Tire Dry Rot – What It Is, How to Spot It & Liability for Accidents

All vehicle owners should know what tire dry rot is, how to spot it, and what to do if their tires have it. Meanwhile, if it causes an accident, talk to an attorney about liability. In some cases, a manufacturer may be liable if the dry rot was due to a defect in the tire.

What is tire dry rot? 

Tire dry rot occurs over time. Characterized by small cracks, dry rot is simply the breakdown of the tire rubber. A number of things might cause it, such as those listed below. 

  • Wear and tear
  • Low tire pressure
  • Sun exposure
  • Excessive heat
  • Other environmental factors

But in some cases, defects in the design or manufacture of the tire could lead to dry rot as well.

How to Recognize Tire Dry Rot 

Tire dry rot is dangerous. If drivers – or their mechanic or tire professional – notice signs of dry rot, they should replace the tire as soon as possible.

Tire dry rot is characterized by small cracks in the tires. These cracks can expand and grow, eventually reaching the tire’s cords. As this happen, driving for long distances and overheating can cause the rubber to expand. When rubber expands, the tires can break apart. If the tires break apart while driving, the driver might lose control of the vehicle. Drivers might be at risk of accidents that can cause serious or fatal injuries.

In addition to rubber expansion and tire deterioration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also states that tire dry rot can make it harder for tires to grip the road. This can also put the driver at risk of an accident.

If you’re the owner of a vehicle, assessing your tires regularly for any signs of tire dry rot and other abnormalities is important to your safety. Usually, the most obvious sign is a series of cracks on the tire’s surface. Other signs of tire dry rot include a hard or brittle surface.

Liability if Dry Rot Causes an Accident 

Tire dry rot is a normal occurrence that happens over time, and most tires will need to be replaced every six to 10 years, though most drivers wear down their tires much sooner than this (see our previous blog about determining your tires’ age and lifespan). However, if manufacturers create tires that contain a defect, it may occur prematurely.

If this happens and an accident occurs because of the dry rot, a victim may have a right to take civil action against the tire manufacturer or distributor. In Florida, drivers must file civil actions for personal injury within four years of the accident.

Can a defective tire attorney help me? 

If you believe a defective tire caused your accident, consult with a Chalik & Chalik attorney for free.  An attorney can help you prove that the defect caused your accident, you suffered injuries as a result, and that you are entitled to damages under the law. At Chalik & Chalik, we help accident victims throughout the state of Florida. You can call us now at 855-529-0269 to schedule your free case consultation today.