Bowling Ball Cracking

Yesterday I had a customer come in with two cracked bowling balls. He was very frustrated, and I understand where that frustration comes from, but I also understand how it happens and why it happens. And that it’s unfortunately just a part of our game.

If you want bowling balls to perform the way today’s bowling balls perform, cracking is always going to be possible.

The customer that came in was telling me how he still has his original black hammer, and other than some surface scratches, it is still holding up well.

So, I asked him: “does it still hook like it used to?”

His response, of course, was no.

Which is exactly my point. The materials being used today, the ones that give you all of this performance and power, are far different than the plastics and urethanes of the past, in terms of material, durability, and performance.

From my understanding — and I don’t pretend to be a chemist — resin is a sensitive material; it is not very forgiving and there are many factors that can alter, change, delay, or even ruin the curing process. Also resin is always curing slowly over time, so the curing process never really stops.

In essence, it’s not the easiest material to work with.

However, it’s the material that gives the most performance.

Trust me, if you want your ball not to crack, manufacturers can make you a ball that won’t crack. Neither I nor they can guarantee you that it’ll roll very good, but it won’t crack.

Essentially, it’s a catch-22. If you want performance, you’re going to have to deal with the possibility of cracking; if you don’t want it to crack, you’ll have to go back to using yesteryear’s materials. And the manufacturers are in a tough place, too, and they know and understand that it’s a something that can’t really be controlled. It’s why they all offer warranties. And it’s why they are all very good at honoring them.

Believe me, though, I understand it’s frustrating and disappointing. I know no one is happy about it. But, trust me, the manufacturers don’t want their products to crack either. If there were a way to eliminate that variable, they would. In a second. But it simply isn’t an option as of now.

But just because it’s frustrating that your favorite ball cracked doesn’t mean you should give up on a a particular brand. Fact of the matter is, despite what others may say, there is no real evidence that tells us any one brand cracks more than another. That’s simply a fallacy.

16 thoughts on “Bowling Ball Cracking

  1. Gus says:

    Did you ask the customer if he kept the 2 bowling balls in the trunk of his car or kept them in a place that was
    32 degrees or lower or maybe in their garage?G

  2. johnny says:

    I have a ebonite v2 sanded and 2 gamebreakers that I still use, though not very often. The only ball I have ever had crack is a gamebreaker 2, which cracked in the bridge between the fingers. I had it repaired and am still using it. If you keep your balls in a controlled enviroment I personally don’t feel you’have any problem with balls cracking.

    • Richard Hinsley says:

      I keep all old equipment in my spare bedroom in my house with central heat/air. So the temp ranges from about 70-80 degrees F. I recently was going to get my Storm IQ Tour Nano ball out after about 8 months and use it – it cracked all of the way around the ball…. I have also had the original Danger Zone and Demolition Zone crack and a DV8 ball (I got this one from someone and it had been stored in their garage). I have one or two that have cracked across the bridge as well. This is out of about 30+ balls over the last 30 years.

  3. Daryl Dettmer says:

    ive never had a pro shop that i used in the past say , bring your ball in we’ll replace it if its cracked or fix it .. they usually just say tough luck . I believe there focus is more on whats coming out next week after week after week …

  4. Scott Gordon says:

    Prior to the introduction of cored bowling balls cracking was almost unheard of. Today’s bowling balls can crack for several reasons but most can be prevented. If you have an individual whom experiences multiple balls cracking look first to the preventable ones. The first I look at is how the ball is stored and where. A major factor for cracking is the differences in coefficient-of-expansion between the cover stock and the core material. This is where the either the expansion rate due to heat or the contraction rate due to cold are sufficiently different to cause the problem. Storing your equipment at room temperature is always best. Leave a ball in a hot car in summer and the cover will expand faster than the core causing a virtual gapping in between core and cover. Leave it in a cold environment and the cover will contract faster than the core. in either case the results lead to extreme increase in the probability of cracking. In either case letting the ball return to room temperature slowly will reduce the probability.

