Never underestimate the importance of having good, properly inflated tires on your motorcycle. Safe riding depends on selecting the right tires, inspecting and maintaining them, and replacing as necessary. Checking your tires before you ride is a good practice to get into. While tire blowouts are not common, the absolute best way to handle one is to avert it before it happens. ­­­­­­Here are three things to check before going for a ride:

The tires should be inflated to the manufacturers recommended level for the type of road conditions and the frequency of use. Daily road riding is very different from occasional dirt track riding, and while the same bike can be used for both activities, the pressure needed is likely very different.

Check your tire pressure when your tires are cold. Checking them after you’ve been on a ride will give you a higher reading, as the air in the tire can expand. Either check the pressure before you run your bike, or give at least 20 minutes of cooling off time after you’ve been out.

Riding on tires that don’t have enough tread can be dangerous. Using a penny is a common way to check the depth. The penny should be partially covered by the tread, covering part of Lincolns head. If all his head is visible, then the tire should be changed.

Another visual check should be between the tread of the tires, to make sure there are no small objects wedged into them. Small stones, glass, or screws that have become lodged in the tire can affect performance.

Visually inspect the tire for general wear and damage. Keep an eye out for cuts, cracks or splits in the tread and sidewall areas. Bumps or bulges may indicate a separation within the tire body. You may need to remove the tire from the wheel for a complete inspection or have your tire inspected by a qualified service person.