How to Make Your ATV Tires Last Longer
May 21, 2018
Let’s face it: tires aren’t cheap, but they’re a necessity for performance and safety. While there’s no tire that will last forever, we do have a few tips to put them to their full use.
Maintain Appropriate PSI
Why “appropriate” instead of a set number? Though rare (and not recommended) PSI can be situational, though we do not advise running above or below manufacturer recommendations for an extended period of time.
Many riders run higher pressures for hard surfaces. This lowers rolling resistance for a higher speed but decreases ride quality while increasing center tire wear, making it more susceptible to impact damage.
Running at lower-than-recommended pressure increases footprint, which, under most conditions, increases traction. Underinflation can cause premature tire failure from excessive sidewall flex, sidewall and tread cracking, and possibly bent rims. Additionally, this risks popping the tire bead off the wheel.
Start at the manufacturer's recommended tire pressure and adjust up or down by a single PSI until it suits your style and riding conditions. Rear tires need a setting that provides the best traction and ride. Front tires are crucial; pressure too low makes turning and tracking difficult. While common to run two different pressures between front and rear, pressure must be the same on the horizontal parallel. Even one PSI difference can cause side pull. Test different PSI to find the best one for you.
BEWARE: Underinflated tires are susceptible to pinching in areas where the tire isn’t snug to the wheel. Overinflated tires cause uneven wear and unpredictable handling. Maintaining the PSI recommended by your manufacturer is the best way to ensure that you get the most out of your tires.
Keep a pressure gauge handy so you can easily check your air.
Sidewalls crack for a number of reasons: extreme changes in heat, age, exposure to ozone, etc. Sidewall cracks lead to slow leaks, which can lead to blowouts. Keep your tires out of direct sunlight, store away from ozone producing machinery, and keep an eye on the date. Always inspect tires for health after storage season.
If you’re into really pushing your ATV to the limits, we recommend investing in EMT/Run-Flat Technology tires. They are designed to withstand large punctures, allowing you to ride many miles at low speed so you won’t be stranded if your tire gets a hole.
EMT/Run-Flat Technology tires feature stiff, self-supporting sidewalls, which is what allows you to continue driving even with a large hole. We've listed a few options below.
It’s wise to keep a patch kit in your ATV if you ride aggressively.
Bald tires happen when wear and tear become extreme. Tires lose grip, making stopping difficult. Hydroplaning is a huge safety concern, as is sliding. The only place smooth tires are embraced is in sand, and only when they’re specifically designed for that application.
Do not exceed load limits. This puts more pressure on tires, contributes to blowouts and unsafe handling, and burns fuel.
Avoid free-spinning. Slowly crawl over ice, snow, and sand. If stuck, slowly rock your ATV back and forth to free it.
Rotating your tires is as important on the ATV as it is for cars. This prevents uneven wear and tear, which maximizes performance longevity.
Always check for punctures, cracks, and damage before you ride. Examine valve stems and core for leaks. Check your tire pressure frequently, and search for lodged items.