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Glick Fire Equipment Company, Inc.

Tire Dry Rot

Regular inspection of each unit in your department’s fleet is key in ensuring safety and smooth operation during every response. Today, we will cover apparatus tire dry rot. How does it happen? What can you do to prevent it? What to do when you spot it? How often should tires be replaced? These are all questions we hope to help answer to help keep you, your crew and your community safe.

What is tire dry rot?

Tire dry rot is the deterioration of the tire usually manifested as small cracks in the rubber sidewalls of the tire.

tire dry rot - small cracks in sidewall

small cracks in the tire sidewalls are an indication of tire dry rot

What causes tire dry rot?

There are many causes of tire dry rot. Improper inflation, exposure to excessive heat, constant exposure to direct sunlight and long periods of inactivity are all known to cause dry rot in tires.

How to prevent tire dry rot?

Dry rot will eventually happen, but there are some things you can do to help prolong the life of your tires. Avoid using harsh chemicals, use only mild detergent and water to clean tires. When storing your apparatus, place wood under each tire. Be sure the wood is wide/long enough to support the entire tire with no overlap. Store apparatus in a covered parking area away from the elements.

How to spot dry rot in tires?

Visually inspect all sides of the tire. When tires dry rot, it normally shows as small, hairline cracks in the sidewall and/or tread areas of the tire.

What should you do if you find dry rot? – Do not drive on tires with suspected dry rot. Have your tire manufacturer’s representative inspect the tires before continuing to use.

How often should tires be replaced?

On fire apparatus, NFPA requires replacement every 7 years or more frequently as needed. On ambulances and civilian vehicles, tires should be replaced every 10 years or mileage life of the tire – whichever is sooner. Other factors may shorten the life of your tires. Regular inspection should be done for road debris, proper inflation, tread wear and tear.

example of dry rot tire blowout

Tire dry rot can create dangerous conditions. A rotted tire can easily blowout and affect the steering of your apparatus.

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