When To Change Your Motorcycle Tires

Motorcycle tires don’t last forever. That’s why you should know when to change your motorcycle tires to ensure that they always perform at their best. Knowing when to replace them is the difference between riding safely and getting into an accident.

We’ll list down all the signs for when you should buy new motorcycle tires. It’s essential to be familiar with these signs so that you can continue riding your bike stress-free.

When to Replace Your Motorcycle Tires

Safety is the main reason why we change our tires. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to go to a local shop immediately:

Change Your Motorcycle Tires if There are Obvious Signs of Wear

It’s a no-brainer that once your tires look battered, they need to be replaced right away. On the other hand, if you want to get more technical, you can look for their Tread Wear Indicator (TWI.) This is a small raised rubber between the grooves, roughly 1/32” or 2/32” below the tire’s surface.

Always look out for their levelness. If your tires are nearing the tip of this indicator, it’s time to throw them out. Don’t wait until the last minute and wear your tires completely before getting new ones.

Checking the TWI regularly will give you enough time to switch before putting yourself in danger. Make sure to add checking your tire’s TWI to your motorcycle maintenance routine.

Change Your Motorcycle Tires if They’re Over Five Years Old

Rubber tires are non-biodegradable, which means they won’t show any signs of age. They may look fine on the outside with no cuts or wears but they’re still unviable because of age.

The general rule is to buy new tires every five to six years. This is enough time for tires to develop inevitable problems, such as dry rot or structural or accumulated damage.

Simply look at the manufacture date embossed on the wheel. Look for the acronym “DOT,” which stands for “Department of Transportation,” on the outer side of the tire. You will see four digits on the same line. The first two stand for the week while the last two represent the manufacture date. Therefore, if the number is 3717, you should read it as the “37th week of 2017.”

Change Your Motorcycle Tires if The Tires are Cut and Punctured

Simple patches can’t repair more serious damages like cuts and punctures. These damages are already caused by the constant contact between the wheel and the hard pavement. Moreover, cut and punctured tires can also be caused by the jagged rocks and spiky trails.

Never use flat tires or tires with holes in them. Doing this can be very dangerous.

There are still other signs of damage that you should be aware of. Replace your tires right away if:

  • You see any cuts both at the sides and the bottom.
  • There are visible beads.
  • The tread rubber has been deformed.
  • You notice shredded parts that drag while riding the motorcycle.
  • There are signs of corrosion.

Always keep an eye out for any of these signs. Also, ask a technician to inspect your tires every time you bring your bike in for routine check-ups.

Change Your Motorcycle Tires if They’re Cupping

Cupping refers to an uneven wear pattern—it’s like seeing “cups” through the surface of the tires. Cupping is also sometimes called tire scalloping. This means that the tires don’t make contact with the road and the concave parts won’t even touch the ground.

Tire cupping can be caused by a variety of reasons, including:

  1. Faulty shock absorbers or suspension motorcycle parts. This means that the tires take the impact of making harsh contact with the ground, leading to their deformed shape. The lack of bounce in the bike also increases the friction on the wheels, which then alters their structure.
  2. Wheel misalignment. If the front and back wheels are installed at different angles, they’ll continuously struggle to keep up with the terrain. This will later result in unevenness. You can determine if they’re installed at the right angles by checking the tread marks to correct the positioning.
  3. Tire quality. Don’t let cheap tires fool you. If you invested in tires that are cheaper than normal, don’t expect them to hold their integrity for long.

Cupping can affect your balance as you ride. It affects your overall safety, too, since you no longer have full control over the wheels due to their shape. Having an unpredictable wheel shape also means that the wheel will create a rumbling sound when riding at faster speeds.

You can salvage cupped tires and reverse them if caught early or if the issue is your bike’s suspension parts. Consult a professional first and let them decide if you can keep your tires or not.

Change Your Motorcycle Tires if There are Uneven Tread Wears

All wheels come with the usual tread pattern along their outer surface. However, if you notice patchy tread wears, this can indicate an underlying mechanical issue with your motorcycle. Diagonal tread wears are also dangerous and are often caused by wheel misalignment.

Several issues cause uneven tread wears, including a lack of air pressure in the wheels, a malfunctioning shock absorber, etc. Any form of unevenness in your tires can be a huge risk to your overall safety. For instance, it can cause you to lose your balance while riding or make it more difficult to ride comfortably.

The good news is, you can easily avoid uneven tread wears. Hop in your bike and check the balance every six months. Make sure to look for these signs so that you can remedy them immediately.

How to Extend the Life of Your Motorcycle Tires

Follow these tips to save money and make your motorcycle tires last longer. Taking care of your tires properly will help them reach the five-year mark when you can already officially change them.

Maintain Proper Tire Pressure

Inflating your tires help keep them in top shape and allow you to drive safely and efficiently. Deflated tires that are placed under pressure increase the heat, weaken the tire’s ability to handle traction, and more.

The tire pressure must also match your bike’s requirements, so check the manual first for the right tire pressure. Heavier models need higher tire pressure and an extra pound or two of pressure helps when traveling along slippery roads.

Keep the Right Tire Alignment

Misaligned tires create diagonal treads and can cause damage to the rear tire. Remember that even the smallest degree of misalignment is enough to shorten the lifespan of the tires.

You can check for the tire alignment by taking two straight objects, such as strings or sticks. See if the rear tire is aligned with the front tire. Having aligned tires helps minimize wear as it prevents the tires from working against each other.

Check Your Motorcycle’s Balance

An imbalanced motorcycle harms the tires because of the uneven weight distribution. Make sure to check the balance every 500-1000 miles of usage.

Clean the Tires Properly

Tires are constantly exposed to dust, dirt, and caked mud. So, make it a habit to clean them regularly. Stick to water and mild soap. Dilute the mild soap in water and remove all the caked mud, especially on the treads. Don’t forget to wipe off dribbled lubricants from the chains and oils from the brakes to avoid damaging the tires.

Never use stronger soaps as these can damage the tires’ layers, making them more prone to cuts and abrasions. Moreover, some tire soaps may wash away the oils that bind the rubber molecules. This makes the tires weaker and thus, results in cracking and accelerates their deterioration.

Observe Proper Storage

Store your bike in a dry, clean, and safe area. This prevents the tires from being submerged in dirt or mud to help prolong their lifespan.

In case you don’t have a garage, use a waterproof motorcycle cover to protect the tires from the rain. You can also buy covers with UV protection to protect the tires from the sun.

Don’t Brake Aggressively

Braking aggressively is tough for your tires and causes stress and friction. This hastens the wear and tear. Remember to always brake gently to avoid the serious side effects of panic braking.

It’s also not recommended to hard start or push-start your motorcycle.

Inspect Your Tires Regularly

Regular inspection can help you spot problems before they turn into more serious damages. Always look for small holes, lodged objects, or any irregularities.

You’ll also want to watch out for deformities like cupping. Again, it makes the tire’s surface uneven and can result from incorrect inflation or a suspension or spring problem.


Observing these five signs is a huge help to let you know when it’s time to change your motorcycle tires. Make it a point to constantly check for these signs so that you can fix the issue as soon as possible. Proper tires are the difference between life and death, so always check if they’re in good shape before every ride.

Happy shopping and be safe on the road!

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