What is too much damage to the sidewalls of a tire?

Synthetic natural rubber materials and rigid belt and body plies make tires durable. As a result, they can withstand friction-induced load and heat.

However, tires are not immune to damage, just like any other vehicle component. There are also damages that cannot be repaired.

Tire sidewalls can be damaged by bulges, cuts, or chipped rubber. Thus, the question arises, “How much sidewall tire damage is too much? ”

It is important to check the threads in the area of damage to determine how much sidewall tire damage is too much. It’s time to replace the tire if you can see threads or radial cords. The threads are located 0.125 to 0.188 inches beneath the sidewall surface.

How do I diagnose a damaged sidewall?

Sidewall damage can be defined as any relevant issue or deficiency within the sidewall of your car tires, whether on the inner or outer sidewall. A complete tire failure can result from this issue. To solve this issue, tire replacement is the best course of action.

How Can Sidewall Tire Damage Be Categorized?

It is common for tire sidewalls to be damaged, as any irregularities found within the walls of the tires would be considered damage. From minor cuts and abrasions to bulging and bubbles, to missing large chunks of rubber in severe cases.

Rubber chunks missing

The sidewall of the tire has been chipped off in these areas. There is also a good chance that the inner cords that hold the tire’s structure are already exposed.

Abrasions that are deep and large

Abrasions caused by hitting a curb or running over a deep pothole will vary in size. To some extent, these can have a slash-like appearance or rough scapes. Regardless of their size, these abrasions should not be ignored.

Bubble Sidewall Tire

Sidewall bubbles occur when a tire is damaged by high-impact events such as hitting a pothole, running into a curb, or driving too fast over speed bumps. It can also cause a blowout, just like any other sidewall tire damage.

Sidewall tire damage causes

Sidewall tire damage can be caused by a number of factors, including the driver’s negligence. The factors include tire age, factory defects, poor quality checks, overloading, underinflation, and tire wear.

The age of a tire

Tires are designed to withstand rough road conditions and certain loads. Their elasticity, strength, and durability do not last forever, however. A majority of tire manufacturers claim a lifespan of 8 to 10 years after manufacture.

If this happens, the rubber components will become brittle and dry, the inner plies holding them together will weaken, and eventually, their parts will begin to separate.


Tires deflate on their own regardless of the type or frequency of use. To ensure your safety and the longevity of your tires, you should check your air pressure regularly.

Under-inflation can be attributed to the driver’s negligence to regularly check the air pressure. Under-inflated tires flex more as a result of not having enough air pressure to carry the load of the vehicle. As a result, the sidewall is put under too much stress, resulting in breakage and damage.

Defects in the factory

Lower quality tires are more likely to skip important tests before rolling off the factory. Speed rating is a classic example.

Since these poorly rated tires do not undergo a thorough speed rating check, they are prone to overheating and losing their sidewall integrity when they are driven at sustained high speeds.

Excessive loading

Overloading your vehicle puts too much stress on your suspension system and ultimately your tires. They can flatten or even explode as air pressure builds up on the sidewalls and friction generates heat.

Aside from that, overloading also contributes to compromised handling, as it causes the vehicle to wobble or wiggle from side to side.

Durability of tires

Tires that have significant wear are more likely to overheat faster than normal, which can lead to a blowout. In addition, if the reinforcement that maintains the shape of the tires has already started to show up on the sidewalls, an accidental hit to the curb will definitely result in damaged tires.

Is it still possible to drive with sidewall tire damage?

You should replace your tire immediately if you notice any damage to the sidewall! Take that spare tire out of your trunk and go to the nearest tire shop to replace it. If you have concerns about your spare, you may want to consider calling for roadside assistance.

“It still seems sturdy enough, why rush? ”. You shouldn’t drive with it just because you can. When you turn on the ignition, safety is the top priority. A sidewall tire blowout could happen at any time, putting you and everyone else on the road in danger.

Is it possible to repair a tire with sidewall damage?

There is no need to attempt to repair sidewall damage, whether it is a shallow scrape, a bulge, or a chipped section of the sidewall. Also, never bring them to any tire technician since it is an unwritten rule in the industry not to repair, patch, or plug any damage to the tire sidewall.

The best way to avoid sidewall tire damage

It is possible to reduce the likelihood of having your tire’s sidewall damaged by following these basic instructions.

Regularly checking air pressure at least once a month, avoiding road hazards, and only driving within the recommended load limit and speed rating, as well as having them checked by tire experts should something go wrong.

Regularly check the air pressure

At least once a month or if you see any visual signs that they may be deflated, you should have them checked. In addition, you should conduct a cold tire pressure reading since tire air pressure varies with temperature.

A portable inflator powered by your vehicle’s power outlet is a good combination of a tire pressure gauge and a portable inflator. In addition to your basic repair tool kit, these tools don’t take up much space.

Check the vehicle’s load and speed ratings

Knowing how to read tire information is also essential. The code embossed on your tires not only indicates the size, but also the recommended speed rating. You can also find the recommended tire air pressure in psi on the tire information sticker on the door frame of your vehicle.

Be aware of road hazards

Plan your route in advance. Be cautious around areas where roads are being rehabilitated, as they often contain construction debris, such as nails and other pointed metals, as well as sharp stones that can cause tire abrasions.

Check ahead for potholes and be careful not to draw too close to a curb or you’ll scratch your tire.

Check your tires with an expert

Over the course of their careers, tire technicians and experts have dealt with a wide range of such concerns. Other concerns on your tires may also be found by them that you may miss when inspecting them yourself.


Sidewall tire damage shouldn’t be treated the same way we fix punctures in the tread with patches and plugs. The threads or cords of your tire should be replaced immediately if you see that the sidewall damage has already exposed them.

References and Resources:




Damage Video of the sidewalls of a tire

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