What to Do If a Motorcycle Tire Blows Out?

Motorcycle tire blowout

Tire blowouts at ultra-high speeds are one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents.

Post the blowout, the rider loses control of the motorcycle and crashes.

So what to do if the motorcycle tire blows out?

In a tire blowout, don’t hit the brakes abruptly. Rather, grip the handlebar tight to avoid jerks and roll down the throttle to slow down.

Shift down the gears and once slowed down, apply the brakes to stop the motorcycle.

Once you have halted the motorcycle on the roadside, call up your mechanic to replace the tire(s).

That’s the gist.

For a detailed dive-in, read below further.

Tire blowout and how it occurs

Simply put, a tire blowout is a tire losing its air pressure suddenly.

Often, the tire blowout is accompanied by an explosive sound due to the rapid air pressure loss.

A true blowout is a serious concern. The rider can lose control of the motorcycle and lead to a crash.

So what causes a tire blowout?

Usually some form of tire damage – be it wear and tear, overheating, or underinflation – accompanied by a sudden puncture causes the tire blowout.

Especially when you are riding at a high speed.

A tire puncture at such high speed causes the tire blowout. Which can be quite a concern.

In case you experience such blowouts, you must know what to do. Which brings us to the next section.

Things to do once the tire blows

Here are the things you need to do when you are faced with a tire blowout.

Keep in mind, you won’t have too much time. So do not panic and keep things simple as mentioned below.

#1. Dont brake abruptly

A rider gripping the front brakes of a motorcycle

First things first. Post the tire blowout, do not brake your motorcycle abruptly.

Applying sudden brakes to a blown-out tire can cause more harm than good.

Especially when you are applying rear brakes during a rear tire blowout (or front brake in a front tire blowout).

I know, the knee-jerk reaction in these situations is to hit the brakes. But braking will make the situation a lot worse. It can cause the motorcycle to skid and topple down.

So curb that urge to hit those brakes.

Instead, here is what to do.

#2. Ease off the throttle and engine brake

A motorcycle rider gripping the twist throttle fo the bike

Instead of hitting the brakes, slow down your motorcycle by rolling off the throttle.

Slowing the motorcycle by easing down the throttle is called engine braking.

This way, the bike slows down as well as the tires don’t experience abrupt brakes.

In short. Don’t hit the brakes. Rather go for engine braking by rolling down the throttle.

The motorcycle decelerates and slows down.

But there is still one problem though. Which brings us to the next section.

#3. Tight grip the handlebar to ride straight

Motorcycle Handle Bar

A blowout tire shakes the motorcycle to one side. The handlebar jerks sideways.

As a result, the motorcycle can topple down and crash.

We need to prevent that from happening.

A punctured tire makes the wheel difficult to roll straight. Forcing the wheel to pull one side. Either to the right or to the left.

To avoid toppling, grip the handlebar tight and countersteer to keep the motorcycle ride straight.

Ensure that the motorcycle is staying in the line and is moving straight.

Gripping your handlebar and keeping it in control is vital.

#4. Slowly shift down gears and stop the bike

Motorcycle gear shift lever

Once you have the handlebar in steady control, roll down the throttle and shift down the gears.

Again, make sure you are not hitting the brakes.

If the motorcycle is considerably slowed down, you can go for applying rear brakes. But still, I would advise against it.

Only when the motorcycle is about to halt, hit the brakes to stop.

Until then, use the engine braking, clutch, and downshifting to slow down the bike.

Next steps

Once the motorcycle is halted, get down, and inspect the tires.

The blown-out tire will be flat by now. The tire will have a flattened shape at its point of contact with the ground.

A flat bike tire

Park the motorcycle and call your mechanic to replace the tire.

If you can’t park anywhere nearby, don’t ride with a flat tire. Get off the bike. Switch the motorcycle to neutral gear. Push the motorcycle with your hands and walk forward.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Keep calm under pressure. This is the most important thing during a tire blowout.
  • Ignore your instinct to apply brakes. Do NOT hit the brakes.
  • I repeat. Do not hit the brakes.
  • Hold the handlebar firm and steady.
  • To maintain a steady and straight path, you can even accelerate a bit and speed up the motorcycle slightly. Only if you feel there is a need.
  • Apply brakes only when the motorcycle is slowed down.
  • Once you have parked the motorcycle, call up your mechanic to fix the tire.
  • Do not ride with a blown-out tire. Not a good idea. The rim can get damaged easily.

How to prevent a tire blowout

Here are a few tips to prevent tire blowouts on your motorcycle:

First, make sure the tire has optimum air pressure.

Both rear and front tires must have sufficient air pressure in them.

The recommended PSI for the tires will be explicitly mentioned in the bike’s user manual. You can refer them.

Note: The PSI recommendation will be separate for the front tire and the rear tire. The rear tire will have higher PSI than the front tire.

Motorcycle tire PSI check

So, before every ride, check and make sure the tire pressure is at the optimum PSI levels.

Second, ensure the tire is not worn out. And is in good working condition.

Newer tires have hairs on them, which also serves as an indicator of new and good tires. But over time, the hairs wear out and disappear. You need to manually check the tire grip and treads.

Make sure the tire treads and the grip are in good shape. And the tire surface is not worn out.

Third, check wheel alignment every 6 months.

Ask your dealer or service shop guy to inspect and adjust the wheel alignment every time you take your motorcycle for servicing.

Even with all these preventive measures, there is no guarantee against tire blowouts.

Still, these preventive maintenance go a long way in keeping the blowout probability to a minimum.


What is the first thing to do when you have a blowout?

Ignore the urge to hit the brakes. Grip the handlebar tight and roll down the throttle to engine brake.

Can you plug the punctured tire?

While the punctured motorcycle tire can technically be plugged or patched, it is NOT recommended. The tire can blow out. And can cause injuries to the rider.

How much does it cost to replace a motorcycle tire?

Replacing a tire can cost anywhere between $100 to $250 depending on the tire model, labor charges, and the location you are in.