You might not realize it, but those tires on your trusty ATV play a crucial role in your off-roading adventures. If you’re a newbie to the ATV world, you’re probably wondering just how long those tires will last and what signs to watch out for when they’re past their prime.
That’s where we come in! In this post, we’re diving deep into the world of ATV tires. We’ll cover their lifespan, what to look for when they’re going bad, and even uncover the sneaky culprits that can wear them out faster than you’d expect.
So, grab your quad, and let’s explore the fascinating world of ATV tire maintenance!
Let’s First Cover Tire Lifespan
On average, tires for ATVs last 2,000 to 6,000 miles or 3 to 5 years.
Your tires can wear out faster based on various ground you’ll face. Sometimes, even if a tire looks okay, it might not be safe to use. I’ve seen many folks riding on worn-out tires just because they haven’t reached the maximum mileage.
But remember, just because you haven’t hit that max distance doesn’t mean your tires are still good to go.
What Wears Tires Out Quickly?
Below are things that affect the longevity of your tires and what it means.
- Aggressive riding – Going hard, doing burnouts, and just being crazy is a fast way to wear out your tires.
- Letting it sit – A tire may look fine, but if you’re not using your machine enough, the tires can dry rot. A tire that is dry rotted is very dangerous to drive on.
- Rough terrain – Riding on rough terrain can wear it out quicker. Things like rocks to even thorn bushes can puncture the tire prematurely. Even the pavement is bad.
- Overloaded – Hauling too much weight can cause the tires to wear uneven or even pop.
- Low tire pressure – Quads tend to run lower PSI in their tires, from 5 to 12 PSI. Not only do you need to keep the correct PSI, but it needs to be the right for all tires, or you’ll have uneven wear, sometimes the front tires have a different PSI than the rear.
- High tire pressure – People are used to higher PSI for their car or truck, but going to similar PSI will cause it to explode or wear uneven and damage the tire. The correct PSI for your tire is on the unit itself, do NOT go by the MAX PSI on the tire.
- Age – Tires don’t last forever. The tires are slowly breaking down and with enough time, they become useless.
- Lack of maintenance – You still need to rotate and maintain your tires to get the most life out of them.
- Type and quality – Every tire you buy is different and made differently. Some tires are cheap and don’t last long, and you also have some expensive tires that tend to have more tread and hold up better to the abuse.
The Signs Of A Bad Tire
There are several signs of a bad or worn out tire, such as the following.
- No tread left.
- Pulling to one side when you ride.
- Odd vibration, especially from the handlebars.
- Splitting or chunks missing.
- The metal belting showing through.
- No traction.
- Tires constantly flat or won’t hold air.
- Belt breaking more often, worn out tires are not the same size anymore, and it can affect the CVT belt.
If your tires look like the image below, you’ve gone too far and the tires are very worn out and dangerous.
Tires On ATVs Just Wear Out Faster
In comparison to car tires, a 4-wheeler tire doesn’t last nearly as long.
The reason the tires don’t last as long as car tires is that driving on a solid surface like asphalt is very different from off-road terrain. Your car tires are made for driving on roads and are made to handle that.
4-wheeler tires focus more on grip for off-road terrain, meaning they are shaped and constructed differently. These tires have more “knobs” designed to grip various objects like rocks, sticks, mud, and more. The knobs are smaller and fewer in number, which leads to faster wear.
What wears out a tire faster is driving on asphalt and concrete. If you avoid such hard surfaces, you can extend the life of your tires. If you mostly drive on asphalt, there are other options for you.
Driving On Asphalt
You can drive your ATVs on asphalt and pavement like you do with cars, but the tires will wear out a lot faster. You can expect a tire lifespan to be cut in half or more if you drive mostly on pavement.
I had a bike that spent a lot of time driving on asphalt, and I swapped out the rims and tires for one from a Geo Metro, as it was very similar. Using car tires and rims on an quad that spent 99% of time on asphalt worked very well.
The one big downside of car tires on an quad is that steering is much harder, so I suggest ATVs with power steering.
Extending Tire Life Tips
The best thing to do when it comes to ATV tires is to buy good quality tires and don’t ride them hard.
Keeping the tires clean, avoiding tire shine, and riding your machine often is about the best you can do to extend the life of your tires.
A lot of the tires I had to replace too soon were merely me doing stupid things, hitting rocks or thorns, or driving too much on pavement. For others, the tires go bad because the ATV sits too long.
Either way, if you think your tire is bad, replace it.