rubber” and actually synthetic, actually polymers. Different polymers are subject to different kinds and rate of deterioration.

One way they discovered ozone pollution was bad for rubber was (years ago) finding out that tires stored for several years in an LA warehouse cracked and degraded, even though they were out of the sun, and temps weren’t too extreme.

And then they make plastic shopping bags and six-pack collars that NEVER degrade !

I think belts and hoses hold up much better than they used to. The wiper blade insert thing is still pretty shaky though… :slight_smile:

Maybe so on the belts,I had a guy tell that he never changed a timing belt on some older civics and ran them like 300K,maybe the older civics had timing chains or the mechanic done it.Anyway it seems like tires for cars and lawnmowers"dry rot" real quick now(forget trying to plug a tubeless lawnmower tire)-Kevin

Excellent point Ken.

Kmccune, I put tubes in my tubeless snowblower tires. They hold air far, far better now.

Price Points…“Rubber” can be made that will last almost forever…But making things that last forever is not the goal of most manufacturers…

The WORST rubber product I ave ever seen are the black rubber tie-down straps (bungee cords) that are made in China and sold in “dollar” stores…They last about a week…I have a Neoprene 1" water hose, an industrial garden hose, that is 40 years old and is in like new condition…It sits out in the sun for 6 months out of the year…

Yep,TSMB-I also run tubes in any small tire I fix now-Kevin