Your motorcycle tires age over time and lose tread, just like other vehicles. Worn tires are dangerous even in perfect road conditions, but especially on wet roads or roads covered in sand or gravel. But how do you know when it’s time to replace them?
Signs of Needing New Tires
There are several signs to look for when checking your tires to see if they need replacement. Some indications that it’s time for motorcycle tire replacement for your bike include:
- Minimum tread depth: Just like car tires, motorcycle tires have a tire wear indicator (TWI) molded into the tread pattern. When the top of your tread wears down to the top of the TWI, it’s time to replace your tires.
- Regular wear: Tires often have different ratings for the number of miles in their lifespan. Some tires have a lifespan of around 1,500 miles, while higher-end tires can have lifespans of 10,000 miles or more.
- Uneven wear: Tires can flatten out in the center, wear on one side, or form a flat spot during winter storage. Overinflation or underinflation can also affect how tires wear due to differences in tire pressure.
- Damage to the tire: If your tire has a puncture or crack, you need to replace it as soon as possible to continue riding your bike safely. A plug or patch is only a temporary fix.
Inspect Your Tires Regularly
Several factors affect your tire performance and how quickly your tires age. Things like how often you ride, your normal riding patterns, how heavy your bike is, the style of bike you ride, and the quality of the road surfaces you typically ride on can all affect how your tires wear down over time.
To inspect your motorcycle tires, begin by checking your tread depth at the center line with a depth gauge. Your tread depth must be at least 2/32” according to federal law. You can use the penny trick if you don’t have a depth gauge. Put a penny upside-down into the groove of your tread. The tread should cover the top of Lincoln’s head. If you can see over his hair, you need to replace your tires.
Don’t forget to inspect your sidewalls and look for cracks, bubbles, dry rot, or other defects. You should also look for bowing, although you could see bowing with low tire pressure. Check your tire pressure and inflate to meet the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Tires Age Through Use and Storage
Although modern motorcycle tires use multiple layers of compound materials for added resilience and lifespan, some components can wear out over time. Chemicals in the rubber walls will interact with oxygen and oxidize, leading to the hardening of the rubber materials, which can crack or become susceptible to dry rot.
A good rule to follow is to replace your tires five years after the manufacture date, even if you don’t ride very often and your tires don’t have much wear. But how do you know when to replace your tires?
Each tire has a four-digit code that describes when it was manufactured. The first two digits list a number from 01 to 52 for the week of the year, and the second pair of digits are for the year. So a code of 2620 means you need to replace your tire by the end of June 2025.
Motorcycle Accident? Call Law Tigers
Motorcycle tire replacement in a timely manner is essential to being able to ride safely. If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, call the motorcycle injury attorneys at the Law Tigers. We’re attorneys who ride. Call today at 1-888-863-7216 for a free case evaluation.