5 Causes of Dry Rot in Tires (and How to Prevent It)

Tires are some of the most sensitive parts of any car. They are subjected to so much impact from the road and the temperatures of their environment. There might come a point when you notice small cracks forming all along the treads and sidewalls of your tires.

Do not confuse these with worn out tires because they are not the same thing.

When you drive a car frequently, the treads of the tires will eventually fade and lose their texture. But when you see these little cracks forming all over your tires, this is called dry rot.

Your tires don’t get dry rot from driving too much. In fact, it is just the opposite. You will learn about this and more as you continue reading.

See Also: Best Tire Brands For Every Season

What Causes Dry Rot On Tires?

In layman’s terms, dry rot is when the rubber of your tires starts to break down and diminish. Age does play a factor in this, but there are much bigger contributing factors as well.

To help you understand the reasons better, below are the 5 main causes of dry rot.

1) Hot Temperatures

high intake temperature

Hot temperatures can cause your tires to have dry rot. The most common example of this is people who leave their cars in a hot garage. During the summertime, temperatures can get to be well over 100 degrees in a garage.

If you store your car in a garage with temperatures like this, then don’t be surprised if dry rot begins to form on your tires.

2) Cold Temperatures

driving in the snow

Extremely cold temperatures can cause dry rot on your tires as well. Those who live in northern regions where it is snowy and icy might be forced to eventually deal with dry rot issues.

It would have to be very cold for this to happen, though (think Alaska, Montana, and most of Canada). If your car normally sees low temperature environments for most of the year, then this will wear down your tires very quickly. Then you may have dry rot as a result.

3) Low Tire Pressure

best tire manufacturers in the world

You need to keep your tires’ pressure at the recommended level for your vehicle. If you don’t regularly check your tire pressure and fill it up with air when it’s low, then you’ll be driving around with low tire pressure.

Whenever this happens, it can lead to the possibility of getting dry rot on your tires along with all the other types of tire damage that normally occur. You need to be sure to keep your tires filled with air so that their pressure can be sustained.

4) Stagnation

long term car storage

Do you drive your vehicle frequently? Many people might own a car that they don’t drive too often. This could be a second car or some kind of luxury car that is only driven every so often.

There are many negative things that can happen if you don’t drive your car regularly. Aside from the internal problems you could have with your vehicle, stagnation can also promote dry rot on your tires.

5) Sunlight

bright sunny day

Sunlight might be good for plants, but it is not good for tires. If you live in a southern area like Florida, your tires might get dry rot if you leave your car parked outside for long periods of time.

If the sunlight is shining directly on your tires all day, for instance, then it will deteriorate them much faster. This is especially true if your tires are older and are already starting to wear from age.

How to Prevent Tire Dry Rot

Most people think there is nothing to worry about if you regularly drive your vehicle and maintain the tire pressure in your tires. But these actions alone will not prevent dry rot entirely.

You need to take every precaution necessary to protect your tires and make them last for as long as possible. Below are three good ways to prevent dry rot.

1) Keep Out of the Sun

car cover storage

The first thing you can do is prevent sunlight from shining down on your tires when your vehicle is parked for long periods of time. There are two ways to approach this solution. You can either park your vehicle inside of a garage or you can cover your vehicle if it is left outside.

The best solution will probably be to cover your vehicle with a car cover and just leave it on your driveway. This will block the sunlight and keep your vehicle out of the much hotter garage.

2) Tire Pressure and Cleaning

best tire pressure gauge

Of course, you need to regularly check the tire pressure of all your tires. If any of the tires are low, fill them up with air. You can find an air pump at a gas station or there are home air pumps that you can purchase as well.

Aside from this, you’ll want to do more than just fill your tires with air. You should also clean your tires once a month with soap and water. Dirt and debris stuck on your tires can diminish them. Cleaning away this debris will stop that from happening.

3) Tire Dressing

If the dry rot is still new on your tires and there are only small cracks showing, you might be able to salvage your tires before the dry rot gets worse. A water-based tire dressing formula might be able to seal small cracks in your tires if applied immediately.

There is no guarantee it will work, so don’t wait too long to try this out. Some tire dressing products offer UV resistance too. This could be a great alternative to covering your car under the sun.


3 thoughts on “5 Causes of Dry Rot in Tires (and How to Prevent It)”

  1. I have a every day given vehicle and only 1 tire dry rotted. Is it true that paint thinner and alcohol are 2 things that will cause dry rot on tires if the car is being driven everyday? B.v I recently found 6 batteries in my gas tank also. The tire that’s dry rotted is the back one on the same side as my gas tank.

  2. I live in central Florida on the East coast. How often should you drive your car to help prevent dry rot? I don’t drive it very often, often I’ll go a week or two without driving it. The car is parked outside and two of the tires face West and are in the sunlight all day; The other two are blocked most of the day by another car so they don’t get much direct sunlight. I’ve read that driving that car regularly helps prevent dry rot because it does something to the rubber. Should I drive the car everyday for a couple of miles or every week or every other day or what?


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