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Tire Dry Rot

The last two sets of Michelin tires have shown/developed dry rot. I have read the discussions and the car is driven regularly and tire pressures are checked weekly. I am now wondering if my wife’s always parking the vehicle an a bed of leaves (rather then the concrete drivaway) might be the cause or accelerant of this condition. Without going into the why (noone has that much time to waste) most of the discussions from those in the know always mention heat and oxidation so I am wondering if the decaying “leaf bed” is having a similiar affect, If anyone has had a similiar situation (a long shot) or has any thoughts I would appreciate your thoughts/reply.

I have experienced dry rot tire failure, but not from leaves though ( not a whole lot of leaves in the high desert southwest ) so I can’t really say if the decomposition of old leaves does anything more than UV exposure and time.

My 1979 pickup has a GRAND TOTAL of 70,000 miles on it yet is on its THIRD set of tires due to UV exposure and time. Once, the left front just popped while it was parked in the back driveway.

Any idea what the age of the tires (from the code on the sidewall) was?

I’d want to know how old the tires are and what state you live in. Harsh sunlight can be pretty tough on rubber.

i have been in the automotive repair business for over 40 years.
the past few years Michelin tires seem to develop “dry rot” more than any other brand that i have seen lately. Maybe they changed the composition.
Is parking on the grass causing the problem? I do not think so.
Some weather checking is normal and will occur in all tires. If is just superficial then do not worry about it.

I would not worry about the leaves.

More likely other environmental conditions and/or tyre composition.

It’s the weather (mostly the sun), not the leaves.

All good questions and I certainly appreciate the responses. The Michelins (Synmetry) have been on the vehicle 2 years. I live in South Carolina so I understand the weather aspects but I have had other tires (Kelly Sproingfield on my truck) and 3 jeeps (kids you know) and have never had this problem. To be more specefic (hoping this is not read by better half) the leaves are really more a “compost” pile (we have leaves and pine needles falling 6-8 months of the year) and she prefers to rake them into a certain area into a “bed” upon which she parks the car. I sensed with all the discussions regarding oxidation and so forth that I should at least ask the question. On a related note, in researching tires to replace the Michelins I am down to 2. Pirelli P4’s (@$90) or Michelin X (@SAMS) or HydroEdge (@119 -$125). They seem comparable in almost every aspect but it is quite an expense and would greatly appreciate any comments, suggestions or experiences anyone might have. Again I really appreciate all the info and will do better to incude more info next time.

Yes checking the MFG date on the tires is very good advice. Also…any time you spray any type of Tire shine on your tires you are asking for premature dry rot of the outer casing of the tires.

Do you have your car detailed a lot? DO you use the tire shine products? If so…STOP…they all cause damage to that rubber… I havent seen any mfg’s of these products that say on the bottle…will not dry rot tires…until I do I dont use the stuff…OK I dont use it often… I only used it on my Porsche 914 because the car is nice enough to clean the entire thing…my other cars it doesnt matter about shiny tires most of the time.

Yes stay away from that stuff…Armorall is the WORST OFFENDER in this category.

Tire dry rot is pretty common here in OK no matter the tire brand. The summer sun and heat which often exceeds 100 degrees, and hits 110 on a regular basis, can do them in pretty quickly.

For what it’s worth, a project car I went and looked at a few years back (and did not buy) had 4 pretty decent tires on it. The car had been sitting for half a dozen years with one side facing the sun and the other side shielded to some extent.
The sunny side tires were at least moderately weather checked and on the shielded side it was barely noticeable.

On another note, I’ve seen some antique motorcycle tires that were in storage for 50 years and they appeared as new with zero dry rot and the rubber still supple. These tires were paper wrapped and of course had always been shielded from the elements.

The car (actually all my vehicles) are washed regularly and waxed monthly but I have never used any tire dressing or other chemical. The tires were manufactured 11-2007 and were on the vehicle when I purchased it 3-2008. I am new to this forum but appreciate all the info.

Cracking of rubber is just part of the aging process of rubber. The problem is of degree - how bad is “bad”.

Hard tread rubbers tend to develop cracks fairly early, but last a long time before bad things happen. Sidewall rubber tends not to crack as quickly, but when it does, it tends to quickly turn into a bad situation.

Nevertheless, the leaves are no a major player here - and certainly not enough to start a marital dispute!

I’d worry more about parking the car on the “bed” of loose dry leaves and pine needles that the car might ignite the “pile” and go up in flames, tires and all.

The cat converter can get very hot. Where she parks the car seems like a fire hazard to me.

The repair shop next door has seen the same prob on Michelin tires. Dunno why, but they are the worst, IMO. I like them, but they crack just above the mounting bead. Google “tire rot Michelin” or try “crack” and look around

When I am in the States, I live in a retirement park in McAllen. We have the Winter Texans who leave cars parked by their mobile home all summer while they escape the heat, then return in the autumn.

they do a variety of things go cover those wheels, from plywood shoved inside the wheel well, to plastic covers from Autozone et al.

“My 1979 pickup…”

That sounds like more than 10 years out of each set. That’s long enough.