Tire cracking



I have Michlin tires that have some small cracking on the sidewalls. Some near the rim and also near the tread. The tires are about 6 years old, are the original tires that came on the car. The tread still has a lot of miles left. Should I worry about the small cracks? The car is a 2004 model.


I would go ahead and replace them. You don’t want to take any chances with your tires.


This is hard without seeing. I personally would go to two or three tire shops and see what they think. Some are honest out there. Get estimates for replacement at same time. Independents are likely better choice for this.

Also major factor is where you live and how car is parked typically(garaged or not).


Another factor is chronic underinflation.
The extra amount of flexing that the sidewalls have to do when the tire is underinflated make cracking of the rubber more likely after a few years. Just one more reason to check inflation pressure every few weeks.

Yes, you should replace them.


The tires are probably from 2003, but there’s a date code on the tires that you can check if you want to be sure. It seems like the general consensus these days is to replace them due to age at maybe eight to ten years. Tire Rack’s web site has some articles on this if you care to read them. I’ve heard a lot of people say that minor cracking is okay, but I’d be a little concerned about that myself.

Do you plan to keep the car between one and eight more years? If so, that makes this an easy decision, since you’ll need exactly one more set of tires anyway, so you might as well buy them now.


Sidewall “checking”, tiny surface cracking, is common with tires and is not a safety issue…However if there are CRACKS that are deep enough to expose the cord, that’s another story. It is quite common for Michelin’s tread to outlast their sidewalls…


I was just thinking about the ‘dangerous old tires’ issue: I bet lots of old tires that fail, fail because they’re damaged (run low on pressure, hit curbs, etc), not just because they’re old. Old tires have more time to be damaged, so it’s to be expected that old tires fail more often.


I agree…I agree also, you pay closer attention to inflation pressures if you haven’t already. Tiny surface cracking on mid-age tires is like cracking on your basement floor. If it isn’t there, let me come over and put some in…it’s not uncommon or dangerous.
But if you’re nervous, buy new. That’s really all that matters.


This is a specific problem for Michelin. Google “Michelin tires cracking” for some info. You need to replace the tires, yesterday.


i have noted this problem with michelins over the years also but have never seen one fail because of it. they use a softer rubber that seems susceptible to this. not too hard to check the depth with a toothpick or something that won’t deepen the cracks.