The U.S. loves its vehicles. There are five times more heliports in the U.S. than any other country in the world, around 80 million citizens have taken out car loans to secure their preferred mode of transportation, and 8.6 million motorcycles are currently cruising down American roads. The latter offers a combination of thrill and speed that ensures you’ll be feeling the wind in your hair — but only if they’re properly taken care of.
Though there are many components that make up a motorcycle, the tires are singularly important: out of all the motor vehicle traffic fatalities that occurred in 2017, a shocking 738 came as a result of tire-related crashes. Let’s take a look at some of the warning signs, and go over a few tips that will keep your tires in tip-top shape.
It’s Time To Replace
Tire changes are routine and commonplace, but many people put them off far longer than they should. With the risk of blowouts, crashes, and flats — all escalated, of course, because motorcycles don’t have the added protection of a cab –, it’s vital that you know when it’s time to boot your current tires and invest in some new ones. Keep an eye out for the following signs:
- Punctures: Tires are durable and designed to withstand impacts, but they aren’t indestructible. Punctures are the most obvious problem to diagnose because you’ll be driving on flat tires. Your mechanic will be able to tell you whether it can be patched or needs to be replaced.
- Signs of aging: Even tires that have sat in storage and have rarely (if ever) been used can show external signs of aging. Look for deformations or cracks in the tread, on the shoulders, or on the sides. If you’re unsure what you’ve found — or if your tires are five years or older — take them to a professional mechanic to get checked out.
- Tread limit has been reached: A lack of tread on your tires puts you at a higher risk for an accident. Slowing down will be difficult even in ideal situations, so look for the tread wear indicator; they resemble little bumps and can be found at the bottom of the main grooves. When the rubber has worn down to this level, the tire has reached its legal wear limit and must be replaced.
Caring For New Tires
Proper tire care is simple at straightforward. We know that you probably purchased your bike because you feel the need, the need for speed, but only through responsible driving can you ensure your tires last as long as they’re supposed to. Do your best to avoid burning rubber, and perform quick inspections every time you hop on. Your motorcycle — and your health — will thank you.
The rate of accident fatality in 2016 was 5,286 out of 8,679,380 registered motorcycles. One of the best ways you can keep yourself (and others on the road) safe is to constantly check on the health of your tires. Don’t endanger yourself by driving on old or worn tires; get them replaced as soon as you discover signs of damage or risk becoming another statistic.