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Tire Dry Rot

When I went to Discount Tire to get a tire leak on one tire repaired, I was told that while I have a lot of tread left on the tires, they have dry rot. Perhaps this is because I don’t drive nearly as much as I used to so I am acquiring fewer miles between tire changing. So I am unfamiliar with this phenomenon. My question is whether I should get new tires even though the tread left is fine? Is this dangerous?

How old are the tires? Use this to figure it out:

Can you see any cracks? What did they mean by ‘dry rot’?

I should have mentioned that the tires were bought new in 2004, and the warranty is good for another 20,000 miles, which is why I was so startled. There are no cracks. As far as the definition of “dry rot” goes, that it precisely why I am asking this question on the forum! I take it to mean a kind of disintegration, not in the tread (I don’t think) but on the side walls of the tires. But I am not sure. He could just have been trying to sell me new tires, for all I know.

I was wondering if a definition “dry rot” by the manufacture of your tires is contained in your warranty and if dry rot is a condition that the warranty applies too.

Check the number on the tire, they’re at least 6 years old, but may have been a few years old when they were sold. Much over 6 is getting old for tires.

Which number?

I’ve seen this phenomenon a lot lately and I wonder if recent production methods are producing a tire more susceptible to this - during the last several years, I have tires that aren’t old at all that are getting small cracks in the sidewalls. I’m pretty sure a lot of this is due to UV damage, on my vehicles that spend all their time outside.

I think tire dressing helps to make the rubber last longer, but I’m not good about keeping it applied. I don’t know how to describe how to look at the tires, but I think it’s gotta be pretty severe dry rot before it becomes a safety issue.

Look at my first post.

Sorry. At that point I thought I knew how old my tires were!! Looks like the 45th week of 2002. I don’t know if the letters after DOT but before the numbers mean anything, but just in case: HD WC CP3X. By the way, when I look at the tires, I can’t see anything, so surely the dry rot cannot be that bad. On the other hand, they seem to be 8 years old.

Sorry, but that is long enough for dry rot. If you are in an area where the tyres are exposed to ozone or a lot of sun light, I would not want those tyres on my car.

I think 10 years is about the longest you wanna go on a tire, regardless of miles, before you change it out. If your tires are 8 years old, then it’s time to change them based on time, rather than miles(just like an oil change)

Yup, those letters and numbers mean something:

At 8 years old, the tires are trying to tell you they are too old for your environment.

Oh and the warranty? Typically, weather related conditions (and “dry rot” is a weather related condition) is covered for the 1st 4 years, and the tires themselves only have a 6 year warranty.

If the tire rubber is cracked to the point you can see “cord” at the base of the crack, for sure replace the tires. Most times the cracking is very minor and only on the surface of the rubber, meaning the tires can go awhile longer.

Turn the front wheels of the car to get a good look at the tread and sidewalls. Get out a good flashlight and really examine the tires. If what you see concerns you take the car to a trusted mechanic, not a tire dealer, for another opinion.

I have 2 cars an SUV, a boat trailer, and a horse trailer. I put relatively low miles on all of them buy spreading the useage around. If I replaced tires every 8 years I’d go broke.

2 years ago I replaced the boat trailer tires that dated back to 1987, they held air fine but had bad cracking and I could see the cord in some areas of the sidewall. I lived with the cracking for a few years because I only used the trailer to store the boat with only 3 miles of low speed driving per year. I replaced the tires to prep the trailer for an 8 hour trip to visit friends using interstate roads. The old tires weren’t safe for highway speeds.

On the other vehicles I check the tires but won’t change them just on time alone until they are at least 10+ years old. If you do a lot of high speed driving, take your Subaru to “track days” at the local race track, or notice a lot of tire spin on wet roads you may want to replace your tires based on performance.

On a motorcycle I pay much more attention to “dry rot”. Since many bikes are ridden few miles per season a 5 year old bike tire can look good, but have “hardened” up to the point where it can slide out when pushed hard in a tight corner. If you have a motorcycle 5 years is time to change out the rubber that meets the road.

There sure is a lot of contradictory information in these responses. But I think I will go ahead and get a second opinion from my mechanic. I will ask this, however. After I had the air leak fixed on the one tire and had the tires rotated and balanced, I’m noticing some shimmying at high speeds. Can dry rot be a cause of this (because it is not likely the tread)? They are still under warranty, and I would get a prorated discount per tire if I changed them out now. Or might they have just not balanced the tires properly?

Dry rot is an indication of the condition of the rubber - not only on the surface, but within the tire itself. Since the tires are 8 years old, the tires could be starting to break down.

My advice would be to replace the tires and not risk a structural failure.