Tires are made of different kinds of hardened rubber to ensure strength and resilience, and the tire sidewall is just one of the components of tires on either side of the tire, on which are written the specifications of the tire.
It is one part of any tire that is very difficult or even impossible to repair, and where one manages to repair a tire sidewall after it is torn, using such a tire is associated with enormous risks.You could say, repairing a tire sidewall damage, is not recommended.
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There is no such thing as how much tire sidewall damage is too much if we must be sincere with ourselves. This is mainly because any sidewall tire damage is a potentially very dangerous situation that can metamorphose into something much bigger, if care is not taken, and hence the only care, in this case, is to replace the tire immediately.
However, we shall look at some common serious sidewall damage to look out for and be wary of. When your tire sidewall has its cords hanging outside, you have a serious issue on your hands.
Similarly, sidewall damage is very serious when you can see bubbles in or anywhere around your tire. As said earlier, any sidewall tire damage must be considered too much, since it can aggravate and lead to much bigger issues. (Read Also: Can I Use Tire Foam To Clean Engine?)
How Much Sidewall Damage is Too Much
So, how much sidewall damage is too much? Is sidewall tire damage dangerous? These are critical questions that we need to get to the bottom of promptly.
When it comes to a damaged tire sidewall, there is no compromise, you need to get a better understanding of the severity of the damage to understand the exact action to be taken.
So, how much sidewall damage is acceptable? The below table covers in detail the different types of sidewall damages, their description and severity of the situation.
Type of Sideall Damage
|Type of Damage||Description||Severity|
|Cuts or Punctures||Small cuts or punctures in the outer layer of the tire||Mild|
|Bulges||Areas on the sidewall where the internal structure of the tire is pushing through the outer layer||Severe|
|Cracks||Small cracks that may appear on the sidewall due to age, weather exposure, or other factors||Mild|
|Separation||When the layers of the tire start to separate from each other||Severe|
|Impact Damage||When the sidewall is damaged due to hitting a curb, pothole, or other road hazard||Mild to Severe|
Now that we know the different types of sidewall tire damage, let’s now look at the repair options that we can leverage on.
But before that, is tire sidewall damage dangerous? Tire sidewall chip or tire wall damage can be very dangerous. Especially if the tire is ripped on the side. It could easily blow up and cause the your tire to blow up. Tire sidewall damage is not safe to drive and should be looked at immediately.
Below is a table covering sidewall tire damage repair options. It should be able to guide you on the sort of sidewall damage you are dealing with and the sort of repair options at your disposal.
Tire Sidewall Damage Repair Options
|Type of Damage||Repair Options|
|Small Cuts or Punctures||Can often be repaired by a qualified tire technician|
|Bulges or Separation||Cannot be repaired and require the tire to be replaced immediately|
|Cracks or Impact Damage||May be repairable depending on the severity and location of the damage, but a qualified technician should assess the damage and recommend the best course of action|
Depending on the severity of the sidewall damage, you may be wondering; is tire sidewall damage safe to drive? The quick and direct answer to this is , no. It’s not safe to drive on a damaged tire sidewall. You should aim to have it replaced as soon as you can.
What Is Tire Sidewall Damage?
Tire sidewall damage relates to damage on tires that covers issues and complaints involving the sidewall of your tire.
This can manifest as huge chunks of rubber tissue lost from your sidewall, deep cuts and abrasions to your sidewall by hitting a strong obstacle such as a curb, and also the presence of a bulge or two, on the sidewall of a tire.
For short, whatever compromises the integrity of your tire sidewall is sidewall damage, irrespective of its size or nature.
What Causes Tire Sidewall Damage?
Several factors are complicit in causing tire sidewall damage such as:
This can be traceable to the driver’s negligence. This is because tires are known to self deflate at a steady rate naturally and hence we should ensure to keep the pressure at normal levels by gauging the tire regularly. Where this function is willfully neglected, we can’t but see that as negligence.
2. Age Of The Tires
Under ideal circumstances, tires are adjudged as safe between the ages of eight to ten years. After this time, the strength, plasticity, and everything about the tire is much reduced, if not totally lost. At this stage, tire sidewall damage has a huge likelihood of occurring.
