Will Motor Oil Damage Tires? The Truth Behind the Myth

Motor oil is an essential component for the functioning of a vehicle. It provides lubrication to the engine’s moving parts and helps to reduce friction, heat, and wear. But what happens if motor oil comes into contact with tires? Will motor oil damage tires?

There is a common belief that motor oil can damage tires, leading to premature wear and tear. In this blog post, we will explore this myth and find out the truth behind it.

The Composition of Motor Oil and Tires?

Before we dive into the answer, let’s first take a look at the composition of motor oil and tires. Motor oil is made up of base oil and additives. The base oil is typically derived from crude oil, and the additives are added to enhance its properties, such as viscosity, oxidation resistance, and detergency.

On the other hand, tires are made up of rubber compounds, steel belts, and fabric cords. The rubber compounds consist of natural and synthetic rubber, along with other materials such as carbon black, silica, and other chemicals.

Will Motor Oil Damage Tires?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. Before going into the depth of the question “Will motor oil damage tires”, let’s first look at the scenario where motor oil comes into direct contact with tires. If motor oil comes into contact with the tire’s rubber compound, it can cause the rubber to soften and deteriorate. This can lead to reduced tire life, poor traction, and even tire failure. Additionally, motor oil can also damage the steel belts and fabric cords within the tire, leading to structural damage.

However, the chances of motor oil coming into direct contact with the tire are very low. Motor oil is typically contained within the engine and transmission systems, and there are several barriers between the oil and the tire. The engine’s oil pan, oil pump, oil filter, and oil passages all work together to ensure that the motor oil stays within the engine and does not leak out onto the tires.

What If Motor Oil Leaks onto Tires?

Although the chances of motor oil coming into contact with tires are low, it is still possible for motor oil to leak onto tires. This can happen if there is a problem with the engine’s oil system, such as a faulty gasket or seal. In this scenario, it is important to take immediate action to prevent the oil from damaging the tires.

If you notice oil on your tires, the first step is to clean it off as soon as possible. Motor oil is a petroleum-based product, and if left on the tire for an extended period, it can cause the rubber to deteriorate. You can use a degreaser or a mixture of soap and water to clean the oil off the tires. Be sure to rinse the tires thoroughly with water and dry them off completely.

Next, you should inspect the tires for any signs of damage. Look for any cracks, cuts, or bulges on the tire’s surface, as these can indicate structural damage. If you notice any damage, it is important to have the tire inspected by a professional. They can assess the damage and determine whether the tire needs to be repaired or replaced.

Related Guide: Does Vegetable Oil Damage Rubber? (2023)

Preventing Motor Oil from Damaging Tires?

Prevention is always better than cure, and there are several steps you can take to prevent motor oil from damaging your tires. Regular maintenance is key to ensuring that your vehicle’s oil system is functioning correctly. Be sure to have your vehicle’s oil changed at regular intervals, as recommended by the manufacturer. This will ensure that the engine has fresh, clean oil that is less likely to leak out onto the tires.

Additionally, you should inspect your vehicle’s oil system regularly for any signs of leaks or damage. Check the oil level and condition regularly, and look for any oil spots or drips under the vehicle. If you notice any signs of a leak, it is important to have the issue addressed by a professional as soon as possible. Ignoring an oil leak can lead to serious engine damage, as well as potential damage to your tires and other components of your vehicle.

Another way to prevent motor oil from damaging your tires is to avoid overfilling your engine with oil. When the oil level is too high, it can create excess pressure within the engine, which can cause oil to leak out through gaskets and seals. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the correct oil level and type.

Finally, be careful when handling motor oil. If you are changing your own oil, be sure to dispose of the old oil properly. Pouring old oil down the drain or onto the ground can harm the environment and lead to contamination of water sources. Instead, take your used oil to a recycling center or a participating auto parts store for proper disposal.


The belief about the question “Will motor oil damage tires” is not entirely unfounded. If motor oil comes into direct contact with the tire, it can cause damage and reduce tire life. However, the chances of this happening are low, and there are several steps you can take to prevent motor oil from damaging your tires.

Regular maintenance and inspections, proper disposal of used oil, and avoiding overfilling your engine with oil are all important ways to keep your tires and engine in good condition. By following these tips, you can ensure that your vehicle runs smoothly and safely for years to come.

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