I purchased my Suzuki Alto K10 car in 2011. In 2017, I fitted the stepney (AKA "spare tyre") and have driven almost 15000km.

Recently I have observed some iron wires came from side wall of this tyre, which I have taken out.

Is this tyre dangerous? Should it be replaced?

  • 5
    Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! I completely agree with what motosubatsu stated in their answer. I would, however, like to state, if you only have 15kkm on the tires, you have an underlying problem with your car. You need to ensure the alignment is good and that all of the underpinnings on the vehicle are in good shape. Even the cheapest tires you can find should be lasting you longer than 15kkm. If you replace the bad tire(s) with a new one, more than likely it will just end up ruined in short order. Nov 19, 2018 at 17:26
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    A picture of the tire with the visible wires sure would be helpful. Barring that, it's safest to assume it's the tire cords and bad things are happening.
    – Ellesedil
    Nov 19, 2018 at 17:56
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    You say "...which I have taken out.". Normally the steel belts inside a tire can't just be "taken out". Did you run over something or is the tire so worn down in that area that the steel belts are showing? Also, there are typically not steel wires in the sidewall. I think we might have some meaning lost in translation here.
    – JPhi1618
    Nov 19, 2018 at 19:26
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    Possible duplicate of What is this wire in my tyre?
    – SeanC
    Nov 19, 2018 at 20:01
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    I suppose OP fitted not a real tire, but a limited-use donut. 15000km's ago.
    – Martin
    Nov 20, 2018 at 9:57

4 Answers 4


The "wires" you mention are likely the tire cords - essentially bands of steel wire that are major structural elements of the tire's construction. If they are exposed this is an indicator of imminent failure and the tire is dangerous to be used.

If the cords are showing through the sidewall:

  • DO NOT drive the vehicle with that tire on!
  • DO Get the tire replaced ASAP!
  • DO NOT attempt to "remove" the cords!
  • You might also note that, like Paulster noted in the comments, 150,000 km is really early to be having this problem. The OP might consider looking for the underlying reason here.
    – Cullub
    Nov 20, 2018 at 3:17
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    @Cullub according to OP, it's 15,000 km which is even earlier for this type of problem. However, it's not that early for a spare (especially if it's a compact spare), as the OP mentioned he was running. That was edited out of the OP and missed by most of us.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 20, 2018 at 14:45
  • @Freeman - that's a very good point, I must confess I edited quite quickly yesterday and my initial research into the term "stepny" was unsuccessful so I left it out. I've voted to approve your edit restoring that information. Nov 20, 2018 at 14:53

Sidewall damage is almost unrepairable. If it is indeed damage to the steel belts, the tire will fail violently (instantly) soon in the future.

That's a good reason not to be trying to change it on the car, because that involves a lot of direct handling of the tire. Tires can blow from handling/maintenance, and do hurt people handling them; that's why you may see your tire shop inflate tires inside a very tough cage. If he's afraid of a new tire, do the math.. But it's pretty safe in your wheelwell. So with a structurally damaged tire, ask yourself "is this handling necessary?"

Of course it's much more dangerous to drive the car normally at-speed and have a blowout cause a loss of control or vehice rollover.

But don't let the chicken littles fool you, you can limp the car to the tire shop. It's vital to keep speed down to a speed where you won't lose control when the tire violently fails, 20 mph (30 kph) will be absolutely fine. If you go much faster, energy in speed is a square function, so you have a wildly increasing chance of loss of control, rollover, colliding with other cars, hurting yourself and others, and wrecking the car of course.

Also, very important: don't just get on the main road at any speed. Don't let yourself into a situation wher you say "I am going fast because I have to", avoid those roads. Work your way through side/back streets; a longer route is fine. Choose roads where you will be able to stop immediately without disrupting traffic too badly, and once the tire is blown, you can safely handle it without fear (except of sharp edges) and put on the spare on. This will not be a normal soft tire, if you press onward for even 0.1mi (0.2km) you will quickly destroy the wheel. Road conditions won't care; I've been in places where you had to drive another 2km to get to a safe place to change a tire, and just had to let the wheel be wrecked. Don't select roads like that.

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    You could also use the spare...
    – Cullub
    Nov 20, 2018 at 3:16
  • Sure, but why change it when you don't have to... Nov 20, 2018 at 6:37
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    In my local jurisdiction, a good reason to fit the spare would be to avoid prosecution and a fine. Nov 20, 2018 at 9:33
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    @Cullub Looks like the OP has already used the spare tire, or the "stepney" (that part has been edited out of the question). I guess that the OP does not have another spare, so using the spare is out of the question. Nov 20, 2018 at 14:16
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    @Harper valid points I hadn't considered. I still stand by my point with one caveat - deflate the tire first. Problem solved. Unfortunately, yelling exploding tires is not helping people overcome their DIY fear, and changing a tire is simple and can save a lot of time and money. Frankly, it strikes me as "chicken little"... Like anything in life, there are simple precautions to be taken to minimize the danger. FWIW, I did upvote your answer and did so before my comment or your response.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 20, 2018 at 14:39

To reiterate what Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 said in the comment, such side-wall damage is not supposed to happen under normal conditions. You should try to discover what the problem was before fitting new tyres, otherwise you risk ruining those as well:

  • check the production date of your current tyres. Were they produced in 2016/2017, or much earlier? Could be the case if you got them second-hand.
  • check the camber angle. Excessive camber (which can be easily seen) may contribute to sidewall damage
  • check the load index and speed rating of your tires. With a 1.2 ton car, your tires should be at least 75S.
  • check the inflation pressure. Driving with under-inflated tyres could ruin then quite quickly.

And yeah, once the steel cord breaks, the tyres are beyond repair and quite dangerous to drive on. On turn you take there's a risk that the cord will puncture the tyre, sending your car off the road.


You can not pull the steel tire belts out; You might be able to cut them with good wire cutters. Could you have picked up nails somewhere? I have pulled nails out of tread but never a side wall. In the tread, the heads have worn away so it becomes a "wire".

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