How Much Damage to the Sidewall is Too Much?

Tires are constructed with sturdy belts and body plies, which give them durability, and long-lasting synthetic natural rubber components. In the end, this enables them to withstand the load tension and heat generated by friction.

However, tires are susceptible to damage like any other car part; some damage is irreparable. One such damage appears as a bulge, cut, or rubber chipped off inside the tire sidewall. The question of “how much damage to the sidewall tire damage is too much.”

Inspect the threads in the affected area to evaluate how much sidewall tire damage has been done. The tire needs to be replaced if the threads or radial cords are visible. These threads are 0.125 to 0.188 of an inch beneath the sidewall’s surface.

What is Sidewall Tire Damage?
Sidewall damage can be defined as any relevant problems or deficits you encounter within the sidewall of your tires, whether on the inner or outer side of the wall. This is a major concern that can result in total tire failure. Tire replacement is the best option for dealing with this problem.

What Can Be grouped as Sidewall Tire Damage?
Sidewall tire damage is classified as any irregularities found within the walls of the tires. It can range from bulging or bubbles, minor cuts and abrasions, to more extreme cases of missing huge chunks of rubber.

A sidewall bubble is a bulge that protrudes from the side of a tire due to high-impact damage, such as running into a curb, hitting a pothole, or speeding over speed bumps. You should not ignore sidewall tire damage because it can lead to a blowout.

Cuts and Abrasions
The size of abrasions caused by running over a deep pothole or by hitting a curb varies depending on the impact. To some extent, these can have a slash-like appearance or rough scapes. However, regardless of size, these abrasions must not go unnoticed.

Missing huge chunks of rubber
These sections of the tire’s sidewall have been chipped away from the tire. Also, the inner cords that hold the tire structure together are most likely exposed.

Causes of Sidewall Tire Damage
A driver’s negligence concerning the tire quality can result in one or more conditions that cause sidewall tire damage. These elements include but are not restricted to tire age, manufacturing flaws, inadequate quality control, under-inflation, overloading, and tire deterioration.

Tire Age
Tires are designed to handle challenging driving conditions and a set amount of weight. However, their strength, elasticity, and toughness are not indestructible. Tire makers generally state a lifespan of 8 to 10 years from the production date.
As a result, the inner plies holding the rubber components together begin to deteriorate, the rubber pieces become brittle and dry, and eventually, their sections begin to separate.

Manufacturing flaws
There will be instances, more observed in lower-quality tires, where they omit crucial tests before leaving the plant. One of the most well-known instances is the speed rating. These improperly rated tires skip the step of carefully examining the speed rating, which can lead to overheating and sidewall integrity issues when traveling at continuous high speeds.

Tires naturally deflate even in normal circumstances, regardless of the type you’re using or how frequently you use them. For your safety and the longevity of your tires, it is crucial to regularly check the air pressure in them.

Your vehicle’s suspension system and, ultimately, its tires are put under too much strain if you overload it above the recommended limit. As a result of the air pressure that builds up on the sidewall and the heat produced by movement friction, too much weight causes them to flatten or even explode. Not to add that overloading is another factor in poor handling because it causes the car to sway or wriggle from side to side of the road.

Tire Deterioration
Significant tire degradation increases the likelihood that the tires would overheat more quickly than usual, which could lead to a blowout. The worst-case scenario is when the reinforcement that keeps the shape of the tires is already visible at the sidewall. An accidental collision with a curb will definitely result in a damaged sidewall.

How to prevent Sidewall Tire Damage
Following the simple instructions explained below can reduce the possibility of damaging your tire’s sidewall. These include avoiding road hazards, checking air pressure at least once a month, only driving with the recommended load limit and speed rating, and having the tires checked by tire experts if you suspect something is wrong.

Avoid Road Hazards
It’s best to map your route in advance. Avoid areas that are undergoing road rehabilitation or repair because they contain a lot of construction debris and pointed metals, e.g., nails, as well as sharp stones that can cause abrasions in your tires’ sidewalls.
Also, keep an eye out for potholes, and be careful not to get too close to a curb, or you’ll scratch the sidewall of your tire.

Routine Air Pressure Inspection
You should check the air pressure at least once a month or whenever you notice any signs that they are deflated. You should also take a cold tire pressure reading because air pressure varies with temperature.
Keeping a tire pressure gauge and a rechargeable portable inflator in the car is a good idea. These tools take up little space and can be stored alongside your basic repair tool kit.

Stick to the Vehicle’s Speed and Load limit.
It is also critical that you understand the fundamentals of tire information reading. The code on your tires not only indicates the size but also reveals the speed rating recommendation. Furthermore, the tire information sticker on your vehicle’s door frame clearly states the load limit and the recommended tire air pressure in psi.

Have your tires checked by a professional
Tire specialists and experts have extensive experience dealing with such issues throughout their careers. They may also detect other issues with your tires that you may have missed while inspecting them.

Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Still Drive my Car with a Sidewall Tire Damage?
You should have your tire replaced as soon as you discover any sidewall damage. Mount the spare tire in your trunk and head to the closest tire store to get a new replacement for the damaged tire. You can call roadside assistance if you have concerns about your spare tire.

Can you repair a damaged tire sidewall?
You shouldn’t try to fix sidewall damage because it is beyond repair, regardless of whether it is only a shallow scrape, a bulge, or a chunk of the sidewall that has been chipped off. Additionally, never consider taking them to a tire technician because it is unwritten industry policy not to patch, repair, or plug any damage that happened inside the tire sidewall.

Damage to a tire’s sidewall should not be repaired using the patch and plug techniques used to repair punctures in the tread. Replace your tire immediately if you see that sidewall damage has already made the threads or cords visible.