The other day I noticed that I had a lot of little cracks along the sidewall of my tire near the rim. Is this dry rot? What causes it? – Eric W.
There are a couple of potential causes for these cracks, and without being able to see the tires in person, it’s hard for us to determine the source or reason. Our initial suggestion would be for you to locate and contact a local representative for the manufacturer of your tires and ask them to take a look at your tires.
Many tires might have been built with what’s known as a “weak bead bundle” direct from the manufacturer. A weak bead bundle can cause a tire’s bead area (where the tire mates to the rim) to flex excessively, leading to cracks in the rubber around that area. If the weak bead bundle wasn’t a result of the manufacturing process, the bead may have been weakened by improper installation methods – the tire may have been stretched excessively during the installation process.
Your tires may also be “weather checked,” which simply means ozone has taken its toll on the tires. The tire may have depleted its supply of anti-ozone agents, thus rendering it vulnerable to ozone damage. Some indicators of this include premature cracking or drying of the rubber, particularly along the sidewall and bead area. This anti-ozone depletion can be accelerated through the persistent use of harsh cleaners, detergents and or dressings.
A qualified tire technician will be able to properly identify the source of the problems, and should recommend a solution.