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How do I prevent weather wear on my car tires? After 34,000 miles I am told they are so cracked as to be unsafe at high speeds.

Cracking = unsafe. How old are they? Are they out in the sun a lot?

You cannot prevent weather “checking” on tires. I’ve yet to see any actual data to show that products like “Armorall” actually prevent this condition. I’m not against using it, but I haven’t seen any actual data that it performs this function.

Generally, if that cracking is visable the tires are in need of replacement. But, like Texases, I’m curious as to how old they are and their environment.

To texases & the same mountainbike,

They are 5 years old. Yes, in the sun and all other weather; t work parking lot and driveway at home. I am going to replace them, it’s just that the tread is not bad, so hoping I could make the new ones last longer. What do y’ll think?

Once a tire turns 5 years old you’re on borrowed time. You got the useful life out of those.

To prevent weather cracking, first off don’t spray any tire shine or junk like that on there, as it dries out the rubber. Second, if you park it outside for weeks on end without driving it, get wheel covers for them. You can find them at RV supply stores.

Well all that sun is going to increase the ozone, which along with the UV light is what does the damage. Different parts of the world have more or less ozone, different seasons likewise. Avoid ozone and the sun to extend the life.

What do y’ll think? … They are 5 years old. Yes, in the sun I think it is time for a change, or at least avoid the highway.

In addition to being unsafe at high speeds, these tires are also not safe in wet weather.
The obvious cracking indicates that the tire’s rubber compound has hardened as a result of exposure to the elements over the years. A hardened tread compound=greatly reduced traction on wet surfaces.

Lollie–Replace those tires.

I agree. Change them.

Your tires are the single most important safety item on your car. They are the only thing keeping you firming connected to the pavement, the final thing enabling you to safely stop and turn, and they absorb an enormous amount of shock when you hit a bump in the road. And they’re keeping you safe at highway speeds undreamed of just a few generations ago. If they’ve started to crack, they’re compromised. A set every 5 years is a really really cheap investment in the safety of you and yours.

I use the RV tire covers on my 79 after getting a flat…PARKED.

If it’s your daily driver you can still use these quite easily. They’re a spring loaded tarp, springy like a big over-grown headband, and pop over the top of the tire with no tools.

Replace your old tires now - then cover the new ones for longevity.


A tire that has been istalled for 5 years is most likely at least 6 years old. A tire starts to age the moment it is manufactured. When a tire comes into contact with the air around it, it is exposed to ozone, which degrades the tire compound. Short of sticking the tire into a vacuum chamber, this aging process cannot be stopped/delayed. The aging process is even further accelerated, when the tire is exposed to sunlight.

Bottom line is that a 5-6 year old tire that has started to display cracks is no longer safe. Even though there is still plenty of tread left.

Here is some good reading for you:

" I am told they are so cracked as to be unsafe at high speeds."

Told by WHO?? A tire salesman? Have YOU looked closely at them?? Do YOU see any “cracks”??

Tires are very durable and last a long time… A little surface “checking” is no reason to panic…

LOLLIE, You Need To Get Out More. The Problem Isn’t So Much Old Tires As It Is Tires That Aren’t Being Used ! Live A Little ! Go On Some Excursions ! See People And Things ! Grab A Buddy And Go !

Post back here again complaining that the darn tires were plum wore out after just 60,000 miles (in 2 years) ! A 15 year old Saturn with only 100,000 miles will never be a museum piece. You only go around once.



If all tires age at the same rate then why are tires on old military vehicles not showing signs of weather checking? Our improvement district had a firetruck that was an old military truck, tires were 20+ years old w/o any cracks. If it were lack of use the ANG would be replacing tires all the time as many of their vehicles are only used once a month and a week or two during the summer. Has to be something different in the compound. I have noticed that some of the “hard” rubber brands do not seem to weather crack as bad. I’m with Lollie, I would like to know how to prevent it.

“If all tires age at the same rate…”

They don’t! Different types of tires take different types of rubber. Some rubbers are better for cracking than others, but the same rubber that doesn’t crack as easily isn’t as good for some other desirable property.

I’ll bet those old military tires were built to a specification that required a certain level of cracking resistance - and the rubber used in those tires was selected especially for that property. I’ll also bet the cost of that rubber was higher and there are certain deficiencies as a result.

But if you are talking about passenger car tires, the types of rubber compounds used are reasonably similar, but there are enough differences that its hard to make blanket statements.

Tires for consumer use have waxes and antioxidants (AO’s) in the rubber compound to slow down the oxidation that leads to cracking. These waxes and AO’s migrate to the surface and while the waxes form a barrier, the AO’s consume the oxygen. Many tire dressing remove those waxes and some even attack the AO’s - leading to more rapid cracking. BTW, you can not prevent the cracking, just slow it down.

So what you’ll want is a product that has AO’s in it and doesn’t dissolve the waxes. You can be sure if the product results in a black smear on your hand after application, it’s not good for the tire.

Maybe Lollie’s just saving gas like me.
I ride a bike to work and drive 3-4000 miles a year.

Get another opinion. I’m not convinced you need new tires.

If we were talking motorcycle tires I’d replace five year old tires, but on a car I’d not replace them unless the cracks are really deep. If you can see the cord in the sidewall due to cracks, replace them. Otherwise get some other opinions. I can live with some surface cracks on my tires.

Some tires places can find surface cracks to show you on relatively new tires (2 or 3 years old) and use scare tactics to sell more tires.