First and foremost, the general rule with bike maintenance is “when in doubt, replace it.” That said, there are plenty of simple ways to tell if a tire needs replacing. Just remember that, like every other aspect of a bicycle, a tire has a lifespan. It may lose its elasticity or performance even if it is not worn through.
With these ten indications, you’ll never again have to worry about whether your tires need replacement.
- Worn or Bald Tread
- Cracked Sidewalls
- Manufacturing Defects
- Frequent Flats
- Squared Off Tire
- Exposed Casing
- Bulges and Bubbles
- Ridge In the Middle Of the Tire
- Cuts Or Holes In the Tire
- Bike Handling Is Not As Good As It Used to Be
Continue reading as I give you a brief explanation of every one of these!
How Many Years Do Bike Tires Last?
On average, the bike tire can last one year if you ride it less than 20 miles daily on a fairly straight and smooth road. In case of rough usage, the lifespan may reduce.
Bicycle tires last a long time, but they can still wear down if you’re not careful. They’re made of rubber, so they won’t be able to hold up forever if you don’t take care of them.
The wear rate on bicycle tires depends on many factors
- How often do you ride (more miles equals less wear)
- Where you ride (rides on hills and long distances can wear out faster)
- What kind of surface you’re riding on (pavement has less friction than dirt or grass).
Why Is Replacing Your Bike Tires Necessary?
You must replace the bike tire to ensure the rider’s safety with perfect road traction. Changing tires will help you handle the bike better. It will account for increased safety, and allows greater control, hence, providing peace of mind
Moreover, these pose huge risks to the rider if not replaced within appropriate intervals. The reason for this is simple: bike tires are made of rubber, and rubber wears out when you ride it.
The more you ride it, the faster the wear will occur. Eventually, the time will come when they won’t stay befitting anymore.
Besides that, there are several other reasons why replacing these tires is vital for the rider that you’ll find below.
» Read my blog post: Studded Bicycle Tires « Pros and Cons
When to Replace Your Bike Tire?
You must replace a tire that is too old and worn out. There isn’t any hard and fast time span indicating a change, as it depends on a multitude of factors.
Below I’ve shared the top 10 facts that’ll help you figure out when to replace your bike tire!
#1 Worn or Bald Tread
Bike tires have some trades and protruded structures for traction. However, these don’t last forever. They get worn down by the elements on the road. A time comes when the constant road contact makes the tire utterly bald from the outside.
At that time, you’ve ridden so many miles you can’t remember what it feels like to get a flat. You can’t even tell when it’s bald. That is the place when the worn or bald tread starts risking your safety.
A naked eye examination is the best way to detect a bald tire. You will have a smooth, round surface outside the tire without tread.
If you’ve got a tire like this, you should definitely replace it. You may think your tire is fine, but if you’re riding in a wet environment, or if there’s even the slightest chance that you’ll hit a pothole or a crack in the road, your tire will give out.
#2 Cracked Sidewalls
Age is the biggest factor in cracked sidewalls of a tire. Wheels are made of a material called vulcanized rubber. It is what gives them strength and flexibility.
Rubber is vulcanized by heating it to about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and then squishing it with a pressurized air gun. The result is a flexible material that stretches and compresses as it moves.
This process makes it possible for the tire to give you a smooth ride over all kinds of terrain—from pavement to gravel paths. Even if they’re not perfectly round at all times, they serve the purpose well.
However, this flexibility means that as the age of your tires, they lose some of their strength in different places across the tire’s surface area. It can result in cracks that can eventually lead to blowouts or flat tires!
Any tire with a crack is on the verge of destruction. Therefore, once you see a sidewall crack, tire replacement is the best way to get safe from it.
#3 Manufacturing Defects
It is not always the customer usage that makes a tire unusable. Sometimes carelessness of companies can pay the price as well. During manufacturing, sometimes companies leave errors and defects unnoticed.
These defects are not dangerous but can affect the tire’s performance. So, it’s important to know when to get a new one.
The most common defect is a hole in the tire that causes it to be underinflated. It can lead to flat tires and slow response times on your bike. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s best to replace your tire right away.
Other common defects include cracks or splits in the rubber that makes up the inner tube.
It might not seem like a big deal at first glance, but repeated exposure to these defects can cause them to spread and make the entire inner tube useless.
If you notice something like this happening, it’s time for a new tire!
#4 Frequent Flats
It’s not uncommon for a bike tire to go flat. But what do you do when it happens? Should you change it right away or wait until later?
The answer depends on how often you ride your bike and the kind of riding you do. If you’re just commuting to work, don’t sweat it if your tire goes flat once in a while.
However, if this intensity jumps up a number, it will cause a change in tire depth. That will weaken the tire for rough road usage and increase your chances of losing control.
If you are getting flats every month or so, that is a clear indication for you to change the tire.
Besides that, after 6 to 8 flats, you must change the tire. Otherwise, you will be risking your safety by going on the road.
#5 Squared Off Tire
Wear and tear cost you the cracked sidewall and a squared-off tire. That is one of the major aspects that need instant attention.
If your bike has a squared-off tire, the center of the tire is wider than the sides. It can cause some serious problems if it’s not addressed. Usually, the rear tire is the one getting bombarded with this type of issue.
The rear weight-bearing part pushes down the tire, which increases contact between the tire and the road.
