White ring around tire sidewall

Well, I bought a 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 pickkup. It has 121,000 miles. The guy wanted $2800, but I talked him down to $2300. I think that will work out well.

One question, though. One of the tires has a white ring going around the sidewall. I have heard of whitewall tires, but this is not an attractive white wall. The edges of the white are all jagged and peeling. What causes this? Was this tire originally black and the black peeled away exposing a psuedo-whitewall? Any time I’ve scraped a tire, there was just more black underneath. I don’t really know what I’m looking at. Is this tire safe? You can see a pic here:


This is either a white wall, or more likely a ‘raised white letter’ tire that’s old and has some of the black rubber worn away, exposing the white rubber underneath. You’ll want to check how old the tires are, google ‘tire decoder’ to find out how to read the numbers on the sidewall. How’s the tread? Are they matching? Are they the right size?

Maybe it was a whitewall tire once, and it’s been scraped hard against something, like you suspect. My guess is that it’s not quite as strong as it was. Is the inner cord structure showing? If not, I would just watch it carefully. Of course, it’s your life you are risking, so I might be watching when it explodes and you go flying off the Interstate.

Some tires will do that if you rub them against a curb too many times, although this is by far the worst case I have ever seen. Most of the ones I see doing that are Goodyears. You may just want to keep an eye on it and replace the tires as soon as practical. I would probably replace them ASAP simply because of the ugly factor.

Ahhh. That pretty much settles it. My spare is 4 years newer and it doesn’t have the white ring! I think I’ll try that. Thanks!

And my back tires are in really good shape. Awesome.

Hold on there. This sounds like you may have some really old tyres there. Old tyres may look great, but they are not safe to drive on. Rubber is sort of like milk. Fresh is good old is dangerous. The tyres may have a coded date of manufacture

it was probably a white letter tire that someone drove against the curb for a very long time. the white inlay on either a whitewall or a white letter tire goes all the way around the tire and is normally a couple of inches wide

dates on tires, they have a code: the last three numbers on tires prior to 2000 tells the year and week example 399 39 represents the week of the year and the 9 is the year [1999] in 2000 it was changed to 4 numbers. example 2308 would be the 23 week and 08 would be the year 2008

hope this helps

Whitewall and white lettered tires have a ribbon of white rubber covered with black rubber. The black is buffed off to expose the white. Curbing buffs off some of the black but so does driving on a flat or nearly flat tire. Have the tire pulled off the rim and inspected to make sure it is safe. If there is no structural damage just have the tire remounted with the damaged side in.

The previous owner of the truck was paid by the township to be a “CURB CLEANER” LOL… Ever see people who ride their tires along the curb in order to park…LOL…CURB CLEANERS…made that up in High School after a friend of mine who couldnt park.

They either had a lettered tire OR just wore thru the thin black rubber jacket down to the white layer…which exists on both sides of the tire…you just cant see it until you clean enough curbs to reveal your true occupation to the world.

This is the classic sign that the truck was driven by a woman.
Invariably, whenever I see an SUV or pickup truck with these “accidental whitewalls”, it turns out to be a vehicle driven by a woman who consistently scraped the tire along the curb and–possibly–also hit the curb a number of times.

Personally, I would not buy the truck unless an inspection by your mechanic confirms that the front-end is still in decent condition. I have seen too many of these situations where a rim was bent and/or there was damage to ball joints and/or tie rods.