Proper tire care and maintenance is vital to the life of your motorhome, travel trailer, or fifth wheel. Here are some tips and maintenance practices that can extend the life of your tires.
When it comes to maintenance, keeping your RV tires inflated to the proper pressure is the most important thing you can do to insure their long life. Follow the guidelines in your RV owner’s manual if you have one or ask any one of our friendly staff in the service department.
The maximum pressure allowed for a tire is embossed on the side wall. That’s the maximum pressure when the tire is cold. The proper pressure for your RV tire may not be the maximum tire pressure. The right pressure is determined by the weight carried by each tire on the RV and the pressure recommend by the tire manufacture for that weight.
Running a tire in an over pressure condition will cause uneven tread wear and may damage the construction of the tire enough to cause a blowout.
Running a tire in an under pressure condition will also cause uneven tread wear and can cause damage to the side walls of the tire resulting in a blowout. Keep in mind that a tire can lose as much 1 psi per month and as little as 5 psi can make a difference in the load carrying capacity of a tire.
Check tire pressure once a month.
Improper inflation pressure isn’t the only thing that can cause unusual tread wear. It may also be caused by a mechanical problem such as wheel alignment, a bent wheel or an unbalanced tire. If there is unusual tread wear on the tires of your recreational vehicle, call us today and make an appointment with one of our service technicians. The amount of tread on an RV tire is not the best indication of the condition. While some RVers put lots of miles on their rigs and may actually use all the tread on a tire most don’t get to travel that much. The tread may never wear off the tires before they need to be replaced.
The biggest natural cause of tire failure is Ozone, a gas which causes rubber to become dry and cracked (dry rot). Since high temperatures and ultraviolet light accelerate this destructive process, covering your tires when not in use will also help prolong their life. Tire manufactures do not recommend any type of dressings or cleaners other than soap and water and say that keeping your tires clean is the best thing you can do to minimize ozone damage. If you do use tire dressings they should not contain petroleum products or alcohol.
It is recommended to replace tires five to seven years old. You can determine the age of your tires by looking for the serial number embossed on the side wall. Look at the last four digits. The first two of the four is the week of the year. The last two digits are the year the tire was manufactured. So, the number 1612 would indicate the tire was made in the sixteenth week of 2012.
For most of Rvers choosing the right tires for their motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer is easy, they use the size and type of tires originally installed by the RV manufacturer. However, while the tires installed by the manufacture may be adequate, they may not provide a sufficient margin of safety if the RV is loaded to the maximum GVWR.
To know if your tires are the right ones for your motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer it’s important to compare the fully loaded weight of your RV to the weight rating of the tires. Ask us for a weight rating chart for your tire brand and model. Most manufactures also have these charts on their web sites.
Long Term Tire Storage & Care
Long term tire storage or storage of seasonal use recreational vehicles requires special preparations. RVs should be raised on blocks, if possible, so weight is removed from the tires. If blocking is not possible, tire pressure should be increased 25% from inflation required for the loaded vehicle. But do not exceed the maximum psi. The RV storage area should be level and well drained. Care should be taken to avoid prolonged tire contact with petroleum based substances: oils, fuels and asphalt. The RV should be moved every three months to prevent flat spotting and ozone cracking at the tire sidewall flex point. Flat spots usually disappear, when the tires warm-up, after a 25+ mile drive. Flat spotting, which occurs on vehicles not moved for six or more months may not disappear. If you use leveling blocks under your tires the blocks should be large enough so the entire foot print of the tire will fit on them. If you have a dual wheel axle both tires must be completely supported. If you have a multiple axle trailer the tires on the side being raised should be supported equally.
Tires on motorhomes, travel trailers and fifth wheels stored out-of-doors, should be protected by opaque covers to prevent damage from sunlight.