As a result, the tire starts getting worn out. At some point, its central part gets wider, and the tire cannot keep its semi-circular shape.
For that reason, the tire becomes weak from the center. That’s where the replacement comes in as a vital necessity. If you do not want your tire to burst out in the middle of nowhere from a pothole, you should replace it.
» This could also be something for you: What Is A Folding Bike Tire?
#6 Exposed Casing
Bike tires are made up of rubber layers; if the casing around them becomes too thin, those layers can start to come apart. It exposes the inner tube, which can make for a dangerous ride. Mainly a tire has three top casings.
These help keep your tires well-inflated and properly aired so they can hold air for as long as possible. However, it won’t be possible for you to maintain the tires if you drive the bike around the mountains.
Their casing will not last much with prolonged exposure to environments with stones and tree branches. The harsh conditions will cause its rubber to deteriorate and expose its internal casing.
The outer casing of the tire is made of flexible rubber that is strong enough to handle environmental stress. However, the inner casing isn’t.
Once you start traveling on the road with the exposed casing, the chances of a flat tire will increase. It is all due to the increased tube damage rate that upsurges after the damage to the casing.
#7 Bulges and Bubbles
To be honest, we use tires for a single main purpose: a smooth ride. If these rubber pieces of equipment do not even execute their only function, there is no need for their usage.
Bulges and bubbles are the main cause of bumpy riding. Bulges are the outward protrusions the tire has due to high pressure.
Whenever the tire comes in contact at a specific point, it causes a slight bump. This rhythmic bumping is really uncomfortable for the rider.
That’s not it. These bubbles and bulges also increase the rate of tire bursts. That is because these structures are the points at which the tire structure is too weak.
To prevent all those risks and ensure safe and reliable riding on the road, you must replace your bike tire when you see any bulges or bubbles in your tire.
» You can also read my post: How to Easy Inflate a Bike Tire
#8 Ridge In the Middle Of the Tire
Tire wear is a natural part of riding, so you can’t always avoid it. However, the ridge indicates that things are getting out of hand.
A tire with a ridge in the middle of the tread is no longer safe for use. The ridge can cause multiple problems, including:
- Bumping and cracking when the tire is in use (which could cause you to crash)
- Flat spots and uneven wear on your tires
The ridge will be very visible to you and other bikers on the road. It can reduce the air pressure and increase blowouts if you don’t fix them quickly.
If you’ve got a ridge in the middle of your tire, it means that one side is being stressed more than the other.
The tires will wear faster, get thrown off balance, and even become dangerous because they don’t have enough grip on either side of them anymore.
So if there’s a ridge in the middle of your tire, it’s time to get new ones!
#9 Cuts Or Holes In the Tire
You should always check your tire’s condition before riding on it for the first time. It’s really easy to forget about your bike tire since you ride it every day.
But if you’re riding in areas with rough terrain or other hazards, your tires could be more vulnerable than you realize.
When you bounce over a bump in the road, your bike tires get pushed against the inside of the tire instead of being supported by it. It can cause serious damage over time and also reduces their lifespan.
Cuts and holes can be dangerous. These can even cause you to lose control of your bike if they’re not addressed on time.
You should replace your tire as soon as possible because if it gets worse, it will be more difficult for you to maneuver safely on the road.
#10 Bike Handling Is Not As Good As It Used to Be
As with any vehicle, the condition of your bike tires directly affects its handling. If you notice that your bike handles differently than it used to, you may have a tire problem.
Wear and tear doesn’t always happen right away. But eventually, tires will lose their grip on the road and start slipping around under your feet when you ride. It is a fact. And yet, we don’t want to hear it!
When a bike tire begins to wear out, its flexibility and ability to respond to the motion of the bicycle decreases. That can cause you to lose control of the bicycle or have a reduced ability to steer.
The best way to determine whether your tire needs replacing is by paying attention to how much traction you’re getting while riding.
If you’re having trouble stopping on wet pavement or going up hills, it’s probably time for a new tube!
How to Identify a Worn-out Tire?
There are several ways to tell if your tires are worn out. One way is to look at the tread. If you can see an area where the tire is worn down, this area has separated from the rest of the tire.
Here are the three most common and basic ways to check your tire’s life in a snap:
- Checking Tread Depth
- Checking the Sidewall
- Checking For Uneven Wear
Should I Replace My Bike Tire Or Tube?
If your bike tire or tube has been damaged by something as simple as a nail stuck in the tread pattern, it’s probably time for a replacement. You should immediately replace your bike tire or tube if it can no longer hold air and ride without leaks.
Bike tires and tubes are manufactured to last long under normal conditions. However, bad weather or accidents can destroy them in an instant.
First off, if your bike has been sitting in a garage for a while, it may not be as reliable as it used to be. If that’s the case, then replacing the tube and tire will help ensure that your bike stays working well for years.
But if you haven’t ridden your bike in a while, or if it hasn’t been used regularly, then replacing just the tube might be enough to get you back on track with maintenance.
» Read my blog post about: How Much is a New Bike Tire
It’s probably time for a replacement if you can see wear on the inner tread. You can say goodbye to those bald tires!
But make sure you’re taking appropriate care of the tire while riding on the road with perfect alignment. Otherwise, you may have to replace the tire sooner in the following months!
So, check your tire right now and see if you need to replace it!