With the winter season here, the folks at Dunlop recently reminded us that it’s a good time to check our tires. If your scoot’s packed away for the winter, you might as well inspect those donuts and determine if you need new ones for spring. And if you’re still out riding—lucky you— it’s never a bad idea to examine your hoops anyway; you may see your share of rainy days up ahead.
Dunlop Motorcycle Tires Product Manager, Mike Manning, offered us these tips regarding tire maintenance and storage.
"For wet-weather riding it’s important to be aware that worn tires decrease the ability to dissipate water. Worn tires also decrease handling and become more susceptible to punctures, so always replace tires before they reach the tread-depth indicators inside the tread grooves. On the sidewall of the tire are little triangles spaced around the tire. Looking in a tread groove at a point indicated by the triangle, you can see a raised-up bar. The surface of your tread must be higher than those bars. "
On a regular basis, check your tires all around. Rotate tires completely and make sure there are no objects penetrating them. If you find anything, do not ride until you have your motorcycle dealer inspect the tire and replace it if necessary. Check the sidewalls for signs of cracking and never use sidewall treatments or dressings, which can actually accelerate tire cracking. Checking tire pressure is the most important maintenance function you can perform. Maintaining correct air pressure is crucial to rolling efficiency, steering, grip, wear and load-carrying capabilities—for every 4 psi a tire is underinflated, you could lose up to 80 pounds of load-carrying capacity. You’re not only riding on your tires, you’re also riding on the air in them, so check cold air pressure as often as possible with a high-quality air-pressure gauge, and have it calibrated once a year. If storing your motorcycle for the winter and/or storing spare tires, try to avoid frequent extremes of temperature. Don’t keep tires next to sources of heat; they’ll age more quickly. Don’t store tires where electric motors are present; high concentrations of ozone will accelerate tire cracking. Make sure you select tires that can carry your expected load, including the total weight of the motorcycle, the rider(s), luggage and any equipment. Always match front and rear tires. After installation of new tires, make sure the arrows on the sidewall are pointing in the correct direction of rotation, and that the balance dot on the tire is lined up with the valve stem.
Dunlop is the largest supplier of original equipment and replacement motorcycle tires in the U.S. and the only manufacturer of motorcycle tires in North America. For more info, visit www.dunlopmotorcycle.com