How to Tell if MTB tires Are Worn Out (10 Warning Signs)

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Do you often find yourself stuck on the trail, wondering how to tell if MTB tires are worn out?

If you’re an avid mountain biker, then you know how important it is to have the right bike tires for your trail ride.

Unfortunately, over time, tires can start to wear down and need to be replaced for safety reasons.

Luckily, there are a few simple ways to tell if your MTB tires are worn out.

Read on to find out more!

How to Tell if MTB Tires Are Worn Out (10 Signs)

As a mountain biker, you know how essential your bike tires are.

They provide traction and cushioning that allows you to take on any terrain and stay safe while doing so.

But when you’re out on the trails, you may not always be able to tell when your tires are worn out.

That is why we have put together this guide to help you identify the 10 signs that your mountain bike tires are worn out and need to be replaced.

1. Low Tire Pressure:

Check MTB Tire Pressure
Check MTB Tire Pressure

Low tire pressure is one of the most common signs of a worn-out tire.

When the tire pressure is too low, it can cause your mountain bike to feel sluggish and cause your tires to wear out faster.

Check the manufacturer’s recommended pressure levels to ensure that you have the correct tire pressure for your adventure ride.

2. Visible Wear Patterns:

Inspect Tires Wear Patterns
Inspect Tires Wear Patterns

If you can see a visible wear pattern on the tread of your MTB tires, then your tire is likely worn out.

Look for signs of uneven wear, including bald spots, deep grooves, or chunks missing from the tire.

Check out this helpful video to identify key signs of wear in your MTB tires.

3. Flats Or Punctures In MTB Tires:

Flat Mountain Bike Tire
Flat Mountain Bike Tire

If you have had multiple flats or punctures, your bike tires are then likely worn out.

Check your tires regularly for signs of punctures or wear and tear, and if you find any, it’s time to replace your tires.

4. Cracks In The Sidewall of Tires:

Cracks In The Sidewall of Tires
Tires With Cracks In The Sidewall

If you notice any cracks in the sidewall of your tires, it’s a sign that the tires are worn out and need to be replaced.

Cracked or split sidewalls can cause your tires to lose air quickly and can also be dangerous if you’re riding on rough terrain.

5. Bulging or Blistering:

Bulging Mountain Bike Tires
Bulging MTB Tire

If the sidewalls of your MTB tires are bulging or blistered, then your tires are most likely worn out.

Just like cracks, bulging and blistering of sidewalls can cause your tires to lose air quickly and can be dangerous if you’re riding on rough terrain.

6.Uneven Treads On MTB Tires:

How to Tell if MTB tires Are Worn Out By Bulging
MTB Tires With Uneven Treads

If the treads of your tire are unevenly, it is a sign that your bike tires are worn out.

Uneven treads on your MTB tires can decrease the performance of your tires. Moreover, this can be dangerous if you’re riding on rough terrains.

7.Squealing Brakes:

How to Tell if MTB tires Are Worn Out By Squeaking Breaks
Squealing Brakes

If you hear a squealing sound when you apply your brakes, it could be a sign that your tires are worn out.

Squealing is caused by friction between the brake pads and the worn-out tires.

Replacing your mountain bike tires can help reduce this noise and improve your braking power.

8.Vibration In MTB Tires:

Vibrating Mountain Bike tires
Vibrating Mountain Bike Tires

If you’re feeling a vibration when you ride, your tires are likely worn out.

Vibration can be caused by the tires not being appropriately balanced, the tread wearing out, or the tire walls being damaged.

Vibration in MTB tires is usually a sign of your tires being worn.

9.MTB Tires Loosing Traction:

How to Tell if MTB tires Are Worn Out Because of Loosing Traction
MTB Tires Loosing Traction

If your mountain bike is having trouble gripping the terrain, this is usually a sign that your MTB tire treads are likely worn out.

The tire treads are designed to provide traction, so if it’s worn out then your bike won’t be able to grip the terrain properly.

10.Tread Depth:

MTB Tire Tread Depth
MTB Tire Tread Depth

Checking the tread depth of your MTB tires is one of the most reliable ways to tell if they’re worn out.

If your bike tire’s tread is worn down to the point that you can’t see it, it is then time to replace your tires.

The Durability of Mountain Bike Tires

When it comes to mountain biking, one of the most critical components of your bike is your tires.

They are responsible for providing grip and traction as you explore the trails and scree slopes of your favorite mountain biking destinations.

But how long do your MTB tires last?

The durability of your bike tires will depend on a few different factors, including your terrain and riding style.

For example, if you’re primarily riding on smooth trails and paved roads, your tires are likely to last longer than if you’re tackling technical trails and rocky terrain.

In addition, the type of tire you choose will also affect how long it will last.

Generally, you can expect your mountain bike tires to last anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 miles.

However, this range will vary depending on how often you ride and the type of terrain you’re riding on.

For example, your tires will likely wear down faster if you’re an aggressive rider who often rides on rocky terrain.

On the other hand, if you’re a casual rider who takes it slow and steady on smooth terrain, your tires will last longer.

Other than the type of terrain and your riding style, the type of tire you choose will also affect its longevity.

For example, if you go with a wide MTB tire, it will provide more cushion and grip but will also wear down faster.

On the other hand, if you opt for a lighter, more streamlined MTB tire, it will have less cushion and grip but will last longer.

