Why Do Bowling Balls Crack?

Bowling balls are designed to withstand the force and impact of the game, but cracks can still occur under various conditions. Cracks in bowling balls can affect their performance and make them ineligible for league or tournament play.

In order to maintain your bowling ball’s peak condition, thus prolonging its longevity and enhancing its performance abilities, it is essential to develop a comprehensive understanding of the various elements contributing to the emergence of cracks. Through this comprehensive analysis, we will explore the causative factors behind the formation of cracks in bowling balls and propose some strategies to mitigate these issues.

Causes of Bowling Ball Cracks

Cracking in bowling balls can be attributed to many factors, including temperature fluctuations, prolonged exposure to UV rays, improper storage, and wear and tear from prolonged usage. Furthermore, storing a bowling ball in unsuitable conditions or subjecting it to excessive force and usage can further exacerbate the risk of cracking. We have identified several prevalent causes that may potentially lead to the unfortunate cracking of your cherished bowling ball:

1.Extreme Temperatures

Exposure to extreme temperatures can cause the materials in a bowling ball to expand or contract, leading to cracks. For instance, leaving a bowling ball in a hot car during the summer or storing it in a freezing garage during the winter can weaken the ball’s structure, making it more susceptible to cracking. Storing the ball in a temperature-controlled environment is essential to prevent such damage. Keep the bowling ball in an environment with consistent temperature levels, ideally between 68°F to 72°F (20°C to 22°C), to diminish the potential for material expansion and contraction.


High humidity levels can also cause cracks in bowling balls. When a ball is exposed to a moist environment, it absorbs moisture, which can cause it to expand. This expansion may result in cracks, especially if the ball is subjected to rapid temperature changes. Store the ball in a low-humidity environment to avoid this issue, and use a dehumidifier if necessary. Protect the ball from direct exposure to UV rays by storing it in a shaded or dark area, thus preventing the degradation of its outer layer.

3.Placement Of Drill Holes 

The placement of finger holes in a bowling ball can have a significant impact on its structural integrity. If the holes are drilled too close together or at improper angles, the ball’s structure can be weakened, increasing the likelihood of cracks forming. Always have a professional drill your bowling ball and ensure they adhere to the recommended drilling guidelines.

4.Lack of rotation

Storing a bowling ball without rotating it regularly can lead to cracks. The ball’s weight bearing down on one point over an extended period can result in stress on the material, ultimately causing it to crack. To minimize this risk, rotate the ball every few weeks to evenly distribute the forces at work.

5.Manufacturing errors

Cracks in bowling balls can also arise from errors during the manufacturing process. For example, improper curing of the core or coverstock can lead to cracks forming in the ball over time. Choosing a reputable brand with a record of high-quality products can help mitigate this risk.

Types of Bowling Cracks and Consequences

Usually, we think of cracks as single-point events, but bowling ball cracks can manifest in various forms. Understanding the different types of cracking and their consequences can help you identify the cause and take measures to prevent further damage.

1.Small cracks

Small cracks, such as weight cracks or pinpoint cracks, may not significantly impact a bowling ball’s performance and can potentially be repaired. However, it is crucial to address these cracks promptly to prevent further damage. If left unchecked, small cracks can become more significant issues that render the ball unusable.

2.Large cracks

Large cracks, particularly those close to the finger holes or spanning a considerable portion of the ball’s surface, are challenging to repair and can make the ball ineligible for use in league or tournament play. In addition to affecting the ball’s performance, these cracks can compromise its structural integrity, making it unsafe to use. In such cases, retiring the ball and investing in a new one is often best.

Preventing Cracks in Bowling Balls

1.Regular maintenance

Performing regular maintenance on your bowling ball can help prevent cracks from forming. It includes cleaning the ball after each use with a suitable cleaner and microfiber towel, ensuring it is dry before storing it, and avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures. Taking care of your bowling ball can minimize the risk of cracks and prolong its lifespan.

2.Proper storage

Proper storage is essential to prevent bowling ball cracks. Store your ball in a low-humidity, temperature-controlled environment to minimize the risk of damage. Additionally, invest in a good-quality bowling ball bag with proper padding to protect the ball from potential impacts. Regularly rotate the ball to distribute its weight evenly and prevent pressure points from leading to cracks.

4.Playing with the ball more often

Frequent use of a bowling ball can help maintain its structural integrity and prevent cracks caused by curing or inactivity. Regular play keeps the ball’s materials engaged and can help identify potential issues early, allowing you to address them before they become more significant problems.

5.Different Balls Different Maintenance Needs

Different types of bowling balls have varying maintenance requirements. For example, high-performance balls with softer coverstocks may require more frequent maintenance to prevent cracks. Research the specific needs of your ball and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure its longevity and performance.

Repairing Cracked Bowling Balls

Fixing a cracked bowling ball at home using reinforced epoxy, masking tape, bowling ball cleaner, and Abralon pads. Begin by cleaning the area around the crack with bowling ball cleaner and a microfiber towel. Then, cover the area surrounding the crack with masking tape to protect the undamaged surface.

Mix equal parts of two different epoxies to create a strong adhesive compound, and fill the crack with the mixture. Allow the epoxy to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and then remove the masking tape. Smooth the repaired surface with Abralon pads and rubbing alcohol until it matches the ball’s original finish.

Professional repair options

For more significant cracks or those unsure of their repair abilities, professional repair services or returning the ball to the manufacturer may be the best options. Bowling pro shops often provide repair services for damaged bowling balls, using specialized tools and techniques to ensure a seamless repair. Sometimes, the manufacturer may offer a warranty or replacement policy for balls with defects or damage resulting from manufacturing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Bowling Balls Break Easily?

Bowling balls are incredibly durable, thanks to their high-performance materials such as polyester, urethane, and reactive resin. They can withstand thousands of impacts without breaking, ensuring consistent performance over time.

Why Would My Bowling Ball Crack?

Improper storage conditions and sudden temperature fluctuations can cause a bowling ball to crack. Additionally, the continuous impact from collisions during gameplay leads to structural fatigue, resulting in cracks.

How Do You Fix A Cracked Ball?

To fix a cracked ball, you’ll need to apply a strong adhesive, like super glue, along the crack and carefully press the pieces together. Allow it to dry completely according to the adhesive’s instructions to ensure a stable bond.


Preserving the longevity and performance of your bowling ball is of utmost importance, which can be achieved through diligent maintenance, apt storage, and prompt resolution of any arising concerns. Such practices contribute to long-term financial savings and guarantee a stable and delightful bowling escapade.

Understanding the risks associated with bowling ball cracks and employing preventive measures can help you avoid damage and enjoy the game without interruption. By being proactive and taking the necessary steps to maintain your ball, you can minimize the risk of cracks and ensure that your bowling ball stays in top condition for as long as possible.

Brad Finnearty
Brad Finnearty is a passionate bowler and a retired senior who has devoted his life to the sport he loves. With decades of experience, Brad is a well-respected authority within the bowling community. He is a member of several bowling leagues, has competed in numerous tournaments, and has even won a few championships along the way.