  5. Richard Campoli says:

    I’ve had 2 balls crack that I had kept inside of my home (a controlled environment). One was a Roto Grip Epic Battle a few years back & the other a DV8 Freak Show ,just last year . Both of them cracked similarly to the ones in the picture in this article. Roto Grip (Storm)told me my warranty was void because I had inserts in my ball & if I read the warranty on the box I would know that. I told them the ball was only 3 months old but they stuck to their theory that the warranty was voided. When I Emailed DV8 and told them about my ball splitting & sending them a picture ,they immediately got in touch with my proshop. They instructed them to give me a new ball . Not only a new ball but any new DV8 ball no matter the price because they would replace the ball that was less than 2 years old. That is great customer service.

  6. Bonehead says:

    It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out, cracking occures when you let your bowling ball sit in the cold such as in your car or truck or garage in the winter over a short period of time where it will get super cold so the material will contract and then bringing it inside where it will expand. this shrinking and expanding will in time weaken any material, just look at your driveway or the roads you drive on especially in Northern states where cracks are common. Best senerio would be to treat your bowling balls like you want to live and keep them warm in the house and you’ll not have a problem and if you relly want to take care of them then sweat the oil outta them and they’ll treat you right just as they did when they were new. Now go roll that 300 !

  7. Gus says:

    I would ask the person if he keeps the bowling balls in the trunk of his car in the winter.
    I’ve been told that’s a good way to not only crack the ball but change the performance of it.

  8. mark says:

    i used too keep my bowling balls in the trunk of my car and in the house and i have had them crack so i just think its a craps shoot .. just get the warranty thats what i do lol

  9. craig pinson says:

    my hammer wrench was in my locker in a controlled enviromentit cracked from hole to hole but was not cracked between the holes

  10. Frank says:

    It’s pretty hard to spend $200 or more on a ball and after just a year or two it’s worthless. Leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. For that kind of money we all expect much better. Balls have gone way up in price and have become more unreliable. Yes the performance is vastly improved but it’s very hard to invest that much virtually every season especially when you bowl just one night a week.

  11. Ed says:

    I used to believe a ‘controlled’ environment mattered. But…. It may ‘help’ to a very low extent. I’ve had 100’s (yes hundreds) of bowling balls that have moved through my home the last 3-4 years and can prove otherwise. ALL of which sat in a bowling ball box on a shelf in my front room with a temp between 75-80 all year long. I’ve had about a dozen crack just sitting on the shelf. Living in the desert of AZ we know that baking a ball left in your 150 degree trunk is a bad idea. Though I know some that leave there stuff in their car all year long (with temps from 30-120 degrees) and have never had a ball crack.

    As the article states… We’re not Chemists and resin may always be curing to some extent. Maybe it’s bad luck or other factors not thought of? It is frustrating. Customers have every right to expect there $200+ purchase to last. We as customers do need to take care of our investment – clean It regularly, don’t leave it in extreme conditions (out in the snow or in the hot sun)….lol. But simply doing those things has no guarantees either and doesn’t solve the problem that frankly isn’t fixable 🙂

    Take care of your stuff and keep track of your receipts and cross your fingers a little that if it cracks it’s with in the first year.

  12. Gregg says:

    As a Pro Shop operator, the cost to the customer in my shop has not risen in many years. Labor of course has risen and I wouldn’t expect you not to receive a raise. I have also had my share of new balls (undrilled) on display crack. This is something we are all dealing with and I understand the importance of a controlled environment once in “MY” hands, but there is no such thing when it comes to shipping. I tell ALL my customers NOT to leave the ball in their car or garage. Sorry for your loss.

  13. Ray says:

    I’ve only had two balls crack: a Storm IQ Tour and Storm Gravity Evolve. Both cracked about 14 months after drilling and both cracked a circumference line through the two finger holes. I’ve never left the balls in the car, kept them in the house at room temperature, used them year round, and rotated them often. I have three much older Storms kept under the same conditions: two Virtual Gravities and a Virtual Gravity Zero which haven’t cracked. All these balls have had thumb and finger inserts.

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