It happens to everyone. You pull into the gas station and your tire’s half flat. You fill it up, it holds for a couple of days, but the cycle repeats itself. Do you keep pumping quarters into the gas station air pump, or do you try to repair or replace the offending tire? There are great deals on new tires out there, but repairing your tire is a lot easier and cheaper than your know. If it was your car or motorcycle, would you fix the tire or just get a new one? It depends on a few factors.
When to repair a tire.
The first thing to do is try to figure out where you the leak is and what kind of a leak it is. Unfortunately, the hardest leaks to find are slow leaks, which could be caused by many different things. Really examine the tire treads. You could have a small stone or nail in the tire or, which could be difficult to find. Sometimes you’ll have to take it off the rim to check it out completely. Most low/flat tires are caused by some kind of puncture. If you can’t see a nail or something sticking out, use this trick to find it:
- Get a bottle of Windex or any liquid that bubbles when sprayed. Soapy water works well, too.
- Making sure your tire is inflated, spray your entire tire; do it in sections if it’s easier.
- Watch the liquid as it runs down the treads of the tire. When you see a place start to fizz up, that’s where the leak is.
A slow leak can also be caused by a bad valve stem that is leaking air, which is an easy fix on a car and an even easier fix on a motorcycle. To get the particulars of how to replace a valve stem, you can google ‘how to replace valve stem’ to get precise instructions. If you have a leak in your tire and you can’t or don’t want to check it yourself, go to a mechanic and have him find the leak, and (in most cases) repair it. It’s still cheaper than replacing it.
When to replace a tire.
If there is a deep gash in the sidewall of your tire, then you need to have it replaced. A deep mark or puncture in the sidewall is not the cause of a slow leak, and will probably lead to a blowout. If you have driven for any distance on a flat tire, it will likely need to be replaced. If your car tire has worn down to less than 1/16th of an inch of tread, a replacement is needed. Even though every motorcycle tire’s proper tread depth is different, a lot of motorcycle owners use 1/32 of an inch or less as a gauge for tire replacement; if you want to know the correct amount, check with a dealer or your manufacturer. If your dirt bike is missing knobs on the rear tire or the grooves are completely gone, you need to replace them immediately.
Any serious damage on any tire warrants replacement
If you do have to replace your tire, there are a couple of ways to do it so that you don’t end up spending too much. As with everything you purchase, price comparison is essential to get the best deal. In addition to your local tire shop, check online. You can get some great deals on motorcycle and dirt bike tires online, for example. Get the name and model number of the specific tire you need and use the search engine you prefer to go shopping. To protect yourself against tire hazards, make sure that each tire has the correct amount of pressure. There are general guidelines for a dirt bike’s tire pressure; you can just call a dealer or someone you know to find out how much or look on the tire sidewall. For a car or motorcycle, your owner’s manual will tell you how much pressure you need in your tires. With a car, you should check your tire pressure once a week or no less than twice a month. With motorcycles and dirt bikes, it’s critical to have correct tire pressure so you need to check it once a week at least, depending on how much you ride your bike, suggests Motorcycle Touring Pro. If you’re on it a lot, check the tire pressure every day. Always use a tire gauge to check the pressure; don’t just judge by looking at it, because with tires, looks are deceiving. For all tires, check tire pressure when they are cold; the pressure inside the tires is not accurate when the tires are warm. Unless it’s serious, you can almost always repair a tire, and no matter what, keep an eye on them. You’ll be a lot safer, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.