I've got a 255/50/20 tire on a 2013 Ford Explorer Sport with sidewall damage as shown. The damaged area is about 1" long and the damage is about 3/32" deep. Does it need to be replaced? The tires themselves have 8/32" of tread depth remaining so their fairly new yet. Thoughts?enter image description here


4 Answers 4


Yes.. It needs to be replaced as it is not safe. It would also fail an MOT like that.

It might not fail today or even next month etc, but you couldn't trust that tyre. Under heavy loads like cornering, braking or at speed etc that tyre already has a real weak point, and failure under those conditions could easily end in disaster. Its not worth it.

The MOT test in the UK is an annual test on vehicles that are aged 3 years or more. In other countries this test may be understood differently e.g...vehicle inspection, saftey & emissions inspection, roadworthiness inspection etc etc. Test in other countries may also have differing time intervals.

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    absolutely agree on all points - replace it.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 7:09
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    Good answer. Just a note for improvement. Since this is an international site, some may not know what MOT is. Not all countries have these inspections. Can you explain it or use a generic term?
    – CharlieRB
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 14:07
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    Agreed Charlie.. Answer updated.
    – Orb
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 21:24

Disclaimer: Your safety and the safety of your passengers is paramount. If you have any concerns about this I would err on the side of caution and have the tyre replaced. If it was to fail, resulting in an accident and death: "it should have been ok" wont bring someone back.

However: Looking at your photo it seems very close to the bead, which is a comparitively strong part of the tyre as it has a steel wire in it and is not subjected to loads as high as mid sidewall.

If it hasnt deformed (bulged) it may be ok. If you must keep it temporarily, i would move it to a rear wheel. If it is going to fail id prefer it to be on a rear wheel than a front.

If you have a spare wheel the same, I would swap it and keep it as a spare.

I would highly reccomend that you take it to a tyre shop and have it inspected by a experienced professional.

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    I, too, err on the side of safety. I agree with your assessment as well. This seems to be the rubber separating at a join spot (where two pieces of rubber are mated during the vulcanizing process). I think it becomes an issue if it gets bigger, bulges, and you're cord damage underneath. Not that I wouldn't worry a bit about it, but I believe your advice here is spot on. Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 13:36
  • In some countries, the spare has to be legal and if it is not then you commit an offence : the logic being that if you have a flat then you would use it...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 16:07
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    I once considered continuing to use unevenly worn tyres to try and get the last $50 worth of wear out of them. My daughter was a passenger in that car. I realised that if anything happened to her because i was being a cheapskate, i'd never be able to forgive myself. Best $50 I never spent. Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 1:57

Boondock answer, stick a tube in it and use as the spare, when your richer replace it, tyres not worth messing with, todays speeds.


Dismount the tire. Can you see cord? If so, replace. If not, put a boot on the inside there. Inspect the inside of the tire. Mount on the rear only. Max speed were I live is normally 55 mph at the most. A boot will normally reinforce a side wall cut IF NO CORD can be seen.

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