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How Old Can Motorcycle Tires Be and Still Be Safe?

How Old Can Motorcycle Tires Be and Still Be Safe?

Posted by West End Motorsports on Jun 17, 2019

How old can motorcycle tires be and still be safe? This is a question that most motorcycle owners ask themselves. The sad truth is, most of them don’t know that motorcycle tires aren’t designed to last as long as car tires. While most motorcycle tires are designed to last up to 5 years, many factors determine how long your tires will last.

For instance, road hazards, improper inflation pressure, improper use of tires, overloading, tire chain damage, tire spinning, negligence, misuse, tire alteration, and improper or insufficient maintenance may cause tire damage. Having your tires inspected regularly by a professional is highly recommended. For tires with five years of use, an annual inspection is a must. At almost 10 years of use, even with a tread that looks great, the tires should be replaced.

If you’re asking yourself this question: how old can motorcycle tires be and still be safe, here’s a simple guide to determine if it’s time for new tires.

Check Your Tire Tread

a close up on the back tire of a motorbike

Federal and state regulations have a 1/32" to 2/32" tread depth requirement for all motorcycle owners. Usually, the middle of your motorcycle tires have the most contact with the road, so will wear much faster. To have an idea of your tread depth, check your wear indicators that are cast into the rubber tread grooves of the tires or as provided by the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Check for one of the tire grooves, normally located off the center of your motorcycle tires, and pick one with a raised segment of rubber. This raised rubber is the manufacturer’s lowest point of tire tread you can have to ensure safety when riding your motorcycle. An old trick to answering the “how old can motorcycle tires be and still be safe” question involves inserting a penny in the tread and checking how far Abraham Lincoln’s head is submerged.

If not, then you can still use your motorcycle tires for some time before you consider buying replacements. Although you may be tempted to judge the usability and safety of your tires by the tread, this is not the only factor to consider and is highly discouraged by industry key players, including biking experts, motorbike mechanics, and even manufacturers.

Look for Tire Defects

The second step in determining whether your motorcycle tires are still safe or not for use is to look for defects. Cracking along the sidewalls of the tire, also called a dry lot, is one of the indications that your tires need to be replaced. If your tires have a worn out and square profile, you’ll experience lower ride comfort, as the contact patch on the tire edges is small. If either of the left or right sides of the tires are wavy or badly worn, you should replace the tires.

If you’re wondering how old motorcycle tires can be and still be safe, start off by checking for defects on the tires. If you see any uneven wear, it’s time for new replacements. 

Consider the Age of Your Tires

When you think of how long motorcycle tires can last, age is a major factor. The most important thing is to learn how to check your tires to see the level of durability that’s recommended by the manufacturer. All motorcycle tires come with a date code imprinted into the sidewall. This code is a 4-digit number. For example, 1322 stands for the 13th week of 2022. For sports bikes, front tires have a maximum range of 3700 miles, with back wheels at 1800 miles.

The general rule of the thumb when it comes to motorcycle tire age is to change your tires once they’re five years old from the date of manufacture. However, with good maintenance and regular checks at a professional motorcycle shop, they can last a bit longer. Look out for cuts and punctures and loss of pressure too soon as it could be a sign of a worn out bead.

Shop Motorcycle Tires

Shop motorcycle tires

Keep in mind that advances in technology are making motorcycle tires even greater, and there may be a whole new level of performance in new tires that you have never experienced with the older tires you have on your motorcycle. So, how old can motorcycle tires be and still be safe? At least five years is an ideal answer but with good tire maintenance and regular inspections. Great tires not only offer a more planted feel on the road but also improve your riding confidence.

If you’re looking to buy new  motorcycle tires for your V-twin cruiser motorcycle, you’re in the right place at West End Motorsports. We also sell a wide range of V-twin cruiser custom parts and accessories that you can install yourself. Visit our online store or contact us to learn more.