American Motorcycle News

Signs Your Motorcycle Tire Needs to Be Replaced

Suffice to say that your motorcycle tires are an essential part that every motorcyclist should be careful. Motorcycles with old tires that are dry rot or have been damaged in some way can affect your riding style and could even lead to an accident on account of the tire’s bad shape. So how do you know the right time to replace your motorcycle tire? Well, in this guide, I’ll go over everything that you need to know about replacing motorcycle tires and why you should care about motorcycle tire date codes.

How to tell the age of a motorcycle tire the ultimate guide

Motorcycle tires, similar to most things that you can buy have a dedicated shelf life. Better known as tire age, you always want to be careful that you’re never riding on tires that are old or beat up. Old tires don’t just struggle with traction, but too much tread wear can completely remove the tread patterns that allow the tires to grip onto the road. So that begs the question, how do you tell the age of your tires and what should you do with an old tire.

How to tell your tire’s age

There are a few ways that you can tell the age of your tires, with one of the most important one being just by looking at it. More specifically, you want to look at the tread and how much of it is left on your motorcycle tires. Tread refers to the circumference of the motorcycle tire that is making contact with the road.

Tread depth

With time, the tread depth tends to wear down, which means that the tread pattern will eventually start to fade away. By checking the tread wear indicators or by doing a simple penny test to measure tread depth, you can find out if its time to replace your motorcycle tires.

You can perform the penny test by inserting a penny with Lincoln’s head first. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, through the tread its a sign of the tire age, so you need to replace the motorcycle tires.

Cracks on tire’s sidewall

One thing that defines new tires is the lack of cracks throughout the surface, which usually occur as a result of too much direct sunlight. Most tire manufacturers will recommend that they keep their track tires in a cool dry place and dark place. But if the tire sidewall on the radial tire has too many cracks, then its possible that you didn’t store it in a cool place and it might be time to replace tires.

Motorcycle tire date code

Finally one of the best ways to tell a motorcycle tires’ age is by checking the motorcycle tires date code. You can find this date code on the surface of the rim diameter as a three digit code. Most manufacturers will add these tire codes to the tire’s sidewall, along the rim diameter making it easy for anyone to see. The date code is essentially when the manufactures manufactured the tires, making it one of the most accurate ways of telling how old your tires are.

Other information on motorcycle tires

Along with the date code on sidewalls of most motorcycle tire, you can find more information about your tires. This sequence of letters and numbers represent a lot of information about tires that can help you find a replacement.

Alongside the four digit number of the date code, you can see the dot code and the code for aspect ratio, speed rating, load rating, and tire size. All of this information, especially the speed ratings and tire size, help you determine the right tire for your motorcycle. Most motorcyclists don’t know what this particular code means, but that’s fine since most consumers don’t think too hard about their constructed motorcycle tire.

The speed rating on your tire sidewall will always be a letter and it represents the maximum speed that your bike can go. You can look up what each speed rating means to see how fast you can safely drive. Most tires will have their speed rating in the beginning or at the end of the sequence.

Other than speed, the other numbers of the sequence will represent the load rating, which is the maximum load that your tires can carry. This load will always be a number like 73, which is code for the load that it can handle.

The first two numbers in the sequence will always be the tire’s width and the diameter of the motorcycle tire, which can include the rim size. The tire’s width will be in millimeters and the diameter of the tire will be in inches, which will also include the rim size. By taking care of all these factors the eh when you’re riding, you can improve the tire life of both the rear tire and the front tire of your street bikes. The sidewall of the tire will also include the aspect ratio of the tire, which is the percentage of the width to the height of the motorcycle tire. The aspect ratio is another important consideration when buying the back and front tire.

Motorcycle tire date codes: how to make a motorcycle tire last longer

A motorcycle tires goes through a lot of wear and tear depending on your riding style, whether you prefer road riding or going off road. Even older bikes and used bike can run into the same issues of a motorcycle tire suffering from uneven wear as a result of improper inflation. Many riders on a bike want to make sure that their motorcycle tire can last them a long time, since most tire rubber tends to degrade over time. The effect of riding many miles the becomes especially apparent on the sidewall of the tire and its width.

The first way that you can keep your manufactured tires in good condition despite their age is by checking their air pressure regularly. Safety is always the first priority of any rider, especially since their handling an expensive bike. Old tires with flat spots and an old manufacture date will especially effect your riding style, since they can affect the centrifugal force of the inner tube of the tires, especially when you go off road. You can use a manual gauge to check the air pressure in your tires. If its too low, simply add more through the valve stem. You should also make sure not to over inflate your tires with air, especially with radial tires, since it makes your tires more susceptible to puncture.

Secondly, you should avoid riding down bumpy roads if you want your tires to ave a longer life. Most companies manufacture their tires for motorcycles that are going to more or less be riding on asphalt. But if you regularly go off road as a rider, that can affect the safety of your bike. So despite how careful you are with your handling, riders who go on bumpy roads can cause premature wear to their rear and front tires. Riders should especially be careful of uneven wear throughout the rear tyre, which can affect its performance regardless of manufacturer date.

Next, you should also makes that your wheels are aligned properly. You can visit a mechanic so that they can check your bike’s alignment for you and fix up your wheels. Misaligned tires can significantly reduce the life of your the tires and is the first signs that your bike has major problems. Usually a mechanic can also help you track and sort out other issues with your bike too. They can cover issues with the break and suspension or even the rubber, so you can make sure you’re ready for track day.

Finally, you should rotate your tires as often as you can to make sure the wear evenly and extend the life of your tires. Despite the construction of your tires, they are very likely to become worn and lose their ability to grip the road.


As someone who just got into bikes, it can be hard too keep track of all this information about your bike and how you should take care of it. So here are some answers to popular questions:

How can i tell the age of my tires?

One of the easiest ways that you can tell the age of your tires is just by looking at the DOT code that you can find on the sidewall of your tire. This code will always be four digits followed by two letters. The first two numbers show the week of the year of the tire’s manufacturing. The final two numbers represent the the year itself. For instance, the code 1419 means that this tire finished manufacturing in in the 14th week of 2019.

How old is too old for a tire?

Most people expect their tires to last a long time even if they don’t use them as often. However, even if you barely use your tires, you should replace them after six years.