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Cracked Tyres - How do they impact your MOT?

26th November 2021 Print

MOTs can be a stressful event to prepare your car for – especially if you’re new to car ownership. The test is a comprehensive one, with many factors at play, and it can be difficult to know exactly what you should be looking out for ahead of sending your car off for one. Maybe you’ve noticed cracking on the sidewalls of your tyres, and you’re wondering if you should do something about it – or if it will affect your MOT results at all. Here you will find out what causes tyre cracking, what to do to prevent it and how it may affect your MOT.

What Causes Tyre Sidewall Cracking?

Cracks that appear on the sidewall of your tyres can be caused by a variety of factors. Age is often the leading cause, as a mixture of UV rays and chemicals from the road begin to break the rubber down, causing it to stiffen and hence crack. Water damage is also a common factor, especially where cracking has already begun – water seeps into the cracks, where freeze-thaw weathering can result in the expansion of existing cracks. Disuse can also speed up the aging of the tyre, deforming it to a non-circular shape and encouraging the generation of sidewall cracks if driven on without having been warmed up.

What Causes Tyres to Crack in the Tread?

Tread cracks can be generated in much the same fashion as sidewall cracks, though some are less likely than others, and some more so. For example, tyre treads receive less UV light than the sidewall, meaning the treads are less likely to degrade the same way as the sidewall. However, the treads make contact with the road, making them more susceptible to water-related freeze-thaw cracking. They’re also more likely to come into contact with other chemicals and substances on the road, leading to what is commonly described as “dry rot” – the advancement of cracking, and a fading of colour.

Will Cracked Tyres Affect Your MOT?

Tyres with cracks will be noticed by MOT testers in an MOT, but are not likely to cause any more than a minor defect being recorded on your certificate. Only in the event that cracking in your tyres is particularly severe would your MOT fail with a major defect; older tyres and larger cracks are more likely to give way to leaks and blowouts, making the car risky to continue driving without changing the tyres out first.

How to Prevent Cracks in Your Tyres

If you’re not currently sure when your MOT is due, you should already be taking steps to prepare your car for it and prevent the chance of failure. Cracking tyres may be low on the list, but if your tyres fail you could be forced to purchase a new set of tyres and re-test. The best way to prevent your tyres cracking is to store your car indoors, protecting your tyres from UV rays when not in use. Keep your tyres warmed up by driving regularly, and keep them correctly inflated so they do not form a non-circular shape when at rest.