Blowing a tire sucks – there goes precious riding time you can’t get back. Those of us who suffer from FOMO know that’s a pretty big deal. A common question for riders is when to replace UTV tires?
If you’re constantly getting a flat tire, that’s a pretty clear sign the tire needs to be replaced. Then again so is not being able to get off your own driveway.
But what are the not-so-obvious signs for when should you replace your utv tires?
There are three things to look for when determining when to replace your UTV tires: weather checking, uneven wear, and tread separation.
You don’t want to compromise, the handling of your ride, the safety of you and your tribe, or subject yourself to severe ridicule (insert laughing and pointing of fingers).
Weather Checking or Cracks:
Just like the wrinkles on our faces are inevitable, so are the cracking of tires as they age.
Typically small cracks develop in the sidewalls or at the base of the tread grooves as the rubber loses its elasticity. Factors influencing the cracking of the rubber include how you store the tires, how often (or not) you use them, environmental elements like heat and uv rays, and even cleaners your tires are exposed to.
Cracks that appear only on the rubber’s outer surface are cosmetic. The cracks that go deep into the tire’s rubber that are cause for concern, and you will definitely want to replace them at this point.
Most tire manufacturers recommend replacing them every 6 years whether they’re worn or not. If an old tire looks good, the heat of the day and the terrain you’re in can create the right amount of stress to finish the tire off.
Believe it or not, the best way to extend the life of your tires is to use them!
Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) tires that are not used frequently are more likely to experience premature cracking. Especially if they’re parked outside where the tire is exposed to the elements. The anti-aging chemicals used in the rubber compounds work best when the tire is used.
Knowing your vehicle and how it handles is important. Vibrations, strange sounds, pulling one direction or another are all signs of uneven tire wear and indicate when to replace your UTV tires.
Check your tires for uneven wear regularly. It’s easy enough to look over them before each ride.
Different tires wear at different rates. You want to match the tire to the terrain or type of riding it’s meant for. This ensures the tire doesn’t wear down too quickly.
Riding with improper inflation either over or under can create alignment and premature tire wear. Carry a tire pressure gauge and check your tires often. If you’ve been riding in rough terrain or over obstacles make sure your alignment wasn’t affected.
These are easy things you can do to extend the life of your tires.
When checking your tires make sure to check the treads, or lugs, for separation, splits and wear. When the tread separates or splits from the carcass, or even if they’re just worn right down to the carcass, it can lead to blowouts or loss of control.
Once tread separation starts you can’t reverse the effects. It’s a sign when to replace your UTV tires.
A lot of tires today have tread wear indicators. These indicators mark the minimum allowable tread depth for the tire. However your offroad tire isn’t the same as your street tire. If you wait for the treads to wear low on your tire you’ll have lost most of the capability of the tire.
Every tire wears differently, and the best criteria for when to replace your UTV tires, is when they no longer perform well enough, start getting punctures, or are experiencing cracking or separation.
Be Prepared When You Go Out Riding:
At the end of the day a flat can happen to any of us. It’s a good idea to carry a Tire Repair or Plug Kit and a small air pump to fix flats. If you don’t have beadlock rims you may want to carry ratchet straps to squeeze the centre of the tire if you need to re-seat the bead.
Share your flat tire mishaps with us and what tools you bring on the trail to get you moving again.
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