How Long Do Motorcycle Tires Last In Storage?

I. Introduction

Tires are an important part of a motorcycle, they provide traction on the road, and cost a good amount of dollars. So, it is natural for you to worry about how long they last in storage.

This article will discuss the issue of how long motorcycle tires last in storage, how to care for your motorcycle tires, and we’ll also discuss a few frequently asked questions.

You cannot have a straight answer to this question since the life of a tire in storage depends on several things e.g. how it is stored, the ambiance of the storage area, etc. Considering all these things we can safely say that the motorcycle tires can last up to five years in storage in near ideal conditions. This logic holds good whether you store individual tires or a motorcycle with tires.

We will discuss all these in detail in the following paragraphs.

II. How long do motorcycle tires last in storage?

Your motorcycle tires are not a perishable item, but they still have a shelf life, and you must know that they will not last forever.

The lifespan of a tire in storage depends on several things eg. how it is stored, the ambiance of the storage area, etc. A properly stored motorcycle tire should at least last up to 5 years in storage.

The compounds of the tire rubber react with the oxygen in the air and this leads to their deterioration (the rubber can become hard and brittle). The deterioration is a slow process but will be accelerated in a humid and hot atmosphere.

The deterioration will be minimized to a large extent when the tires are properly protected and stored in a cool and dry place.

Before discussing further, it is important to know the manufacturing date and year for your motorcycle tires.

As per DOT (Department of Transportation), every street-legal motorcycle tire sold in the USA must have a TIN (tire identification number) on the sidewall of the tire.

The TIN is an alphanumeric code that starts with the alphabet “DOT” and ends with a numeric four digits date code. If the last four digits are “3517” it indicates that the tire was manufactured in the 35th week of 2017. If the manufacturer of your tire has manufacturing plants in more than one place, the TIN will tell you the manufacturing plant where the tires were manufactured.

We can divide our discussion on “how long do motorcycle tires last in storage?” into two parts (i) when individual tires are stored at a dealer’s place and (ii) when you store your motorcycle with tires for a longer period.

When individual tires are stored at a dealer’s place

Tire manufacturers normally recommend that motorcycle riders don’t ride on tires that are older than 5 years. But the new tires that you purchase from a dealer are at least a few weeks old (considering the transportation from the factory to the place of the dealer) and in some cases, they may be as old as a year or more. If you come across such situations, you may have to consider the following before purchasing the tires:

The reputation of the dealer and how they store the tires. The rubber in the tires reacts with the oxygen in the air and this leads to their deterioration. This deterioration will be greatly minimized when the tires are properly protected and stored in a cool and dry place. Verify the storing arrangement in the dealer’s store.

A properly stored tire can last up to five years in a cool and dry store. However, it should be inspected thoroughly before mounting the same on your motorcycle.

When you store your motorcycle with tires for a longer period

If you are storing your motorcycle for 2 or three months then there is no need to worry much about the tire life. Cover your motorcycle properly and store it in a cool and dry place and it should be good to use when you take it out for riding.

However, if you intend to keep it stored for a year or more you need to take the following additional precautions:

  • Clean the motorcycle thoroughly (including the tires) and dry it. Remove sand particles and small stones from the tread grooves.
  • Inflate the tires to medium pressure.
  • Store your motorcycle in a cool and dry place, away from moisture, and with no fluctuations in temperature. The rubber of the tire reacts with the oxygen in the air and this leads to deterioration of the tire. The deterioration is hastened at high and fluctuating temperatures and humid air.
  • Ensure the tires of your motorcycle do not rest on the floor. Doing this avoids the weight of the motorcycle coming on the tires and also the moisture of the floor will not enter the tires. Cover the motorcycle completely.
  • Inspect the stored motorcycle tires once a month, review the status, and take corrective action.
  • Before using the motorcycle again, inspect the tires thoroughly for cracks and other defects. If you are not confident or notice some defects, take the advice of a tire expert. Always go for a test ride to ensure everything is okay.

You can visit the following website and download your copy of the Motorcycle Tire Guide compiled by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association:

III. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1 Can I purchase a tire from a dealer if its manufacturing week is one year old?
Ensure that the dealer has a good reputation and stores the tires properly in a cool and dry place.

Examine the warranty offered by the tire manufacturer. It can be a limited 4 years warranty from the week of manufacturing or date of purchase in combination with a clause “or until the tread depth reaches a level of 1/32 inches, whichever happens, earlier”.

Buy a tire that offers better terms. You can try to extract a discount from the dealer reasoning that they are selling an old tire to you.

2 What is the shelf life of a motorcycle tire?
Many tire manufacturers recommend that motorcycle riders not ride on tires that are older than 5 years.

If you store the properly packed motorcycle tires in a cool, and dry place and away from the moisture they can last up to five years from their manufacturing date. It may be good for use within 5 years of storage but inspect the tires thoroughly before deciding to use it. Take the help of a tire technician if there is a doubt.

The stamping on the side wall of the tire gives you its week and year of manufacturing.

3 Will my motorcycle tires deteriorate if I store the motorcycle for two years?
The rubber in the motorcycle tire reacts with oxygen in the air and this can lead to its deterioration, and this happens even when the motorcycle is stored.

However, you can minimize the deterioration by taking the following precautions.

  • Inflate the tires to medium pressure.
  • Store the motorcycle in a cool, dry place, and away from moisture.
  • The tires must not touch the floor or rest on it.
  • Cover the complete motorcycle.
  • Inspect the motorcycle once a month and take corrective action.
  • Inspect the tires before riding again and if in doubt, consult a tire technician.
4 Should I replace my motorcycle tires when it crosses five years?
It may not be mandatory to replace motorcycle tires that are older than 5 years.

Take the advice of a tire technician and he/she may inspect the tires and advise you to continue using them for some more period.

IV. Care for your motorcycle tires

Do the following to enhance the life of your motorcycle tires:

  • Always purchase the tires recommended in the user’s manual.
  • Make a habit of inspecting your tires regularly. Many tire manufacturers advise motorcycle riders to replace the tires when the tread depth reaches a level of 2/32 inches. This advice has logic behind it and can be followed. You can also keep a watch on the TWI (tread wear indicator) markings on the tires.
  • If your motorcycle tires become five years old but physically look fine, take the advice of a tire technician. The tire technician may advise you to use them for some more time.
  • When you purchase new tires, carefully verify the warranty terms of the tire manufacturer and select the tire that is beneficial to you.

V. Conclusion

Replacing a set of tires for your motorcycle costs you appreciably and hence you must get more life from the tires. Hope this article has made you wise and confident to store your motorcycle properly. So, happy riding and do take care.

Do you want to know when you should change your motorcycle tires then please go through this article “when should I change my motorcycle tires?”.

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