Sidewall Tire Damage. Can You Drive? Is It Repairable?
This article will guide you through different kinds of sidewall damage and examination, as well as answering most asked questions about it.
What is considered sidewall damage?
It could be in the form of missing chunks of rubber, deep abrasions from hitting curbs, or a bulge in the sidewall.
A bulge in the sidewall has probably something to do with a broken cord inside the tire.
That is a serious condition that will almost definitely result in a failure of the tires.
Additional examination is often required for any chunking larger than a penny, or discoloration that has exposed the textile cords.
Larger cracks may be an indication of collision with a curb or a road hazard.
To find out the severity of the damage, you can visit a tire dealer or car service center.
What causes tire sidewall damage?
The sidewalls of the tire can be damaged as a result of friction on curbs or the edge of asphalt when moving to the curb.
If you are inclined to such a way of driving, it is recommended to inspect the internal and external sidewalls from time to time and, in case of abrasion, change the wheels in places to avoid exposing the cord — the thickness of the rubber on the sidewalls is small (1.5–3 mm), and it can be wiped to the frame very quickly
Improper Storage: As a result of improper storage of tires, cracks may form on them.
The danger of such damage is that moisture enters the cord through cracks, which causes the frame to become unusable.
In addition, air can escape through cracks.
Unfortunately, cracks are un-repairable, and tires with them will not last long: sooner or later they will deform and become inflamed due to a rusted and torn cord, or due to driving with a pressure below the recommended one.
Bulges or bubbles can appear on the tire for a variety of reasons — this is always due to a break in the cord or stratification in the frame.
In the first case, an object was hit and the impact broke the cord threads or the cord was cut with a sharp object. In the second case, there is no damage to the bubbles or near it, which means that it appeared either because of a factory defect or because of frequent driving with a pressure below the recommended one.
The danger of bubbles is that they can explode at any moment and provoke a skid that will lead to an accident. If a tire with bubbles can not be replaced with anything, it is better to move it to the rear axle and drive very carefully.
Like cracks, a bubble cannot be repaired. Sometimes small inflations resulting from blows or cuts are reinforced with reinforced patches, but there is no guarantee that the tire will not explode. Therefore, it is recommended to replace tires with bubbles immediately.
Sometimes, the cause of tire damage can be poor-quality tire installation, during which the side ring was damaged.
In this case, the tire loses its geometry and “sits” on the disk crookedly-writes out “eights” when rotating, and during driving there is a transverse vibration.
It is impossible to repair such a tire — you need to replace it with a serviceable one as soon as possible before it damages the suspension: rods, hubs and bearings.
When should you replace tire with sidewall damage?
You should replace the tire when:
- The maximum wear of the tread is reached,
- Any Damage on the sidewall,
- The presence of holes in the tread with a diameter of more than 6 mm
- Side zone of the tire is damaged or deformed.
To avoid premature tire replacement, you should regularly check the uniformity of tread wear, tread pattern, presence of stones and nails, damage to sections and valve caps.
Also, when driving, you should pay attention to the road. Rough rides can accelerate wear and cause damage to the tires.
If you feel vibrations or other disturbances, you need to slow down and examine the tire if possible.
If the tire is damaged, you should release air from it and replace the product with a spare one. Specialists should be contacted if any specific problems are identified.
Is it possible to repair sidewall damage?:
When it comes to punctured sidewalls, metal shards, screws, and nails are common suspects. But unfortunately, not every tire can be fixed, and it’s usually less reliable to fix sidewall damage with a patch.
How do you fix sidewall damage?
There are two types of punctures: with or without cord damage.
To determine this, you need to remove what punctured it.
If the edges of the puncture come together tightly, then the cord is not damaged and you can repair the tire without removing it from the disk.
Otherwise, if the edges do not converge, you will have to disassemble the wheel and make repairs by strengthening the frame from the inside.
When repairing, clean the puncture site and mark it.
Then it all depends on what repair kit you have — they are usually accompanied by instructions.
There are sealants that are poured into the tire through the nipple, after which the wheel turns the puncture down and the substance seals the hole.
Repairing using a harness or an insert is somewhat more difficult, but also more durable: the edges of the hole are polished with a special tool, after which the harness is processed with a special composition that must be brought into the tire through the puncture with a special awl, pulled (not completely) out and cut level with the surface.
If the cord is damaged by a puncture, the tire must be removed from the disc to install a reinforced patch with an additional cord on its inner surface.
One of the sides of such patches has an adhesive layer that contributes to cold vulcanization. After such repairs, you will need to balance the wheel.
To seal punctures from the inside, patches in the form of a mushroom are also used, with a leg that is injected into the puncture.
These patches are also covered with a special adhesive composition for cold vulcanization.
Cuts or breakdowns, in comparison with punctures, are non-repairable, since they violate the integrity of the frame, which can no longer be strengthened.
In addition, breakdowns are always sudden and occur on the move: the tire abruptly loses pressure and before the car stops completely, it manages to make several turns “on the rims”, which breaks the cord and destroys the layers.
Using such a weakened tire, even if it was possible to seal and strengthen the place of the break or cut, is not recommended in the future.
Can you drive with sidewall damage?
First of all, you need to contact a qualified tire mechanic specialist to diagnose the tire and find out the causes of damage.
Only by examining the tire, the specialist will tell you whether it is possible to use the tire after repair or whether it should be replaced.
If the damage is located in the drainage channels of the tread, water from roads can get on the metal breaker, which will contribute to the corrosion destruction of this part.
This will lead to noise and vibrations when driving, uneven tire wear and rapid failure.
When the polymer cracks on the side of the rubber, there will be a gradual loss of tire pressure.
This can cause the sidewalls to overload, overheat, and wear out prematurely.