Tire Sidewall Damage When To Replace? : The Complete Guide To Tire Sidewall Damage

Tires are made to be hardy, they can take a bit of damage now and then. You might think: if I have tire sidewall damage when to replace my tire depends upon when you get the time to go to the mechanic next. Nothing could be more dangerous.

How often have you seen a car driving around with a massive gash in one of its tires? In most cases, it’s not difficult to tell when a tire is damaged and needs replacement. 

However, there are times when the damage may not be as apparent. If you’re not sure whether or not your tires need replacement, keep reading. This blog post will explain what signs to look for and when it’s time to call a tow truck.


Tire Sidewall Damage When To Replace

What is a Sidewall Tire Damage?

Sidewall damage is a wear and tear, tire bubble or abrasion on the sidewall of a tire. The tire’s Sidewall is thinner than the rest of the tire and therefore it is more susceptible to damage. 

It can happen due to several things, such as 

  • Driving over a big pothole 
  • Hitting a curb
  • Natural wear and tear over time. 

While sidewall tire damage may not seem like a big deal, it can lead to severe problems if not fixed.

One of the most common problems arising from sidewall tire damage is a flat tire. If the sidewall of your tire is damaged, it can cause the air pressure inside the tire to escape, eventually leading to a flat. 

In addition, sidewall tire damage can also make your tires more susceptible to punctures. If you hit a sharp object while driving, the sidewall of your tire may not be able to protect the inner tube from being punctured. This can cause a sudden loss of air pressure, which can be extremely dangerous.

What Can Be Categorized as Sidewall Tire Damage?

Three main things can be categorized as sidewall tire damage, including:

Missing rubber from the sidewal

This happens if you find that the tire sidewall has some part of its rubber scraped off or you can see the thin inner parts of the tire which are holding air inside.

Deep cuts

If you find that there is a large cut on the sidewall of the tire, or the sidewall appears to have rough scapes, then it is a major cause of concern. This type of damage typically occurs either when you hit a pothole or a curb.


Tire Sidewall Damage When To Replace

Also read: What does it mean if you see 7 J written on a wheel?


Tire Bubbles

One of the most common forms of sidewall tire damage is bulging or swelling. This occurs when there is too much air pressure or an excessive weight load on the tire. 

If this happens on your tires, you should immediately adjust the pressure by adding or removing air until it becomes more normal. 

It’s imperative to keep an eye on your tires as often as possible and make sure that no excessive weight has been placed on them for an extended period so that bulging or swelling doesn’t occur.


You might also like to read: Why Is One Tire Wearing Faster? 4 Reasons Why This Might Be Happening


Causes of Sidewall Tire Damage

  • Poorly balanced tires: If your tires are not correctly balanced, they will constantly be “weighted down” on one side, leading to premature tread wear and even sidewall damage.
  • Incorrect tire pressure: Another common cause of sidewall tire damage is incorrect tire pressure. If your tires are inflated to too high or too low of a pressure, it can put unnecessary stress on the sidewalls and eventually cause them to fail.

How Can I Inspect Damage on The Sidewall?

One of the essential aspects of keeping your vehicle safe is regularly inspecting your tires for damage. The sidewall of a tire can be particularly vulnerable to damage, so it’s essential to know how to check it. Here are some tips on how to inspect your tire sidewall for damage:

  • Look for cracks, cuts, or other signs of physical damage.
  • Check for signs of bulging or blistering.
  • Inspect the tread for any abnormal wear patterns.
  • Use a pressure gauge to check the tire’s inflation level. Under-inflation can cause the sidewall to flex too much and become damaged.

If you notice any signs of damage, it’s essential to have the tire checked by a professional as soon as possible. Driving on a damaged tire can be dangerous and further damage or even a blowout.


Tire Sidewall Damage When To Replace

Should I Drive With a Damaged Tire Sidewall?

No, you should no. When you first encounter sidewall damage, the first thing to do is to pull over safely and check your tire’s condition. If there is any visible damage, get off the road immediately and inspect the rest of your tires for similar problems.

Next, you need to assess how big the damage is and what caused it. In general terms, minor damage such as a small cut or a slight bulge does not mean you have to replace your tire prematurely. 

A more severe issue, such as the tread area pulling away from the body of the tire (known as a “tread separation”), is evidence that you need to stop driving. Consider having your car towed and replacing your tires before putting more miles on them.


You might also like to read: Why Aren’t Tires Solid Rubber?


Can a Tire with Sidewall Damage be Repaired?

The sidewall is the outer part of a tire that, as you might have guessed, runs along the side. The sidewall of a tire can be damaged in many ways. For example, it might get cut or punctured by something on the road, like a sharp metal object like a razor blade or a nail or piece of glass. 

Or it could become worn out due to age and use. Regardless of how the damage occurred, if your car’s tires have damaged sidewalls, there are some steps to determine whether or not those tires can be repaired.

