Tire Sidewall Cut: What Is It and Can It Be Fixed?

The tire’s sidewalls are built to withstand the pressure that often happens while driving, and it keeps the car stable. So the tire’s sidewalls are very important to your vehicle. It is also very safe.

So what is a tire sidewall cut and can you fix it? There are two sidewalls in each tire, one on the outer side that can be easily seen and the other on the inner side, which is below the car’s undercarriage. A cut in the sidewall can only be repaired if it is ¼” long or less than that size. 

However, tires can be damaged due to several factors, such as when a tire is way past its service life, bumping into potholes and sharp objects, hitting a curb, overloading, manufacturing defects, and underinflation. One of the most common kinds of tire damage is a sidewall cut.

As the name implies, a sidewall cut is an abrasion or a scratch located on the side of the tire. Fixing a sidewall cut can be risky and tricky since compromising the integrity of the sidewall may lead to dangerous consequences. Therefore, it is essential to identify if the cut only needs to be repaired or replaced. 

Tire Sidewall Cut

How To Recognize Sidewall Cut?

While doing a visual inspection of the tires, check the sidewalls. There are two sidewalls in each tire, one on the outer side that can be easily seen and the other on the inner side, which is below the car’s undercarriage.

Generally, sidewalls eventually gather scrapes and scuffs when the tires are used for a long time. However, sidewall cuts can also take forms of fissures that cut into the sidewall, not just a scrape on the tread surface, and in some cases, such cuts expose the textile cords of the tire. Therefore, if you spot such cuts in your tires, it is essential to check them. 

Can A Cut In The Sidewall Of A Tire Be Fixed?

The sidewall portion of the tire takes a lot of pressure when driving. Thus it is pretty crucial. A cut in the sidewall can only be repaired if it is ¼” long or less than that size. 

Moreover, repairs may be applied if the cat does not go past the thread. If the cut is more significant or more profound than 1/4 inch or goes beyond the thread, the rubber that gives the tire its strength may be severed. 

In that case, the tire’s strength will not be fixed; it would only keep the tire from losing air.

How To Fix Sidewall Cut?

Remember that the only time you can repair a sidewall cut is when the scratch does not reach the threads of the tire. If the cut is severe, it is better to get advice from professionals, or even better, it is better to have the tire replaced. 

Below are the steps of fixing a sidewall cut.

1. Locate the sidewall cut

2. Deflate the tire and ensure that the air is entirely out.

3. Clean the affected area properly and ensure that there is no dirt or sealant anymore.

4. Try to open up the cut by pinching it, and from the outer part of the tire, apply a superglue directly to the cut.

5. Wait for the superglue to set and allow the tire to hold in its standard shape.

6. Using a patch, cover the affected area. Make sure that the size of the patch is suitable.

7. In the inside of the tire, apply a patch adhesive. Make sure to spread it evenly surrounding the hole to the size of the patch.

8. Wait until the adhesive is semi-dry. You will know it when its appearance goes opaque.

9. Remove the foil backing from the patch.

10. Carefully place the patch on the adhesive. Make sure that it is stuck thoroughly.

11. Ensure to keep the patch in place by firmly applying some weight.

12. Leave it for several hours until it is fully set, then refit it to the wheel and inflate it.

There are also quick ways of fixing cuts, such as boot fix and vulcanizing the damaged area. Giving a booth fix means placing a rubber piece to protect the inside tube of the tire. However, there’s a high chance that the boot will be moved out of place, thus making the tire more prone to damage. 

Experts do vulcanize by removing some rubber from the inside of the tire and sealing the hole with it. But this solution is also not permanent.

Is A Cut Sidewall Dangerous?

A cut in a tire’s sidewall can indicate possible damage to the tire’s internal structure. In other words, if the cut in the sidewall is not just a cosmetic scratch but goes all the way, it can potentially weaken the sidewall. 

This is because the sidewalls keep the car stable, and if it is weakened due to structural damage, the tires will not be able to handle the pressure and weight of the car. 

In addition, more minor cuts, if not checked and taken care of, can aggravate and lead to more significant problems.

Can You Drive With Sidewall Damage?

It is unsafe to drive with sidewall damage since the tire’s sidewalls are more delicate than the tread portion. Even if some cuts may not seem complicated on the outside, they might be causing the tire to deteriorate inside. 

Damage in the sidewall can lead to more harm in the whole structure of the tire, and it could cause more hazardous issues such as a blowout while driving on the road, which can put everyone – including you – in a dangerous situation.

How Does The Tire Get Cut In Sidewall?

Sidewall cuts can be caused by various factors such as bumping into potholes, poor driving and hitting a curb, driving on a rocky road with sharp stones and debris, and in rare cases, when your tire is vandalised or intentionally destroyed by some shady individuals. 

Driving at high speeds and bumping into potholes and curbs can cut the sidewall and leave a flap that exposes the cords underneath. Regardless of the size of the cuts, they should not be left unnoticed and ignored.


Sidewall cuts need not be taken lightly since they can exacerbate and lead to dangerous circumstances. It is crucial to recognize these cuts properly and to have them assessed by a professional. 

Driving with sidewall damage is dangerous, and just because you can drive it doesn’t mean you should because it can put you and the other people on the road at risk.



Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more