Yesterday I bumped into a curb and my tire has sidewall damage.enter image description here Is this tire safe to drive on? or do I need to replace this tire?

enter image description here

  • How old is the tire? Does it have a manufacture date on it? Which car is this for?
    – Zaid
    Feb 9, 2016 at 14:51
  • These tires are from 2012. My car is a 1999 mustang
    – M.Bolt
    Feb 9, 2016 at 14:55
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    Definitely does not look safe. Feb 9, 2016 at 15:00
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    I'll leave this as a comment rather than an answer because it is my opinion. I've had similar damage on my Lumina in the past and didn't see any ill-effects from doing nothing about it. There was no gradual loss of tire pressure either. Of course, the extent of damage to your tire is something only you can tell; the pictures may not tell the complete story. That said, tires that are ~4 years old are due for replacement - this should be a more compelling reason for you to get fresh rubber than this damage, so I would have them replaced regardless of the damage.
    – Zaid
    Feb 9, 2016 at 15:15
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    @IhavenoideawhatI'mdoing What I was driving at was that not all sidewall damage warrants replacement. It is, of course, the OP's call to assess how severe the damage is. As I mentioned in the previous comment, the tire should be replaced because of age more than anything else.
    – Zaid
    Feb 9, 2016 at 17:17

5 Answers 5


Replace for sure. The sidewall is the most vulnerable part of the tire. The tire might be holding air for now, and you might be able to drive on it for a while, but it could "pop" at any time creating a very dangerous situation.

Put the spare on immediately - don't risk a blow-out.

  • @JPhi1618 is 100% right, this needs to happen right away before it fails when you can least afford it to. First thing that puts real stress on that sidewall like a pothole, etc, and it could very well pop. You have a big gouge taken out of the sidewall which means the bottom of that hole is a really thin section of sidewall. Not good is putting it mildly.
    – cdunn
    Feb 9, 2016 at 15:23

although JPhi is right in what he says, he's also slightly wrong.

If you have taken a chunk out of your sidewall it's not necessarily dangerous in the slightest, it only becomes dangerous when you can see the cords because that is what can cause the tyre to bulge and blow out.

it is worth checking for any bulging after a 100 miles or so but if it's a part of the Tyre isn't raised up slightly then you will be fine.

The rubber on the Tyre isn't what keeps it structurally sound, It's the cords inside that provide the strength/structural integrity to handle 30+ psi, the rubber is just to keep the air in.

Worked in a Tyre/wheel garage for over 10 years and always had people coming in with small gauges where the cords weren't showing and they never had an issue waiting for the Tyre to wear down before replacing it.

  • 1
    This echoes Paulster2's answer to a similar question. You have my +1
    – Zaid
    Feb 9, 2016 at 19:19
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    I'm not going to disagree with you, but to me, that picture looks like a pretty severe cut to the sidewall. Yea, small divots and gouges might be OK, and better pictures would be great, but I'm going to err on the side of caution and say not to drive on that large cut. What if the tire does loose pressure in a 2-lane construction zone with no shoulder?
    – JPhi1618
    Feb 9, 2016 at 21:42
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    I don't think you have enough data to say don't change it, it's fine. Who is anyone to make that assumption. It's potentially dangerous. If that is a right front tire and the OP is going around a 45mph left hand corner the tire loses air, what are the consequences? Hit a guard rail? IDK, my point being, the recommendation of, "oh, that's fine, it's a sidewall, people freak out on cut's in sidewalls. It's usually ok." isn't a good one. Feb 9, 2016 at 22:17
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    @DucatiKiller: Devil's Advocate. There's some risk, of course. But unless he's pushing 100% around that corner, the consequences are pretty much guaranteed to be a little push, the nose goes a foot or two wide, and half a mile later chunks of tire start flying everywhere because he didn't even know the tire blew. I've driven an '06 MX-5 on both rear tires that literally detached the entire inside sidewall sans a few chords holding the tread in place and didn't even know something was wrong until the next day. Modern tires are pretty impressive engineering.
    – MichaelS
    Feb 10, 2016 at 7:27
  • Ridiculous recommendation. It's not mature thinking. There is the idea of risk vs reward. The risk here is a possible accident. The reward is you save $75 to $150. This not a balanced and thoughtful recommendation.
    – Ppoggio
    Feb 11, 2016 at 10:50

If it were me I would replace the tire. I've had a blowout in a sidewall before and it's no fun. The real question for me is how much I value my life, the lives of passengers, and those around me.

  • I couldn't agree with your more.
    – Ppoggio
    Feb 11, 2016 at 10:50

Same question, lots of answers.


Notice the one response which suggests sealing the cut to stop water damage.

However, the outer tire rubber doesn't hold the air, the inner liner holds the air in. Thus a tire puncture means the inner liner gets a hole, and the inner liner must be properly patched.

A tire sidewall slice is quite common for 4x4 off roading trips, which I have done, and not a reason to replace the tire.

Here is a tire damage inspection chart. Some pretty serious problems that people drive around with.



Idiots! There is no reason for debate. If the tire has sidewall damage, replace the tire. Simple. A $200.00 tire is peanuts compared to the potential disaster a support failure will cause. I'm actually surprised that the issue is even up for question. Operating an automobile with less than adequate equipment is a threat to everyone else sharing the road. Stop thinking about yourself for a change and do the responsible thing, Go get a new one! The implication is negligence, also referred to as "half ass".

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