When Are Cracks in Tire Tread Unsafe? Explained!

Cracks in tire tread are unsafe when there are too many cracks on the tread. Also, if the crack is too deep or too large, it is unsafe to drive. However, if your tire is at the end of its average lifespan, it is unsafe to drive with the tire no matter how minor the crack is. Tires with unsafe cracks should be replaced. You can fix the minor cracks by yourself. 

If you want to know when are cracks in tire tread unsafe in detail and what you can do about it, keep reading this article. 

When Are Cracks in Tire Tread Unsafe? 

When it comes to identifying the unsafe cracks on the tire tread, there is no specific measurement. You have to assess the condition of the cracks visibly and decide if now is the time to replace the tire. 

To determine if the cracks on the tire are safe or not, you have to consider the following factors. 

Number of Cracks

When the tread of your tire only has a few cracks here and there, you don’t have to worry. But, if your tire has a numerous amount of cracking throughout the tread, you should replace the tire as it can be unsafe. 

Depth of Cracks

Carefully check the depth of the cracks. If the cracks are shallow and are only on the surface of the tire tread, it should not be unsafe. You can ignore these hairline cracks between tire treads

Source: Stingray Forum

However, if the cracks are deep and look like a deep cut or the rubber is split between two parts, this can be unsafe. Even if there are only a few cracks, but the cracks are deep, you should replace the tire. 

Length of Cracks 

Another thing to consider is how long the crack is. With smaller cracks between the treads, the tire should be safe to use. But if the cracks are extended across the entire thread, or go through the tread to the sidewalls, you should consider replacing the tire. 

Age of Tire

All tires have a certain lifespan. A car tire usually lasts around 3 to 5 years or around 50,000 miles to 60,000 miles of driving. If your tire is older than this lifespan and you are noticing cracks, you must replace the tire immediately. 

Even if the cracks are shallow and fewer in number, the rubber of the old tire loses strength and in that situation, small cracks can destroy the tire. 

Summary: When your car has numerous, deep, or larger cracks on the tread you should replace the tire. Old tires also need to be replaced.

How to Fix Cracks in Tire Tread?

Even If the tire has a few shallow, small cracks, you should still fix those cracks. Otherwise, those cracks will start expanding into bigger and deeper ones, damaging the tire in a short time. 

Here’s how to fix the cracks in the tire tread. 

Tools required: 

  1. Compatible socket wrench
  2. Regular detergent 
  3. Water
  4. Leakage sealant

Process to fix cracks in tire: 

Step 1: If you were driving the car, let the car cool down before you start working on the tire. 

Step 2: Use a compatible socket wrench to remove the lug nuts from your car wheel and take off the wheel. 

Step 3: Clean the tire with a degreaser or regular detergent water. Make sure to dry the tire properly. 

Step 4: Carefully inspect for unsafe cracks as discussed above. If there are unsafe cracks, you have to replace the tire. If you are sure that there are no deep or unsafe cracks, proceed to the next level. 

Step 4: Apply tire leakage sealant on the cracks. Apply an adequate amount of sealant to cover the cracks thoroughly. Usually, the sealant doesn’t require any special instructions to follow. Still, you should look for any special instructions in the sealant packaging and follow those instructions. 

Step 5: Let the sealant dry properly before re-installing the wheel.

Step 6: Re-install the wheel to the car. 

How to Prevent Your Tires from Cracking?

To prevent your tire from cracking, you should follow the tips mentioned below. 

  • Don’t park your car in direct sunlight for a long time, especially in the summer. Park the car in a garage or in a shaded place.
  • Clean the tires with detergent and water whenever it accumulates mud or too much dirt. 
  • Perform regular maintenance of the tire. You should inspect the tire for cracks or damage at least once a month. 
  • Don’t over-inflate or under-inflate the tire. 
  • Don’t park the tire on standing water. 
  • Don’t let the car sit without driving for too long. Go for a ride at least every few days so that the tire doesn’t remain stationary for too long. 
  • You can use tire shine and coating. But remember to apply them properly. 

These tips will help the tire to stay in a good condition without cracking for a long time. 


What Are The Consequences of Driving With Cracked Tires?

If the tire is severely cracked, that means its material integrity is compromised. So, there is a big chance for a tire blowout, especially when you drive at a high speed. Also, the tire loses its ability to grip the road properly. This can lead to a loss of control of the vehicle, especially while cornering.

How Long Should Tires Last Before Cracking?

If you drive, store, and maintain the tire properly, the front tires should last around 20,000 miles of driving before cracking. And the rear tires will last around 40,000 miles. After that, you will notice at least some minor cracks. 

Is It OK to Change Only 2 Tires?

It is okay to change only 2 tires at a time if the tires are from the same axle. If the tires are from different axles, you have to make sure the tires you are not replacing are relatively new and all four tires are inflated at the recommended pressure. 


Here goes the situations when are cracks in tire tread unsafe and what you can do about it. Keeping the tire in good condition is an essential safety measure. So you shouldn’t neglect it. 

Now, it’s time for me to leave. Stay safe and have a great day!

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William Baldwin

This Is William Baldwin, The Founder & Managing Editor of this website. Me and my team share automotive tips, tricks, and news

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Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at Autoglobes.com with a passion for the automotive industry.