Are small cracks in tyres dangerous and will it fail my MOT?


Checking that your tyres are in good condition is an important element of your road safety and in maintaining your car’s handling and fuel economy at optimum levels. Whilst it’s important to ensure you have sufficient tread depth and that your tyres are at the correct pressures, you should also check for any physical damage.

Checking that your tyres are in good condition is an important element of your road safety and in maintaining your car’s handling and fuel economy at optimum levels. Whilst it’s important to ensure you have sufficient tread depth and that your tyres are at the correct pressures, you should also check for any physical damage.

Blisters and cuts in the sidewall are a sure sign of tyre damage that should prompt you to get the tyre replaced as soon as possible. You might also notice some cracks in tyres, these happen because over time and exposure to UV light, the oils and chemicals in the tyre’s rubber compound start to dry out.

Whether you need to worry about these cracks depends on where they are and how severe they are. Small cracks on the tread blocks of the tyre are a sign of normal wear and tear and aren’t generally anything that you need to worry about.

Deeper cracks could be a sign that the tyre is getting to the end of its useful life and may mean there’s a risk of the tread separating from the rest of the tyre. You should get them checked by a specialist such as Protyre; our qualified fitters can advise as to whether the tyres are safe. Minor cracks generally won’t lead to your car failing the MOT but more severe ones will.

Cracks on the sidewall are a sign that the tyre is ageing. This can mean that the rubber is becoming stiffer so the tyres won’t absorb shocks as well and you may be risking a blow out at speed. Generally speaking, tyres should be replaced when they reach five years old. There will be a four-digit code on the sidewall that tells you when the tyre was manufactured. A code of 2315, for example, tells you that the tyre was made in the 23rd week of 2015.

You may think that your spare tyre, safely tucked away in the boot, will last longer. In fact, this is not the case, tyres contain a waxy substance to slow down the ageing process, but this is only released when the tyres are in motion. Spare tyres or tyres on trailers, caravans and classic cars that only cover a low mileage may, therefore, deteriorate faster.

You shouldn’t assume that a tyre is safe just because it has plenty of tread; always take the age and the overall condition into account when assessing whether it needs to be replaced.

If you need new tyres then at Protyre you’ll find we stock many leading brands including Pirelli and Falken so there’s something to suit all needs and all budgets. If you are worried about the condition of your tyres, you can bring your vehicle to us and our tyre professionals will be happy to carry out a free check to ensure that they are safe. You can call your local Protyre garage to arrange an appointment or visit our website to book your free tyre check online.

About the author

Maddie Poulter
Maddie is skilled in marketing communications, reporting and has a keen interest in content and branding. At Protyre ...
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