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edlithgow
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PostSubject: Tyre Treatment   Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:34 pm

Noticed some sidewall cracking on my tyres, which have quite a lot of tread wear left in them. I suppose this is less likely to be an issue in the UK (can't remember it being a problem except for things like boat trailers and caravans which don't do many miles) but here in Taiwan average mileages are lower and average temperatures are much higher. Strong sunlight and air pollution are probably contributary factors as well.

This prompted me to do some reading on tyre failure mechanisms. Its complicated and a bit controversial, but if the tyre pressures are maintained the main destructive factors seem to be oxygen (from the pressurised air inside the tyre) and atmospheric ozone. The latter is the main crack propagator.

I've been experimenting with sunflower oil as a tyre protectant on my front tyres, the rationale being that it will form a physical barrier to ozone, and also react sacrificially with it. It seems to work, but I've only been using it for about 6 months, and it does seem to be absorbed by the rubber to some extent. I can't really predict the effect of an unstable oil inside the tyre structure, so I'm trying canola oil (which is more stable) on the rear tyres, though I'll be surprised if I can tell the difference.

Since tyres are oxidised internally by the air fill, it seems likely that nitrogen inflation could also prolong their life.
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stereosound
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PostSubject: Re: Tyre Treatment   Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:57 pm

Interesting and ironically I was just on the phone to our tech here discussing sidewall cracking on my front offside tyre.

Mine I think is going to need replacing but have thought of adding some sort of rubber conditioning in the hope of stopping them drying out and causing cracking to the others :Pr:

It will be interesting to see your findings :Wky:

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edlithgow
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PostSubject: Re: Tyre Treatment   Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:13 am

Don't really have the resources to evaluate this, but first principles suggest it should work. Worst case is I overdo it and the tyres stiffen up internally and break up. Even that'll be hard to evaluate since I don't really have a "control" since I started treating the rear tyres with canola, but visually the tyres look better, the cracks being filled with black sticky stuff.

There's very little directly relevant on the net (I found one reference to castor oil as a tyre treatment, and a US Army reference to sunflower oil as a rubber protectant for chemical protection gear) but there's quite a bit on tyre softening treatments to (illegally, mostly) make racing tyres stickier. Secret recipes but they seem to involve aggressive solvents like xylene and acetone.

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