The tires on your travel trailer or motorhome are the workhorses of the RV industry. They carry heavy loads, precious cargo, and are subjected to some of the most extreme weather conditions.
Maintaining the tires on your rig is extremely important. Not just for the safety of your family, but to also help increase the life of your tires. Tires are easily one of the biggest investments you will make, and often, the most neglected.
The tires on our daily driving vehicles have become so reliable over the years that we tend to extend this same level of confidence into our RV tires.
The reality is that the tires on our campers and motorhomes need a bit more care than those on our daily automobiles.
In this article we are going to discuss 6 tips you can follow to easily maintain your RV tires. These recommendations will help keep you safe on the road and prolong the life of your tires.
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1. Inspect Your RV Tires Regularly
Checking your RV tires on a regular basis is the first step to proper tire maintenance. You should take a close look at your tires before and after a road trip.
Look for uneven tread wear and sidewall cracks. In addition, check the valve stems for signs of dry rot or damage. These are early signs that your RV tires are aging.
If the tires are showing excessive tread wear and deep sidewall cracks or splits, it is a good indication that your tires should be replaced.
2. Proper Tire Inflation
Proper tire pressure is key to maintaining your RV tires. Under inflated tires lead to a host of problems down the road. Not only will it cause your RV to handle poorly, but it will also contribute to terrible fuel mileage and uneven tire wear.
On the other hand, over-inflated RV tires pose their own set of issues. Over-inflated tires lead to uneven tread wear, braking issues, and can cause a loss of traction.
When doing your pre-departure checklist, be sure to check the air pressure in your camper tires, including the spare. If you don’t have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) in your rig, you should consider investing in one.
The two major causes of tire blowouts are under inflated and overloaded RV tires. Tires are designed to perform at a certain pressure. Driving your RV with improperly inflated tires can not only lead to a blowout, but it can also cause premature wear to your RV tires.
It is recommended to check the pressure when the tires are cold. Changes in temperature can directly affect tire pressure.
Always follow the manufacturers recommendation for the correct tire pressure for your rig.
3. Never Exceed The GVWR
You should never exceed the gross-vehicle-weight-rating when loading your camper or motorhome. This is not only unsafe, but overloaded RVs can cause premature wear on the tires.
Pay special attention to weight distribution when loading your rig. Uneven side-to-side weight distribution can contribute to uneven and premature tread wear.
4. Keep Your RV Tires Rotated
For motorhomes, keeping your RV tires rotated on a regular basis helps to even out tread wear. Just like in our daily drivers and tow vehicles, rotating the tires extends the life of the tire.
As for travel trailers and fifth wheels, this is a highly debated topic. Most people who own campers will never put enough miles on them to warrant rotating them. In fact, you will most likely need to replace the tires well before that.
If rotating the tires on your travel trailer or fifth wheel is something you want to do, by all means do it.
Rotating your camper tires can give you the opportunity to check for uneven tread wear and any signs of tire damage.
5. RV Tire Care When In Storage
If you store your camper or motorhome during the off-season, take the necessary precautions to protect your RV tires.
Unload the RV as much as possible so the tires are supporting as little weight as possible.
If it’s possible, take the weight off of your RV tires by slightly lifting your rig and placing supports under the axles. If you can’t store your RV in a covered storage unit, tire covers can protect your tires from the suns UV rays.
Take you rig out for a spin every few months to prevent the rubber from cracking and avoiding getting flat spots in the tires.
6. Replace RV Tires As Needed
It is recommended that RV tires be replaced every 5-6 years, regardless of mileage and wear. But keep in mind that not all tires are created equally. Some passenger vehicle tires simply aren’t made for the stresses that RV tires are often put through.
Two of the most common types of RV tires are ST and LT tires. ST is an acronym for “special trailer” and LT is short for “light truck.”
Take the time to research what your RV manufacturer recommends for your specific situation. Having the wrong tires on your RV can lead to a disaster, or worse.
The DOT date code on the sidewall of your existing RV tires will show you when the tire was manufactured.
Following these simple tips for maintain your RV tires won’t guarantee they will last forever. The main goal is to extend the overall life of the tires. The last thing you need is to make a premature trip to the tire shop to shell out a thousand bucks, or more.
The most important part of maintaining your RV tires is the safety of everyone in your rig and on the road around you. So, take a few minutes when you’re getting ready to hit the road to give those tires the TLC they need.
Your wallet will thank you.
Keeping up with the required RV maintenance can be a challenge. There are tools that help you make sure your camper or motorhome is up to date on certain maintenance tasks.
Maintenance Tracker, part of RV Life Pro, is a cloud-based service that you use on your tablet, laptop, or smartphone. It tracks upcoming maintenance tasks and send you notifications when these tasks are due. In addition, RV Life Maintenance Tracker turns your data into detailed reports to better help you keep your rig operating at peak performance.
David is a U.S. Air Force veteran who currently lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with his wonderful wife of 26 years and their two furry companions, Gus and LuLu.
As an outdoor and RV enthusiast, David loves to spend his free time taking road trips and spending as much time as possible at the campground with the family in their 2018 Dutchmen Kodiak 201QB travel trailer