How To Keep Tires From Dry Rotting (Easily)

How To Keep Tires From Dry Rotting (Easily)


A common way to shorten the life of your tires is by them dry rotting. This is also known as sidewall weathering and the good news is that it can be preventable! 

By following the tips in this article, you will not only increase the lifespan of your tires but make sure that you are driving on the safest tires possible.

How To Keep Tires From Dry Rotting

  • Apply a UV protectant monthly to protect from sun damage if driven on regularly
  • Keep your tires out of the sun as much as possible
  • If tires aren’t mounted, keep in an airtight bag
  • Stack unmounted tires on their side
  • Remove weight from mounted tires by hanging them from the wheels by hooks
  • Remove weight from tires on stored vehicles by putting the vehicle on jack stands
  • Try to keep the tires at a constant temperature

Does tire shine prevent dry rot on tires?

Putting a dressing on your tires can protect the tires from UV rays which is one of the main causes of tire dry rot. Applying a product like this to your tires is simple to use and can help keep them lasting longer.

Applying a tire dressing

You will need:

Tire Cleaner 

When doing any project, you want to make sure that you are working on a clean surface. MEGUIAR’S Detailing All-Purpose Cleaner is a great choice to get this done. This cleaner works well on any material and will be there for you to use on any surface of your car

Tire Brush

A tire brush such as one by the Chemical Guys is great for cleaning your tires. This particular tire brush is curved which allows you to get into hard to reach areas. Well-cleaned tires may help the product absorb better.

Tire Shine

Using a tire shine is a good choice for protecting your tires from dry rotting. A water-based tire shine should be your go-to as a highly concentrated solvent like petroleum could damage your tires.

Microfiber Cloth

Another recommendation that I have is The Rag Company’s microfiber cloths. Meguiar’s is a well known and trusted brand that produces well-made microfiber towels of long-lasting quality. Regular paper products are no match for these microfiber towels and have the ultimate durability that you need especially when working with tires.

Best tire dressing to prevent dry rot

303 Aerospace UV Protectant is the best tire dressing to prevent dry rot because it is a water-based protectant that holds in moisture and creates a flexible UV barrier that protects from ozone and ultraviolet rays that break down rubber and cause cracking.


How to apply a tire dressing

1. Clean your Tires

As always, clean the area that you are about to service. Remove any dust, dirt, or debris so that your tire dressing can be effectively applied. By using the recommended tire brush and cleaner, you will have a clean that will allow deep penetration of the product. 

2. Dry the Tires

Although your product may say to apply wet or dry, most professionals will tell you to apply the product on a dry tire. By drying the tire, you prevent a bad finish that could include bubbling or dripping. 

3. Apply the Shine

Follow the instructions that come with your preferred tire shine and the applicator that comes with it. Make sure to keep protection on your hands when dealing with solvent-based products and use precision if using an aerosol can. As you are applying the product, a good tip would be to spray the product on the microfiber cloth and wipe the product directly on the tire. This is done to help avoid the product getting anywhere that isn’t your wheels. 

4. Let the Shine Work its Magic 

Keep the tire shine sit on the tires for 10-20 minutes just to ensure that the product is well absorbed. Keep your tires still for a little while longer as you may mess up your new restoration and ultimately waste your time.

5. Wipe the Excess

Remove the excess tire shine from your tires. Any extra product could result in more dirt, dust, and debris sticking to the tire. If you properly cleaned your tire, you should not have a lot of extra product sticking to the exterior. Your tires should now look close to new!

Airtight tire storage bags

Airtight tire storage bags

are one of the best ways to protect tires that aren’t being used.

An airtight bag will keep the ozonate in the tire rubber from escaping and help protect the rubber compound from breaking down due to oxidation.

These bags will also limit oxygen from getting in the bag to attack the tires.


What causes tires to dry rot?

Sunlight and Warm Climates

Sunlight and warm temperatures can lead to premature sidewall weathering. This is due to the heat and UV rays degrading the overall condition of the rubber. If you live in tropical or subtropical areas, this is something that you should really watch out for.

Low Tire Pressure

Having low pressure in your tires will cause them to run hotter than normal due to the flexing of the tires. This will lead to degradation of the tire’s rubber and fabric construction. This can easily be checked by a quick tire gauge read and save you a lot of future trouble.

Improper Tire Storage

When storing your tires, it is best to keep tires on the wheel and off the ground using hooks through the rims. This keeps the uneven pressure off the tires.

The best way to store unmounted tires is by standing them up sidewall to sidewall. By doing this, your tires have less intense pressure on them which could be a factor in your tires dry rot. Underneath your tires, you should have a piece of wood, a pallet, or some other barrier in order to avoid laying your tires directly on concrete or ground surface which will help with temperature control. As with any tire, make sure that your tire storage location is out of direct sunlight to avoid any dry rot from occurring from the U.V rays. 

Improper Car Storage

When storing your car for extended periods of time, try to keep as much weight off your tires as possible such as on a jack, if this is not an option make sure to move your car every 3 months to shift the weight. Also, try to keep your car out of direct sunlight and in a clean, dry area.


How long do tires last before they dry rot?

Tires are only good for about 6 to 10 years in the best-case scenario, however, the risk for dry rotting starts to go up after year 5. Although the tread may be fine, there could be minor problems lurking within the tire from normal use. As a good practice, when doing maintenance on your car, you should check for potentially dry rotted tires. Here’s what you should look for:

1. Brittleness

Does your tire have places where the rubber is flaking off or appears harder than normal? Dry rot can cause this appearance in tires and cause the tire to look flaky.

2. Sidewall Cracking

When the tire’s sidewall starts to crack, this is a sure sign of dry rot in tires. These cracks could range in size, but no matter the size, you should not drive with a cracked tire sidewall. 

3. Tire Tread Cracks

Take a look in between the treads of your tires. Are there cracks? This is also the sign of dry rotting tires and like sidewall cracking, this is also unsafe to drive on.

4. Overall Discoloration

Does your tire look gray or just dull in color? This is a sign of an aging set of tires. This can happen from sun discoloration, or just long term use, which both can lead to dry rot on tires and is worth keeping an eye on.

When should you replace dry rotted tires

You should replace dry rotted tires immediately as they are unsafe to drive on. By the time that your tires get to that point, they are too far damaged to be experimenting how far you should actually drive on them. As you are driving on dry rotted tires, your tire could essentially fall to pieces on the roadway resulting in a potentially major accident.


A set of dry rot tires not only can be expensive, but dangerous. By following these suggestions you could extend the life of your tires and save money in the long run.

These tips are easy to do and are cost-effective. Protecting your tires is too easy to have them dry rot just from being careless.

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