If you’re one of the many who aren’t fortunate enough to be able to ride year-round, you’re no doubt welcoming the return of riding season. All the sweat, tears and no doubt money that went into your ride while it sat in the garage over the winter is about to pay off. But before you take your first voyage for the new year, it’s important to make sure your machine is as ready as you are. Specifically, your tires. Check out some simple tire tips from Dunlop after the jump. Don’t worry, these tips apply no matter what brand of tire you currently have.

As springtime brings a new riding season, Dunlop reminds you that it’s wise to kick off your travels by checking your tires. Two items are of vital importance: always check your tire pressures before you ride, and always know your load limit. Exceeding 400 pounds in rider, passenger and cargo weight on some bikes may exceed the load limit.

Below, you’ll find some tire tips from Mike Manning, Dunlop Motorcycle Tires Product Manager.

“Begin your springtime inspection by checking the tire sidewalls for signs of cracking—indicators that it could be time for replacements. Never apply tire sidewall treatments or dressings, which can actually accelerate tire cracking. Even if your tires look okay, this may be a great time to replace them.

“For showery springtime riding, it’s especially important to be aware that worn tires decrease the ability to dissipate water. Worn tires also decrease handling and become more susceptible to punctures, so always replace worn tires before they reach the tread-depth indicators (1/32 of an inch) inside the tread grooves. Be sure to check several points around the tire, including the center tread as this portion of the tire is especially vital for water evacuation.

“Summer brings heat, and with it elevated road temperatures. Heat is the enemy of tires, so in the heat of summer it is especially important to check tire pressures frequently to ensure proper inflation. Underinflated tires generate additional heat by flexing more than they should, while a properly inflated tire runs cooler.

“In addition, we’ve listed a few more tire tips for you and your motorcycle. We hope you enjoy the new riding season and that these tire tips are helpful. Ride safe wherever you may travel.”

—Before setting out, especially on long rides, be sure to check your motorcycle’s load limit in the owner’s manual against the total weight of rider and passenger with riding gear, plus all cargo. Exceeding that limit could lead to sudden tire failure and can seriously compromise your safety.

—Maintaining the correct air pressures is crucial to the tires’ rolling efficiency, steering, grip, wear and load-carrying capabilities—for every 4 psi a tire is underinflated, you lose 80 pounds of load-carrying capacity. Remember, the air in your tires helps carry all of the load including your motorcycle, you, your passenger and all your cargo, so check cold air pressures as often as possible with a high-quality air-pressure gauge, and have it calibrated at least once a year. Checking tire pressures is the most important tire maintenance function you can perform.