Hairline cracks

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Jun 10, 2002
Chattanooga, TN
I have a set of Yokohama Avids touring with about 40,000 miles on them and 4 years old. They have all developed hairline cracks on the sidewalls near the wheels. I would like opinions as to whether these hairline cracks are dangerous or just normal after several years of use. I have emailed Yokohama but not received a reply as yet. Always kept the pressure around 30 psi with max cold pressure listed at 35 psi. So, is this normal and safe? thanks
I've seen several tires develop these. Note that I'm not a tire tech so this is just my opinion. Sidewalls have an outer layer of expendable rubber for scraping against curbs, etc. There are several more layers holding the air in and tire together. The tire manufacturer expects some reasonable percentage of tires to get only 10,000 miles per year and will/should make the rubber ozone/uv proof enough to outlast the tread for this time. You do want to watch for tread seperation, cracks that follow the circumference at the corner where the sidewall meets the tread. That's where the infamous ford/firestones went out.
Have these tires inspected for warranty consideration. The best you can expect is prorated coverage. I've seen these before at Pirelli, 245/25/18 I think Winter 210's. Tires should not develop any cracks let alone near the tire bead.
Probably just "weather checks" from the Va winters and hot summers. If the tires aren't given a weekly bath in non-petroleum distillate tire protectant. Ozone is bad for tires [Frown]
I bought two 03 Montanas that came with General XP2000 tires which developed cracks all over the sidewalls within 20k. They were deep cracks that actually looked like someone had taken a knife to them. All 8 tires were replaced free by GM. This condition is abnormal though. Hairline cracks as you described are common after several years of weathering. Can't hurt to ask about a warranty though, even if they do pro-rate it.
Rubber degrades with time and use and cracks are a way of judging how far along you are on the aging process. Hairline cracks are fine, no matter where they appear. As these cracks grow, they will become unsightly, but not dangerous. However, other types of cracks might be dangerous, but unless you are familiar with tires, it can be difficult to tell the difference. However, cracks in the sidewall might be an indication that there isn't enough inflation pressure. You should be using at least what the placard says and completely ignore what is written on the sidewall, except not to exceed the maximum value (and there are some exceptions to that) BTW, tread separations are an inside out proposition and you generally will notice this as a bulge. Tread separations don't grow from outside cracking. Hope this helps. [ October 13, 2004, 07:16 AM: Message edited by: CapriRacer ]
Thanks, sort of what I suspected. I keep the pressure near the max cold for better tread wear so under inflation should not have been a cause. Will keep an eye on them and see.
i had a tire develop cracks on the sidewall and one day doing about 75 the tread peeled off the tire and went flying up in the air. i pulled over and my tire had no tread ! it was bald like a racing slick because all the tread peeled off. it still held air to i drove it the 20 mile distance i had left to get home.
Originally posted by Spector: I have a set of Yokohama Avids touring with about 40,000 miles on them and 4 years old. They have all developed hairline cracks on the sidewalls near the wheels.
Have you ever used ArmorAll on them?
It's probably just dry-rot. All rubber ages and develop the same cracking. Typically nothing to be worried about, but you will have reduced traction. The rubber is no where near as grippy as it was when new (in all conditions, but dry in particular... the other conditions depend more on tread wear). Just take a good look at your tread and make sure it's all there, not wearing on the harder to see inside edge excessively. That's usually the only thing that would cause a tread separation. One side wearing down so that the steel belts are showing and then it will begin to separate because the one side doesn't have much it's holding onto anymore. At 4 years old, dry rot typically is visible no matter how good the tire originally was.
Pirelli warranty covers age cracks for 4 years. They may not cover them if you use any sidewall detailer. They told me that if the inboard sidewall looks different from the outside sidewall they may not cover cracking under warranty.
Originally posted by Quattro Pete: Have you ever used ArmorAll on them?
Armor All shouldn't cause cracks in tires anymore. Those stories are decades old. Most tire protectants should be okay these days, but if you're really worried just avoid clear products with petroleum in them.
The set of Michelin Symmetry's that I had on the Lumina developed craks around the circumference at the tread/sidewall interface after about a year in the hot Texas sun. They lasted well over 50k miles (six years) until a couple of weeks ago. I went to rotate the tires and after pulling the car into the garage, I noticed that the sidewall had split on the sidewall where the smooth sidewall transitions into the serrated portion where the brand markings are. I would have never noticed this if the split wasn't down at the bottom where the pavement "buldge" is. I don't know how long this split was there. Cracks in tires now get my full attention.
Originally posted by 4DSC: Armor All shouldn't cause cracks in tires anymore. Those stories are decades old.
I'll admit, it was back in '96-'97 that I got cracks on my tires after using ArmorAll. Maybe they've changed their formulation since.
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