Motorcycles are incredibly fun to drive and are a great way to nip around, however, as is the case with any vehicle, it is super important that you maintain the upkeep of your bike to ensure your safety and the safety of others.
Old and worn-out tires will have a massive impact on your bike’s performance as well as the traction level of your motorcycle on the road.
Simply put, driving with bald or expired tires is very dangerous.
This is why it’s really important to be aware of how old your tires are so that you know when they need changing because within 5 years you must replace your tires regardless of how worn they may be.
How Old Can Motorcycle Tires Be And Still Be Safe?
Tires are made with rubber components, however, with time the rubber starts to deteriorate which is the main reason why tires have a shelf-life.
What happens is that the rubber compounds in the tire become oxidized with frequent use.
When the tire oxidizes, it leads to hardening which in turn then increases the brittleness of the tires while decreasing their flexibility.
Because oxidization is an unavoidable developing process, tires have an age limit, regardless of how much you use them.
How Often Should You Replace Motorcycle Tires?
You must change your motorcycle tires every five years.
You may need to replace them earlier than this but the absolute maximum time that they should stay on your bike.
So you may want to check the age of your tires if you haven’t already.
Doing so isn’t complicated at all, all the information that you’ll need is written on the tires themselves!
If you take a glance at the sidewall of your tire you should be able to notice where it says DOT which stands for date of tires.
From there you should also see a sequence of numbers. It’s the final four digits that you’re focusing on.
The last four digits of the number sequence let you know the week and year that the tires were manufactured.
The first two numbers represent the week and the latter two the year.
So for example say your numbers are 3517, it would mean your tire was manufactured on the 35th week of 2017.
To determine the month you just need to divide the number of weeks by 4.3.
In this example, 35 divided by 4.3 is 8 (and some spare change) which means that the tire was made in the 8th month (August) of 2017.
Then all that’s left to do is to subtract the manufacturer date from the current date and voila, you now know the age of your tires.
When Might You Need To Change Your Tires Before 5 Years?
We’ve already established that you’ll need to change your tires within 5 years of the manufacturing date, however, sometimes you’ll need to replace your tires before then.
Here is a list of other reasons that you’ll need to replace your tires:
Punctures – If you puncture your tires it’s really important that you get those tires changed as soon as possible. Yes, puncture kits are available but these should only ever be used as quick fixes to enable you to reach the nearest garage.
They should not be a permanent fix as riding with a puncture can be a very dangerous decision.
Tread Wear – The tread on your tires plays a vital role in keeping you safe. Tread is responsible for keeping a grip on all surfaces while you drive and pushes away any water.
If the tread on your tires is worn down you need to replace them, you are best doing this before the legal tread limit but once you hit that (2/32 inches of tread depth) then it is a legal requirement to change the tires and you can have serious implications if you don’t.
Damaged Tire – You should always inspect your tires before you start driving. Have a quick check for dry rot or cracking. If you see either of these, your motorcycle isn’t really fit to be driving and you should replace the tire immediately.
Should You Always Replace Both Tires?
You really only need to replace both tires if they both meet the age limit, or fall under the reasons mentioned above.
If only one tire is incriminating, then you need only replace that particular tire.
It tends to be the case that a motorcycle’s rear tire will wear out at a much faster rate than the front tire.
This is because the rear tire is responsible for sending all the engine’s power onto the road and also holds over half of the weight of the bike.
Due to this many riders will change their front tire every other time that they change the rear one.
The only time that I would advise changing both tires together is if you’re switching the brand or model of tires that you’re currently using as using tires with different models or brands of tires can cause serious handling issues that could risk your safety.
Having tires that are not fit for the road is detrimental to your safety and your safety is the most important thing to think about when riding.
Motorcycle riding can be a hobby for some and a passion for others, but regardless of whether you’re riding every couple of weeks or every couple of hours, once you hit the 5-year mark you need to change those tires.
Of course, if you have issues with your tires before they hit their 5th birthday, then they will need to be replaced too but you only need to replace out-of-date or faulty tires.
There is no need to replace both tires at the same time unless there is a need to.