Car Tire Wear

My friend took his tire in to a shop to get patched and the guy there told my friend that he needed new tires soon. One of the reasons the guy gave was that the rubber in the grooves was cracking. I saw the cracking and it was very miniscule. Granted the tire is pretty old, probably 3 years old, but still has plenty of tread on it.

In short, what does it matter if the rubber in between the treads is barely cracked, every so slightly? My friend drives his Tacoma like a 70 year old woman, ever approaching anything near 85 mph, FYI.

So, it was only cracked inside the tread? That doesn’t mean anything.

Tires do have a tendency to develope tiny hairline cracks in the rubber, when they are exposed to the sun for a long time. However, nearly all tires will wear out long before then.

When I was at the tire shop recently, I saw a tire wear chart on the wall. The chart showed different forms and reasons for tire wear. It said that light cracking anywhere on the tire is not a cause for alarm, and is normal for an older tire.

thanks for the backup. anyone else want to chime in? It’s a fairly simple question, but my friend would like to hear more than just my advice in this matter.

Sounds to me like the guy was trying to sell some tires. If the cracking is miniscule, as you’ve stated, I don’t see any reason for alarm.

Not an issue… Not a reason to replace the tires prematurely…

Think about it logically, if ultimately a crack worked it’s way all the way through–nothing would happen as there are other plies underneath!

(On the otherhand, were there cracking on the sidewall that went all the way through, that could develop a slow leak–if it couldn’t be patched and got too annoying to refill too frequently then you might replace it… [Swap w/spare if full-sized and get a $5 used tire for a spare.])


A few days ago, my car started pulling to left drastically. I assumed it was an alignment issue, so I took it to get aligned. After alignment didn’t fix the issue, it took a while before the mechanic found out it was radial separation. He showed me and it looked like cracks in between a groove.

I don’t know much about tires, but maybe tell your friend to check and see if the tire is separated.

If the tire is cracked and that old traction may be reduced because the rubber is hardening. No reason to get new tires but definitely should drive more carefully. I agree he was probably just trying to sell his goods…