How long do motorcycle tires last? Maintenance Guide
You might not know this, but your motorcycle tires have an expiry date. The experts recommend that they should last for around 5 years, after which you should consider replacing them.
It's important to heed to this advice since old, worn-out motorcycle tires can significantly affect the performance of your bike on the road. Plus, they make your motorcycle dangerous to ride.
With this in mind, you'd want to know how old your tires to help you replace them on time and keep your bike running at its best.
Why Do Motorcycle Tires Expire?
The reason why tires come with an age limit is that the rubber components used to make them tend to deteriorate with time.
To be precise, the rubber compounds will oxidize with continued use. This leads to hardening and, thus, increased brittleness and reduced flexibility.
See Also: Best Motorcycle Tire Repair Kit Reviews
Since oxidization is a developing process, these tires come with an age limit—regardless of whether you use them or not.
How To Determine The Age of Your Motorcycle Tires
Now that we have stated that you should not use your motorcycle tires after they hit 5 years, you might be wondering how you can check the age of your tires.
Well, you don't have to do any guesswork as all the information you need to determine your tires age is written on the sidewall of these tires.
To get this information;
Check the sidewall of your tire for the acronym "DOT" and check the series of numbers that follows it.
You should focus on the last 4 digits of these number series as they'll help you uncover when your tire was manufactured.
Of these 4 digits, the first 2 represent the week of manufacturers, and the last 2 the year of manufacture.
Don't get it?
Here's an example to make things easier for you…
Let's say the last four numbers on your tire sidewall are 3517. This simply means that your tire was made on the 35th week of the year 2017.
Having deciphered this info, now grab a calculator and divide the number of weeks by 4.3 to determine the month of manufacture.
This means the tire was made in August 2017.
Now subtract the manufacturer date from the current date to get the exact tire age.
In this case:
August 2019 - August 2017= 2 years.
For this particular tire, you'll have to replace it in August 2022, so you'll have to wait for around 3 more years.
Remember that the sidewalls of these tires also provide you with additional crucial info on the tire's width and height, and even the rim size. This will come in handy when looking for a tire replacement.
IMPORTANT: If you go shopping for tires from a dealer today and come across a tire that was manufactured last year, it's still considered new. BUT… keep in mind that the safe limit for all rubber tires is 5 years from the manufacturing date. This is the period after which the rubber compounds cease being reliable.
Rule of thumb: Replace your motorcycle tires when they hit their 5th birthday, even if they still appear to be in good working conditions.
Other Reasons To Replace Your Motorcycle Tires:
We've said it severally earlier on… that you need to replace your tire when they hit they hit their expiry date.
But this isn't always the case.
Sometimes, you might be forced to change the tires before they hit 5 years due to a number of reasons that we're going to share with you below…
Should You Replace Both Tires?
You should only replace the tire that has reached the age limit, has tread wear, or has any other defects we have outlined above.
If you notice any physical damages on both tires or they're over 5 years from the date of manufacture, only then should you consider replacing both of them.
In most cases, the rear tire wears out faster than the front one. This is quite understandable given that this rear tire sends all the engine's power on the road, taking more than half of your bike's weight.
Most seasoned riders confess to changing the front tire with every second rear tire change.
In case you're switching to a different model or brand of tires, then you might consider changing both the front and rear tires. Riding a bike with tires of different models/brands might result in strange handling issues.
Tips for Keeping Your Tires In Good Shape For Long
Frequently replacing your motorcycle tires before they reach the recommended age limit can take a toll on your finances.
Luckily, you can observe the following motorcycle tire maintenance tips to ensure your tires stand the test of time:
Motorcycle tires have a maximum age limit of 5 years, after which you should replace them, even if they still look perfect. Past this period, the rubber components used to make them tend to harden, making them feel brittle and less flexible.
But you don't always have to wait for the expiry date to replace your tires. Regularly inspect, and if you notice any punctures, cuts, damages, tear and wear, etc., you should consider changing the tire, even if the 5-year period isn't over.
Regular (and proper) tire maintenance can go a long way in helping your tires serve you for longer, avoid frequent replacements, and save you money.