How deep is the damage?

Check the depth of any cuts in the tire’s sidewall using either a tread-depth gauge or simple ruler measurements (1/8 inch). If they’re deeper than more than an eighth, the tire’s structural integrity has been compromised, and it will need to be replaced.

Do you have bubbles?

Look for any bulges or bubbles in the tire’s sidewall (indicating internal damage). If you notice any, it may not be worth repairing – do a test drive anyway to see how the car handles before risking further damage.


Tire Sidewall Damage When To Replace? : The Complete Guide To Tire Sidewall Damage

Check the level of wear and tear

Check the tread depth if you’ve decided that there is no internal damage and determine whether or not it exceeds what is considered safe. 

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recommends using a quarter (the same way you did when measuring tread depth) to check your tires’ wear levels. If a part of Washington’s head (or an equivalent coin) is visible on the tire, it’s likely worn out and will need to be replaced to prevent safety risks.

Go to a qualified mechanic

If you’ve decided the damage is repairable, take your car to your nearest tire shop. They’ll check the inside of the tire for any holes or bulges that may have been missed during your visual inspection, and they can patch up any issues if necessary. Be sure to use a new valve stem as well – otherwise, moisture will get inside of it and compromise its quality down the road.


You might also like to read: What Happens If Tire Rotation Is Wrong?


Should I Let The Damaged Tire Remain On The Car?

The first thing to consider is safety. If the sidewall of your tire is damaged, then there is a severe risk that something could happen while you are driving, like the outer wall of the tire could blow out. 

This will make you lose control of your car and possibly have an accident. So, if you have a damaged sidewall on your tire, it’s best to replace the tire as soon as possible.

What to Do If a Tire Sidewall Blowout Occurs?

If you experience a tire sidewall blowout, it is essential to stay calm and take the following steps:

  • Safely pull over to the side of the road or into a safe area.
  • Apply the parking brake and turn on your hazard lights.
  • Inspect the damage to see if the tire is still inflated. Slowly drive to a service station or tire shop for professional repairs if it appears to be.
  • If the tire looks severely damaged, use your spare tire until you can get the damaged tire repaired or replaced.
  • Contact your insurance company if you need roadside assistance and if you experience extensive damage to your vehicle.

Taking these steps can help you stay safe and minimize damage if you experience a tire sidewall blowout. If you have any questions, contact a professional for assistance.


You might also like to read: Why Wont My Tire Come Off?


When Do Most Blowouts Occur?

Most blowouts occur when the tire pressure is low. The low tire pressure causes the tire to heat up and eventually explode. The explosion can be hazardous, so it’s essential to keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure. You can find the recommended tire pressure in your car’s owner’s manual.


Tire Sidewall Damage When To Replace? : The Complete Guide To Tire Sidewall Damage

Things to Do to Avoid a Tire Sidewall Blowout

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help avoid a tire sidewall blowout:


  • Check your tire pressure regularly. This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent a blowout. Check your tires when they’re cold (before you’ve driven for a while).
  • Avoid driving over potholes or other road hazards. If you can’t avoid them, slow down before hitting them.
  • Don’t overload your vehicle. Check your owner’s manual to determine weight your vehicle can safely carry.


You might also like to read: What Size Tire Iron Do I Need?


Frequently Asked Questions

#1. How long can you drive on a ripped tire?

You can drive on a ripped tire for a short period, but it is not safe. Driving on a ripped tire can cause the tire to come off the wheel, leading to an accident. 

#2. Is sidewall tire damage covered under warranty?

Sidewall tires are often covered under warranty if a manufacturing defect causes the damage. If you encounter sidewall tire damage and suspect it was due to faulty materials or construction, you may be able to have your tires replaced at no cost under the terms of your warranty.

#3. What causes a broken belt in the tire?

One possible cause of a broken belt in a tire is improper installation. If the belt isn’t installed correctly, it can become loose and eventually break.

#4. What is a heat ring on a tire?

A heat ring on a tire is an area of the tire raised above the rest of the surface. This happens when the friction between the road and the tire causes excess amounts of heat to build up in certain areas, which leads to localized pressure increases in those areas. 

#5. When are cracks in tire tread unsafe?

Cracks in tire tread can be unsafe if they are not adequately repaired or left unaddressed. In some cases, cracks can lead to blowouts and other serious issues.


You might also like to read: How Long Can I Drive With A Bubble In My Tire?


Wrap Up

Tire sidewall damage is a serious issue. Tire failures and blowouts cause nearly 200 deaths every year in the US, so it is important to keep check of your tire’s health regularly. If you see sidewall damage, try to get it repaired or replaced quickly before taking your car out the next time.


Thank you for reading this article, we hope we covered everything that you wanted to read about tire sidewall damage. If you have some questions, please write to us and we will revert to you with the answer.

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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