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Q: Cracked,dry-rotted tires with good tread still

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I would like to know if I need to replace cracked,dry-rotted tires with good treads still.The cracks are along and in between the treads and on the outside wall of the tires. The dealership said they are still good to drive with. I have doubts and am worried. Should I replace them or keep driving with them?

My car has 84610 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Rubber degrades over time. Your tires are c...

Rubber degrades over time. Your tires are constantly exposed to the atmosphere, o-zone, etc. The rubber goes through constant heating and cooling cycles causing the rubber to get harder and eventually crack. As a rule of thumb, for safety sake, tires should be replaced once dry rot becomes noticeable. Most tire manufacturers actually recommend replacing tires once they reach 6 years old regardless of how good the tread depth appears to be.

If you want to know how old your tires actually are, look for the DOT number imprinted in the sidewalls. Most tires only have the DOT number imprinted on one side so if you look at a tire and don't see it, it's facing inside. The DOT (Department Of Transportation) number consists of a series of letters and numbers which indicate manufacturer, plant, tire, etc. The last 4 digits will give you the age of the tire. So if for example, the last 4 numbers are 0210, that tire was made the 2nd week of 2010. If the last 4 digits are 4312, the tire was made the 43rd week of 2012. You may want to have this looked by another expert in order to verify whether the tire should be replaced or not.

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