Tire sidewall damage can occur due to various road hazards or even very poor maintenance and installation. Damaged tires are bound to lose air rapidly and progressively degrade which may cause sidewall damage too.
Read Also: Can You Get A Flat Tire From Hitting A Curb?
When you carry so much load that is beyond the designated capacity of the vehicle, you are in essence risking possible tire sidewall damage in your tire.
The theory is that an overloaded vehicle may veer out of control and wobble on the road from one side to another, which is a potentially very risky situation. As the vehicle wobbles on the road, tire sidewall damage may not be far behind.
5. Manufacturing Defects
When a tire is mistakenly rated for speeds beyond its capacity by the manufacturers, sidewall damage is very likely to occur in this instance.
Therefore, it is important to test tires adequately and ensure their proper speed rating before releasing them to the general public for consumption. Such poorly rated tires have the propensity to become overheated after installation.
6. Tire Wear
Worn tires are more likely to overheat faster than normal ones. Their cords may fall apart and begin to show and should you hit something like a curb in this condition, tire sidewall damage may be unavoidable.
Can Tire Sidewall Damage Be Repaired?
Yes, for the sake of discussion, they can be, but such repairs are for all intents and purposes useless. This is because you are not advised, for your own sake and maybe others as well, to drive a car with tire sidewall damage.
Concerning how to repair tire sidewall damage the most important thing to note is that this are not long term repairs and might not sustain you for long. The only repair such a tire needs is a replacement with a new one. We recommend these tires as your best replacement options.
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These so-called sidewall repairs, to start with, do not last and they also compromise the integrity of your tire.
Even after you manage to place a patch on the tire sidewall, the patch would not stay in place because the rigors and stress suffered by a tire sidewall are too much for any patch to withstand.
Essentially, therefore, sidewall tire damage cannot be repaired, in the strictest sense of the word.
Why Can’t I Repair Tire Sidewall Damage?
Tires with sidewall damage cannot be repaired because any patch on the sidewall would not hold.
This is because tires have cords all around their treads which allow any patch to stay in place, but on the sidewall, these cords are absent and this makes it impossible for the patch to stay in a hole.
Secondly, even with a patch in place, once a tire is injured on the sidewall, its integrity is compromised.
This means that it cannot perform at its best and is also not safe to drive on anymore. Even when used at slow speeds, the chances of a blowout are enormous.
Your best bet, when there is tire sidewall damage, is to replace the tire at once.(Read Also: How Close To the Sidewall Can A Tire Be Patched?)
Is It Safe To Drive On A Tire With Sidewall Damage?
It is never safe to drive on a tire with sidewall damage and that is because as you drive, the puncture, hole, or injury to the sidewall of the tire becomes bigger and worse, thereby putting yourself and other road users at risk due to possible sudden tire blowouts.
Secondly, as a driver moves on a tire with sidewall damage, the control of the vehicle is compromised and this implies that you risk the car venturing off the road leading to an avoidable accident.
Considering the fact that the sidewall of the tire, unlike all other of its parts, has no cords in it that hold the rubber together, it is regarded as the most vulnerable part of any tire, whose role in driving safely must not be taken for granted. (Read Also: Can Tire Rotation Throw Off Alignment?Find Out)
How To Read A Tire Sidewall
The sidewall of a tire bears numbers and letters which to the casual observer may mean nothing, but these numbers and letters, in reality, tell you a lot about the tire, including very important specifications and other details.
In fact, knowing how to read and correctly interpreted the message on the tire sidewall can effectively enable you to make correct choices when buying a tire.
For instance, let us look at a tire with the inscription ‘P225/50/R27 98H‘ on it. To start with, the P in the inscription stands for PMetric which identifies your tire as a passenger tire.
Where the inscription starts with LT rather than P, the tire is identified as a Light Truck Type, which means that you cannot use it for heavier vehicles.
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The numbers ‘225’ tell you about the tire section width, which is the distance between the two sidewalls in millimetres. This measurement depends on the size of the rim.
