Informational Guide

When To Replace Motorcycle Tires

The tires on your bike are vital in ensuring optimal motorcycle safety. Therefore, knowing when to replace the motorcycle tires is essential if you want to achieve superior handling and have peace of mind.  

In this guide, we will cover how to know when motorcycle tires need replacing, so you can remain protected.  

The Tire Has Punctures & Cuts 

When should I change my motorcycle tires? The motorcycle tire is meant to hold up under a lot of pressure, and it can take its fair share of impacts. However, it's not immune to damage, especially if you run over something sharp. When the tire ends up with a puncture or cut, it might go flat. This is a clear-cut sign that it could be time to put on a new tire unless the puncture can be patched.  

Uneven Tread Wear 

The tire tread should wear evenly. However, when the wear becomes localized in a certain place, you might need to swap out the tire. You also want to figure out why the tire is wearing unevenly and fix the mechanical failure before putting on a new tire.  

In some cases, the shock absorbers might be worn. There could also be a balance issue or something as simple as not using the right amount of tire pressure.  

Even when the tread is wearing as expected, you need to know when to replace motorcycle tires for tread depth depletion. Federal laws make it clear that tires should be changed when there is 1/32" to 2/32" of tread depth left, but it doesn't hurt to do it sooner. 

The Tire Is Old 

It's difficult to determine when a motorcycle tire is too old because not everyone uses them the same. The way the bike is stored, the weather conditions, and your riding style will all factor into how old the tire becomes. It's important to inspect the tires regularly and look for signs of aging, such as tread cracks, deformations, or dry rot.  

How do you know when to replace motorcycle tires for age? Once you have used the tires for five years, you want to have a professional check the tires yearly. In many cases, all motorcycle tires that are still on after ten years should be swapped, even if they are still in good condition.  

The Tire Is Damaged 

Damage can help you determine how to know when to change motorcycle tires. Any blunt object or uneven pavement can lead to damage to the tires. If the tire is losing pressure, you want to have it checked for excessive wear or damage. While some damage is repairable, there are instances when patching the tire won't work. For example, you can't patch a puncture made to the sidewall, and there's no repair for visible belts. In many cases, a new tire is all that can be done.  

Cupping or Scalping of the Front Tire 

The cupped tire exhibits uneven patches across the tread. This situation occurs when the tires grab onto the road while turning, which is what they are supposed to do. However, the added force can lead to defects in the tire. If you see cupping or scalping, you know exactly when to replace a front motorcycle tire. 

when to replace motorcycle tires

How To Choose Replacement Tires For Your Motorcycle? 

The Tire Type 

Now that you figured out how to know when to replace motorcycle tires, it's time to choose the appropriate type. You will pick from the cruise, dual-sport/ACV, street, or dirt tires. Pick the type that matches your bike and riding style the best.  

The Tire Size 

If you know when to change motorcycle tires, you need to match up the correct size. On the sidewall of the tire, you will find the tread width, aspect ratio, rim diameter, load rating, and speed rating. All of these must match your new tire choice to maintain the same ride. 

how to choose motorcycle tires

Bias-Ply Vs. Radial Tires 

If you know when to change tires on a motorcycle, your last consideration relies on its construction. Bias-ply tires are going to provide a softer ride and last longer, but the grip is reduced. In comparison, the radial tire is stiffer and offers superior traction, but it's not going to hold up as long.  

Helpful Tips for New Motorbike Tires 

Knowing how to tell when motorcycle tires need to be replaced is just one way to improve the ride. Once you get those new tires, you want to take good care of them. Here are a few tips to get you down the road. 

  • Ensure proper tire inflation: By maintaining tire pressure, you keep the tires lasting longer. Even if they are slightly over or under-inflated, you are going to put excessive wear on the tires. Check tire pressures often and make adjustments as needed. 
  • Use a bike stand: When the bike is sitting, put it on a stand to keep the weight off of the tires. This simple step helps to reduce flat-spotting. If you don't want to invest in a stand, at least roll it forward or backward every few days to reduce where the load is being felt.  
  • Increase tire pressure when carrying a passenger: Bump up the pressure slightly if you are carrying a passenger. You might need to add 1-2 PSI in the front tire and 2-3 PSI in the rear tire.  
  • When you get new tires put on, break them in gently. Check with the manufacturer, but this process could take 100 miles or more.  
tips for motorcycle tires

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How can I tell the age of my motorcycle tires? 

Look at the last four digits of the DOT number on the sidewall. The first two numbers show you the week, and the last two indicate the year, so a 0418 states that the tire was manufactured the fourth week of 2018. You can subtract the manufacture date from the current date to get the age.  

How much does it cost to replace the tires of a motorcycle? 

You need to budget once you know when to change your motorcycle tires. On average, it could cost $25 to $150 per tire, depending on what type you choose and the brand.  

Can I replace only one tire? 

If you know when to replace a rear motorcycle tire, does the front tire need to be replaced as well? Probably not. The tires are going to wear differently, so it's unlikely they need to be changed at the same time.  

How long does it take to replace a motorcycle tire? 

If you have the right tools, you can change a motorcycle tire at home in thirty minutes or less. If you need to go to a tire shop, it won't take them long either, but you might need to wait for other customers in front of you.  


When should you change your motorcycle tires? Whether you need to swap out a tire because of age or wear, you know that replacing it helps you maintain proper on-road safety. Don't delay getting a new tire installed if there's any question about whether it's still functional.