To get the most out of your mountain bike tires, it’s essential to take good care of them. This includes:

  • Regularly checking the tire pressure.
  • Wiping off any dirt or debris.
  • Ensuring the tires are appropriately inflated.

Additionally, if you’re riding in mud or water, make sure that you clean and dry your tires afterward to prevent premature wear and tear.

Ultimately, how long your MTB tires last will depend on a variety of factors, such as your terrain, riding style, and the type of tire you choose.

With proper care and maintenance, you can expect your tires to last anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 miles or more.

How To Make MTB Tires Last Longer? (5 Easy Steps)

Mountain biking is a thrilling and exciting sport, but it also requires a lot of maintenance.

One of the most important pieces of maintenance is making sure your tires are in good shape and performing reliably.

Keeping your tires in good condition will help them last longer. Moreover, it will also ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable ride.

1.Check Tire Pressure Regularly:

Check MTB Tire Pressure
Check MTB Tire Pressure

One of the most important things to do to make your mountain bike tires last longer is to check the tire pressure regularly.

It’s essential to keep the tire pressure at the recommended level to ensure that your tires don’t wear out prematurely.

If you’re not sure what the proper tire pressure is, consult the manufacturer’s specifications or check out the MTB tire pressure chart.

Make sure to use a pressure gauge to get an accurate reading of your bike tire pressure.

2.Inspect Tires for Wear and Tear:

MTB Tire Wear And Tear
MTB Tire Wear And Tear

It is essential to inspect your tires for any signs of wear and tear.

If you notice any cuts, bruises, or other signs of damage then it is vital to replace the tire as soon as possible.

You should also inspect the tread on your tires to ensure you have the right amount of tread for the type of terrain you’re riding on.

Different amounts of tread are needed for different types of terrain, so make sure you are not riding on tires that are too worn down.

3.Increase Tire Life With Cleaning:

MTB Tire Cleaning
MTB Tire Cleaning

Cleaning and lubricating your mountain bike tires is another excellent way to increase their life span.

The dirt and grime that accumulates on the tires can cause them to wear out more quickly, so cleaning and lubricating them will help them last longer.

You should use a soft-bristle brush to remove any dirt and debris, and then use a lubricant such as silicone spray to protect the rubber.

4.Avoid Sharp Edges and Rocks

Careful MTB Ride
Mountain Bike Ride

When you’re riding, it is essential to be aware of the terrain and avoid sharp edges and rocks.

These can cause punctures and tears in your MTB tires, and they can also cause the tires to become deformed.

If you are riding on rocky terrain, it is a good idea to use wider tires to provide more cushioning.

Wider tires are also beneficial for riding on sand, as they can help you stay in control.

5.Rotate Tires Periodically

Rotate MTB Tires
Rotate MTB Tires Regularly

Finally, you should rotate your tires periodically to help them last longer.

Over time, the tread on one side of the tire will wear down faster than the other side, so rotating them will even out this wear.

6 FAQs On How To Tell If MTB tires Are Worn Out

1. When should mountain bike tires be replaced?

Mountain bike tires need replacement when they have started to wear out.

Some common signs of wearing in MTB tires are low pressure, visible patterns of wear, sidewall cracks, multiple punctures, bulges, treads that are uneven, squealing brakes, reduced tread depth, lack of traction, and vibration.

2. How long does an MTB tire last?

Typically, MTB tires last from anywhere between 1300 miles to 1500 miles.

However, three more things play an essential role in determining the durability of your MTB tire and they are: the terrain that you choose to ride on, your riding style, and the quality of your bike tires.

3. What are the warning signs of a mountain bike tire failure?

Some crucial signs of bike tire failure are: visible and non-sealable punctures, consistently low tire pressure, fabrics that are shown through, bulges, bumpy rides, etc.

4. Will pavement ruin mountain bike tires?

Mountain bike tires are made for the woods, and excessive riding on pavements can wear down the MTB tires quickly.

5. Do tubeless MTB tires last longer than regular MTB tires?

Tubeless tires usually are more complex than regular MTB tires, thanks to the medium-thick compound used in their construction.

Moreover, the absence of a tube causes friction, which also adds to the life of MTB tires.

6. What tires should one buy for a mountain bike?

Tires such as Maxxis, Continental, and Michelin are considered to be highly durable and perform well on the trails.


It is important to remember that mountain bike tires are essential for a good ride and should be checked regularly for wear and tear.

Knowing how to tell if MTB tires are worn out is a valuable skill that every mountain biker should master.

If you notice any of the signs mentioned above, it is best to replace your tires as soon as possible for your safety and the longevity of your bike.

Inspecting your tires regularly will ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable ride every time.

With the proper knowledge and tools and techniques, you can quickly review your tires to assess their condition and make sure that you are always riding with the best tires for your needs.

P.S. Found this article insightful? if so then you should also check out our similar resources on why MTB tires need regular check on air and sealant.

Also check why tubeless MTB tires go flat.

Additionally, we also have a detailed checklist on mountain bike maintenance, do check that out too.

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Team Biking KnowHow

Rohan runs Biking KnowHow along with his team. Rohan has been a mountain biker since 2005. His mission is to simplify mountain biking for everyone. All Biking KnowHow content piece is thoroughly fact-checked. Our content is backed up with leading research and inputs from expert cyclists.