The number ‘50‘ compares two things, which are the tire’s section height with the section width of the tire. In this case, it interprets that the section height of the tire is fifty per cent of its section width.
The ‘R’ stands for the construction utilized in its casing, which means Radial Construction. Instead of ‘R’, some tires may have ‘B’ or ‘D’ instead. B stands for Belted Bias Construction while a ‘D’ stands for Diagonal Bias Construction. The last number ‘17′ shows the diameter of the wheel rim which is mostly measured in inches.
The last numbers tell you the load index, speed rating, or service description of the tire. After this explanation, I am certain that now you know the numbers on the sidewall are not just some random verbose numbers, but very detailed information about the tire. Wow, this is gross, right?
What Causes Uneven Wear In Tires?
Tires may wear unevenly which many drivers hardly notice because they are basically concerned with when the tire treads are totally worn out.
It is advisable to keep a close eye on uneven tire wear,Â because anything short of that may translate into complete tire damage while the treads are still very much intact in most parts of the tire.
This sounds like being caught with one’s pants down! So, you are advised to watch out for uneven wear in tires as this may belie an undetected fault.(Read Also: Will A TH 350 Torque Converter Fit A 700 R4?Find Out)
What Are Some Of The Causes Of Uneven Tire Wear Out?
1. One Shoulder Or Edge
This happens when there is a complaint with poor wheel balancing and alignment. If you notice this kind of wear, consult specialists promptly.
2. Two Shoulders
When your tires are under-inflated, they may tell you this by wearing off on the two shoulders, and to guard against this, keep them inflated according to the manufacturer’s specifications in the user manual. (Read Also: Can My Tire Fall Off With A Bad Wheel Bearing?Find Out Now)
If your tire wears more in the center where the treads are more concentrated, then chances are you are over-inflating them. So, it is time you let off on the excessive tire pumping.
Cupping is when irregular spots appear across the tires. Your tires will cup when there is a loss of wheel balance or possible problems with the suspension of the vehicle, so, get experts to look at it.
If one side of your rim rib is sharper than the other, you may be dealing with issues related to wheel alignment. Having a specialist do something about it is a good time to save your tires.
When it concerns the proper choice of correct tires for your vehicle, please do not leave anything to chance, and should you not cut corners unduly, your life and the lives of others may be put at avoidable risks.
For this singularly most important reason, we would now introduce you to reliable tire brands that are renowned in every aspect, tested, and hence trusted.
1. Michelin Defender LTX M/S All Section Tire
Click To See Price/Customer’s Reviews
This tire is meant for light trucks with a long life span and excellent wet or snow traction. It is sold subject to sixty days guarantee and three years flat tire assistance for free.
2. Mickey Thompson Sportsman Pro Tire
Click To See Price/Customer’s Reviews
This tire is confirmed as the widest high-performance street-legal tire among all other tires, with its wrinkled sidewall and bias-ply construction for ruggedness and excellent durability.
3. Carlisle Radial Trail HD Trailer Tire
Click To See Price/Customer’s Reviews
This tire is designed for both long and short runs and can serve most vehicle types including those that are used for the haulage of heavy goods.
This tire is reputable for its ultra-lightweight design, acceptability for high speeds, tubeless nature, and commendable durability.
How Much Tire Sidewall Damage Is Too Much – Conclusion
Nothing should take the place of good tires in the whole vehicle. In fact, tires should take precedence over even the engine. Wait a minute, if you question my logic, then think over the next statement.
Engine faults may not allow the vehicle to move an inch, but sudden tire blowouts, while in motion, could start you on a journey to where you may not be ready to visit!
Take all the care in making the best choices of tires and stay true to all the instructions given by the manufacturers. After all, only the living drive.
From the outset, it was made very plain that even in the absence of any complaints, always make out time to inspect your tires once in a while, especially if you have driven for a long distance.
Do not over-inflate or under inflating the tires and you can accomplish this by adhering strictly to the instructions in the user manuals the tires.
I am passionate about all things automotive and have a deep understanding of the topic. As a mechanic, I use my free time to share knowledge of everyday challenges that any car owner can experience – helping you make informed decisions about tires.