How To Keep Trailer Tires From Dry Rotting: What Is It & Tips

How long does it take for tires to dry rot? How to keep tires from dry rotting? How to prevent tire dry rot?

If you knew it could be dealt with only in the initial stages, you’d want to learn how to keep trailer tires from dry rotting before it’s too late.

The best way to prolong the life of your tires is to take precautions. Here’s what you can do:

  • Protect them from exposure to sunlight
  • Park your trailer indoors
  • Avoid using chemical ingredients or abrasive chemicals
  • Avoid using petrochemical ingredients

ALSO CHECK: Horse Trailer Tire Size

What Is Dry Rotting?

Sometimes referred to as “sidewall cracking,” unlike the usual connotation of the word rot, dry tire rot has nothing to do with organic decay.

Instead, it refers to the damage your tires bear as they age and are exposed to direct sunlight and other chemicals. One of the most significant factors that cause your tires to fall apart is damage caused by UV exposure.

Another culprit is ozone. (1)

As horse trailer owners, you’ll need to remain vigilant of the rot before the tires become unusable and cause damage to you or your horses.

Do you want to know why this aging process is referred to as dry rot? It originated in the 18th Century to describe what we now refer to as brown rot.

It was meant to describe water damage to ships and buildings’ timber!

How To Identify Dry Rot

It’s ideal to check your tires a few times each year. This applies if they’ve been in use and also if they’ve been stationary.

Here’s how you can identify if your tires are experiencing a dry rotting process.

The very first thing to look out for will be the tire sidewalls. (2) Take a look at the hubcap.

The cracks can appear like isolated little occurrences or appear all around the hubcap. Once you’re done, check the tire treads.

If there are cracks around the tread, it’s likely the dry rot is setting in. These cracks will make it difficult for you to handle the trailer.

They won’t appear to be in the best of shapes either, going from black to gray.

Lastly, an obvious sign of the degradation process is if bits and pieces of rubber start coming off. This means the rot has made your tire dry.

How To Keep Trailer Tires From Dry Rotting

It’s best to minimize the dangers related to an aged tire splitting open while you drive your trailer.

aluminum vs steel trailer

It’s better to visit the best tire manufacturers and purchase new tires rather than old ones. Similarly, if the symptoms mentioned above have caused you unease, call the nearest technician and set up an appointment.

I recall waiting a couple of months before I deigned to call someone, which led to flat tires the minute my trailer made contact with hot asphalt over the summer.

The extreme heat, coupled with long-term exposure to ultraviolet light, the breakdown of rubber compounds, and leaving the trailer unprotected for long periods of time, meant my tires breathed their last.

I was lucky to have help nearby because this was supposed to be a lengthy journey. This is how to keep trailer tires from dry rotting:

Avoid petrochemical ingredients

You’ll usually find these in tire shine.

These ingredients wear down your tire’s protective coatings. These protective coatings are usually wax protectants.

Most tire manufacturers also use antioxidant coating and coating meant to prevent ozone damage. Once these coatings are gone, your tire will start to break down.

Purchase new, sturdy tires

The other solution is to purchase new, sturdy tires, even expensive ones.

In fact, I would prefer for you to splash out a little more on the tires because just like it’s better to pick expensive leather so it’ll last longer makes sense, getting expensive tires is better.

You can watch this video if you need something to watch as you read:

How To Protect Your Tires

You can visit trailer tire stores and get tire covers to prevent constant exposure to UV radiation.

If your trailer is not in use, try removing the tires and storing them someplace cool, dry, and out of the sun.

Alternatively, try moving your trailer every now and then. This is so the tires get some room to flex, and the resin in the tires becomes active enough to prevent dry rot from setting in too quickly.

Since it’s not just UV radiation you need to be concerned about, think of ozone damage.

Most manufacturers add carbon black to tires, so if yours didn’t, this might be an excellent time to get tires that contain carbon black.

You can also invest in tire protectants as long as they don’t contain the petrochemicals I mentioned above. Silicone-based products like tire shine or oils will also cause your tires to deteriorate faster.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many years does it take for tires to dry rot?

horse tied in a trailer but should you tie a horse in a trailer

This depends on your tire quality and how much care you take. But it’s a normal process that occurs after 5-6 years.

2. Do tires dry rot from sitting?

Tires that aren’t in use can dry rot, too, mainly because the resin in the tires doesn’t activate unless the tires are functional. They will also rot faster if exposed to excessive heat and sunlight.

3. Can dry-rotted tires explode?

Yes. If your horse trailer tire pressure goes down, the dry rot will deteriorate it faster. Which means it is prone to exploding.


I hope now you know how to keep trailer tires from dry rotting. Just don’t leave the tires stationary, exposed to sunlight and chemicals, and you’re good to go!

horse trailer tires


1. Protecting Classic Car Tires from Dry Rot | Gold Eagle Co [Internet]. Gold Eagle. 2013 [cited 2022 Nov 8]. Available from:

2. Stop the Rot: What You Need to Know About Tire Dry Rot [Internet]. Evans Tire & Service Centers. 2016 [cited 2022 Nov 8]. Available from:

Siun L
Siun L

Siun is an all-around animal lover, with a passion for horses. She grew up in the United States, competing in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers. Now living in Ireland, she competes with her own showjumping horses. She is experienced in the care and training of horses, as well as teaching riding lessons. She loves to combine her love for horses with her work. When not working, Siun will be found at the stables, rain or shine.
Find her on FACEBOOK
Read her latest ARTICLES.
Learn more about HER

Leave a Comment


Want The Best Care For Your Horse? Subscribe to our EXPERT RIDER Tips