Folks often have the tendency to judge tire quality purely on the shape their tires are in, tread-wise. While this is often a good indicator of the condition your tire is in, there is another issue tires can face that doesn’t necessarily show in the tread. Dry rot.

Dry rot’s biggest causes are from vehicle inactivity, low tire pressure, extreme heat and can also be attributed to certain chemicals exposed to tires. On close inspection of your tires, fine cracks in a web pattern on a tire’s sidewalls is a telltale sign of dry rot.

Dry rot occurs as the oils and moisture inside the tire begin to evaporate, leaving them hard, brittle and degrading the fabrication of tires. Simply put, tires affected by dry rot should NOT be driven on. They are not safe.

Are certain tires at higher risk?

While no one tire is more susceptible to dry rot than another, think about the conditions that cause dry rot: Long periods of inactivity (daily and seasonal storage). High heat exposure (hot summer afternoons). Chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, etc.). These are all issues that are commonly faced by farm vehicles and their tires.

That is not to say, however, that farm tires are naturally at greater risk of dry rot. It is simply that the conditions that attribute to dry rot commonly occur where farm tires are present.

In the best interest of the longevity and health of your tires, all owners and operators of farm equipment need to be extremely cognizant of dry rot.

Preventing dry rot

So, what are the best ways of preventing dry rot in farm tires? There are simple and easy to implement practices that can greatly reduce the risk to your tires! Make sure to make these key action items part of your regular maintenance and care routine:

Proper storage

Whether you are putting your vehicle away for the winter or just storing it for the day, always be mindful of the conditions you leave it in. Avoid leaving directly in the hot summer sun and, whenever possible, store the vehicle in a covered area like a garage, barn or shed.

During the winter, and the summer for that matter, try to keep the vehicle stored in a climate-controlled location. This will help eliminate the risks that can come from extreme or fluctuating temperatures.

Clean tires regularly

Chemicals are commonplace around a typical farm whether its fuels for vehicles, insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers or veterinary chemicals. While safety in storage and use are important when using these chemicals, after application they can often times find their way onto vehicles and particularly tires.

Certain chemicals and oils can help cause dry rot when exposed directly to tires, so ensuring tires are cleaned after every use is a good safety precaution to add to your regular routine. A simple rinse of soapy water should be enough to do the trick and remove chemicals from the surface before they are given a chance to penetrate the tires or do damage.

Closely monitor tire pressure

Low tire pressure is one of the greatest threats to tire health and a major contributor to dry rot. Under-inflated tires can develop cracks and creases in the sidewall that cause leaks. This can further dry out the tire and degrade the bonds of the tire.

So, simply put, keeping your tire pressure at proper levels is half the battle in preventing dry rot. Taking the time after every use to check each tire’s pressure and top them off to the manufacturer recommended levels is an important practice for keeping healthy tires.

Don’t wait to replace

With regular use, cleaning and careful observation dry rot is an easily avoided issue for farm vehicles. Typically, every-day personal and family cars are driven enough that dry rot isn’t an issue. Recreational and collector vehicles are traditionally at the highest risk because of inactivity.

If you notice webbing and cracks on your farm tires, don’t wait to replace them! Call Raben Tire for 24-hour service and tire replacement!