You may have noticed some grooves on the rims of your mountain bike wheels.
Since it's easy for you to observe when the rubber brake pads in your V brakes are worn out, it's not as easy to notice when the wheel rims have gotten too thin. That's what the grooves tell you.
The bicycle wheel rim deteriorates just like any piece that is subjected to constant contact and friction with another piece (brake pad). This is true especially if you ride a lot on muddy singletracks - sand, mud and other abrasive materials caught between the brake pads and the rims accelerate wear and tear. Of course, if your MTB has disk brakes, you won't confront with these issues.
So what you need to do is to check the rims regularly as to see if the grooves are still visible. If the rim has gotten flat this means it's time to replace it with a new one (or buy a new wheel altogether). This will prevent the rim to get too thin (so thin that the tube becomes visible - it might even explode). Basically, the excess aluminum on the rim (in which the groove is carved) acts as a wear and tear meter.
NOT OK! (the rim is worn out)
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