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Old 03-10-2008, 12:52 AM
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Tire Sidewall damage

Not sure if this is the right section, but...

I have a car that hit the curb on the right front corner pretty hard, it cause some minor wheel damage but managed to take a chunk out of the sidewall maybe half again larger than a quarter, and about a quarter of an inch deep. There's no chord or wire or anything showing, and no obvious effects from the driver's seat, but I'm wondering if it's safe to still use. The tires are about 205/50/15s, pirelli all seasons. It's not my car, and I don't know if the owner can afford new tires, but they drive 20miles to and from work everyday, and I'd rather not have the tire blow out or disintegrate on the highway or something.


Any advice or experience would be great, it's pretty urgent obviously, since they're still driving it.
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:03 AM
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Sidewall damage always means replace, never repair. The damage will likely deteriorate somewhat quickly, but may not be a sudden failure without warning. Vibration will be a warning, and when not being driven it will visibly bulge. Another warning sign will be loss of tire pressure, such as you have to fill it up before going to work and you come out after work to a flat tire.

Sidewall stiffness comes from the thickness of the rubber of the sidewall. The damage has at the least probably taken away sidewall stiffness locally and will result in belt detrioration if the belts aren't already damaged. Belt seperation happens even though you can't see the belt.

Any of the warning signs will indicate that the tire must be replaced, but it's probably not a matter of if, just when.

On my SVT Focus, I lost 4 tires to sidewall belt seperation due to potholes, usually I'd feel the vibration right away or the next day and the loss of tire pressure within days or a week at most. Usually it was accompanied by rim damage. Usually by the time it would reach the point I'd replace tires and wheels, the wheel would be bent in as many as 7 places. None of this ever involved chunks of sidewall being missing.
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