Replacing Motorcycle Tires On Your Own? Here Are 7 Mistakes To Avoid
If you’re a cruiser motorcycle rider, you know that tires are an essential part of your bike. They provide the traction you need to stay upright, and they play a big role in how your bike handles. If you ride regularly, there’s a good chance you’ll eventually need to replace your bike’s tires on your own. It could be out in the middle of nowhere with no help in sight during a road trip or at home in your garage.
Either way, when it’s time to replace them, it’s important to do it right.
Here are seven mistakes to avoid when replacing motorcycle tires on your own.
1. Not Choosing the Right Replacement Tire for Your Bike
One of the most common mistakes people make when replacing their own motorcycle tires is not choosing the right replacement tire for their bike. There are a few things you need to take into consideration when selecting new tires for your motorcycle, such as:
- The type of riding you do (touring, cruiser, etc.)
- The terrain you ride on (paved, off-road, etc.)
- Your bike’s tire size
If you’re not sure what type of cruiser motorcycle tires would be best for your motorcycle, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional. Not all tires are created equal, and a tire that’s too small or too big can cause problems down the road. Choosing the wrong replacement tire for your motorcycle can also lead to decreased performance and handling, so it’s important to get it right.
2. Not Inflating the New Tire Correctly
Another mistake to avoid when changing a tire is not inflating it to the proper PSI. This can cause all sorts of problems when riding afterward, from decreased gas mileage to uneven wear on the tire. Check your owner’s manual for the correct PSI for your tires and inflate them accordingly. If you fail to inflate the new tire fully, you run the risk of it coming off the rim while riding, leading to a dangerous accident.
On the other hand, over-inflating the tire is also dangerous and can cause the tire to burst while riding. So, recheck your PSI levels and inflate the new tire accordingly before taking it out for a spin. Ensure you also have the necessary tire equipment and inflating accessories such as proper-sized inflation valves, a tire pressure gauge, an air compressor, and an impact wrench.
3. Fitting the New Tire Improperly
You’ll also want to avoid fitting the new tire improperly. This can cause all sorts of problems, from premature wear to blowouts. Make sure you follow the instructions that come with your new tire, and if you’re unsure, call your mechanic. Keep in mind that most cruiser motorcycles have different-sized tires for the front and back, so don’t mix them up. They’re exclusively designed to work in pairs.
Improper fitting can also lead to imbalance, which puts unnecessary strain on your motorcycle’s engine, suspension, and brakes. And it can cause your bike to handle oddly, making it more difficult (and dangerous) to ride. Some of the signs of wrong fitting are uneven or premature tread wear, vibration, and handling issues. If you experience any of these things after changing your own motorcycle tires, take it to a professional to have it checked out.
4. Mounting the Tire Incorrectly
Mounting the tire incorrectly on the rim is also a common mistake, especially for first-timers. This can cause problems like flats, blowouts, and even loss of control while riding. Take your time when doing this, and be extra careful not to damage the rim or tire in the process. Ensure to follow the instructions on mounting the tire correctly or take it to a professional if you’re not confident in your abilities.
Your motorcycle’s rim is one of the most critical parts of the bike. Not only does it help to keep the tire in place, but it also helps to protect the inner tube from punctures and other damage. That’s why it’s essential to make sure that you mount the tire correctly on the rim and not too tight or loose. Before you even hit the road again, consider these pre-ride checks.
5. Installing the Valve Stem Incorrectly
Another mistake people make when installing a new tire is not seating the valve stem correctly. The valve stem is what allows air to enter and leave the tire, so it’s essential that it’s installed properly. If it’s not, you could end up with a flat tire very quickly. Make sure to seat the valve stem squarely in the hole before inflating the tire. After inflating the tire, check the valve stem to ensure it’s still seated correctly.
If you’re not careful, it’s easy to damage the valve stem when installing a new tire. If you do damage it, you’ll need to replace it before you can inflate the tire. To avoid damaging the valve stem, be careful not to over-tighten the retaining nut and use a valve stem protector when installing the new tire. Valves play a critical role in maintaining proper pressure, so make sure they’re always in good working order.
6. Installing a New Tire Without Inspecting the Rim
No matter how much you’re in a hurry, don’t make the mistake of not inspecting the rim before installing a new tire. The rim is one of the most important parts of the motorcycle, and if it’s damaged, it can cause serious problems. Always take a few minutes to inspect the rim before you install a new tire. Check for any cracks, dents, or other damage. If you find any damage, consider replacement or repair.
You should also check for any debris, dirt, or other foreign objects that may be on the rim. These can cause problems when you try to seat the bead of the tire. If you find any, be sure to remove them before continuing. If at home, use soapy water to help with this. You may not have this luxury if you’re on the road, so use whatever you can to get the debris off.
7. Over-Tightening Bolts/Fasteners
Finally, avoid over-tightening the bolts or fasteners when replacing your tires. This can cause serious damage to your bike and can even be dangerous. For instance, if you over-tighten the bolts on your front wheel, it can cause the forks to compress too much, making steering more difficult and could potentially cause an accident. For the rear tire, over-tightening can damage the swingarm.
So, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s torque specifications when tightening bolts. Ensure you have the right tools for the job, including a torque wrench if needed, and that you know how to use them properly. With properly installed tires, you should be able to ride worry-free and enjoy the road ahead.
Be Cautious and Take Your Time Always
Don’t be in a rush when you get a flat tire. It’s easy to panic and want to get it fixed as soon as possible. But rushing to replace your motorcycle tires can lead to mistakes. Take your time and be careful to avoid these common mistakes. Whether you’re doing this the first time or the hundredth, it’s still important to be cautious with every step.
You’ll be grateful every time you hit the road, knowing you replaced your tires correctly. Remember: safety always comes first.