3 Motorcycle Tire Maintenance Tips

Posted on: 17 August 2015

If you were asked what the most important part of your motorcycle was, would tires be the first thing that came to mind? Tires in good condition help keep you safe by gripping the road in inclement weather and around tight corners. Here are three tips that can help you keep your motorcycle tires in good shape.

Know the Tire Damage Warning Signs

Unexpected tire blowouts are one of the most dangerous accidents that can occur on the road. Fortunately, there will often be a few warning signs that a safety-conscious cyclist can look out for before their tires completely fail.

Some types of tire damage will have a noticeable impact on the way that your motorcycle handles. Front motorcycle tires are prone to a type of damage called cupping. With this type of damage, you will notice excessively worn dips around the length of the tire, usually with gaps in between. Cupping can cause excessive vibration and can make your bike pull to one side. If you notice this type of damage, replace the tire as soon as possible and have your front shocks inspected.

Other types of tire damage may only be noticeable if you visually inspect the tires. Bulges, cracks, and cuts on a tire should be seen as urgent problems, and you should have the tire replaced as soon as possible. These imperfections indicate weak spots in a tire and make it much more likely that it will fail in the near future. It is also a good idea to use the coin test to check the depth of your tire treads when you inspect them.

Maintain Safe Air Pressure

Air pressure is one of the most important aspects of a tire's health. The inflation level of your tires affects your motorcycle's gas mileage, the load-bearing capabilities of the tires, and how well the tires are able to grip the road. Over-inflated tires will have less surface area in contact with the asphalt underneath, reducing traction and compromising their handling in rain and snow. On the other hand, under-inflated tires will have too much contact with the road, leading to heat buildup from excess friction that reduces the life of the tire.

Maintaining safe tire pressure is easy if you keep a tire pressure gauge in your glove box and check your tires at least once a month. You will find the manufacturer's tire pressure recommendation for your motorcycle in the owner's manual. Remember that your pressure gauge will only read your tires accurately when they have been resting for a few hours. Friction with the road generates heat that causes the air inside your tires to expand, which in turn causes your gauge to read an incorrectly high pressure.

Have Your Tires Rotated and Balanced

While DIY maintenance will do a lot to extend the life of your tires, some types of maintenance should always be done by a professional. Every time you change a tire on your motorcycle, you should have the wheel assembly rebalanced at a repair shop. This minimizes tire vibration, slows down tire wear, and improves steering and cornering.

Rotating your tires regularly is another important tire maintenance step that will reduce how often your have to replace your tires. Rotating tires allows the entire tire to wear evenly as long as your tires have been balanced properly. To maximize the lifespan of your tires and prevent weak spots caused by excessive wear, it is recommended that you have your tires rotated every 5,000 to 7,000 miles.

Maintaining your motorcycle tires is one of the best ways to protect your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road. Use these simple maintenance steps to get the most out of your tires and avoid accidents and injuries. For more tips, you may want to contact a local motorcycle repair shop.