Posted on Feb 13, 2020

When should you replace motorcycle tires

We’ve mentioned in several other articles the importance of your motorcycle’s tires and how their integrity is paramount to ride quality and safety. Your tires are the main point of contact between your motorcycle and the pavement and need to provide adequate traction in order to function properly and ensure you ride safely. Through regular use, all tires begin to wear down and lose their integrity and it is important to stay on top of tire maintenance to provide the best possible ride.

While this is something that can easily be overlooked by most riders (how often do you really check your tires anyway?), it is still essential to regularly check the quality of the treads on your tires so you can ensure adequate grip and performance. If your tires are beginning to look smooth and the treads are becoming less defined and shallower, it is likely time to start looking for new tires.

Riders must also take into account the age of their tires because while the tires may look perfectly fine due to limited use and wear and tear, if they’ve been sitting on your rims for years, the rubber compounds will begin to degrade and dry out. Motorcycle tires feature a date code located near the DOT stamp. This will tell you the week and year of production. The general age limit for motorcycles tires is five years, so it’s best to try and replace your tires before they reach five years after their manufacture date.

We encourage all riders to make a habit of checking their own tires every time they change their oil, as this is a regular interval that is tied to the mileage you’re putting on your motorcycle. Here are a few factors you should check for:

  • Wear and tear: Check for bald spots, missing chunks and overall quality of the tires.
  • Tread: Ensure the tire tread is even all the way around. Make sure the rubber still looks fresh and isn’t turning gray and drying out. If the tire feels brittle and creases show signs of cracking, it’s time to get new tires.
  • Sidewalls: Keep an eye out around the sidewalls as this is often the first area to crack, as tires get too old.
  • Damage: Invest in new tires if your tire has taken some abuse and has multiple plugs in it or has been in storage and sitting on a flat for an extended period of time.

Ensuring your tires are of adequate quality is essential to having a safe and comfortable ride next time you get behind the handlebars. Following these simple steps could mean the difference between a completely normal ride and possibly losing control and taking a spill.

For more relevant news and articles for motorcycle enthusiasts, please check out the Current News for Riders page on

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.