I have old tractor with Bridgestone tires. When I press a clean white tissue against the tire, a black spot show on the tissue. Is that substance carbon black and it’s harmful to soil?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I suppose it is applicable to all weathered black tyres on all vehicles. They progressively releases rubber and carbon particles. What exactly does "harmful to soil" mean? $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Sep 7, 2023 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ I mean those tires are in powered tiller used for small garden. This black substance will be released to soil effecting plants and humans(if its harmful). $\endgroup$
    – MasterMind
    Sep 8, 2023 at 3:46

1 Answer 1


Compressed air intended to clean analytical devices in the lab / medical use (e.g., scuba diving) has to pass filters to remove small droplets of oil (an aeorsol) which may originate from the lubrication of the compressor, and water.

I speculate the compressors at the gas / petrol station need not to fulfill quality standards this high and over time (years) these droplets accumulate in the tires with every refill of compressed air. By smaller diameter of the corresponding molecules and lesser surface tension, it is easier for air to pass through small defects of the tire mantle, bypass the neck of the valve, than it is for air. (I back this up with the observation that I have to refill the tires of my bicycle at least monthly, despite the presta valves itself as well as their inner screw and the cap appear to be tightly closed.) As for the composition, beside water (by humidity of the air compressed) and lubricant, it were plausible if this blend equally contains some soot/carbon black and rubber from the vulcanization, as well as debris because of the mechanical stress the polymer has to sustain (youtube hosts some videos of gopro cameras mounted inside a tire in used, example).


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.