RV Tires Maintenance Tips
In this article, I recommend you how to use SAFELY your RV tires for at least eight years. In my case, ten years, and I still had plenty of treads when I changed them. As you know from my previous articles, I am almost a full-time RVer now.
I simply will start suggesting that RVers who cast such common blanket statements like “RV tires must be replaced after seven years”, or six years or five years no matter what, perform thorough research first and answer these questions:
What does your tire manufacturer recommend?
What condition are they in now?
How have you used and cared for them until now?
Safety comes first but there are other reasonable considerations as well. Do not allow someone else to maintain your RV or spend your money for you without first thinking through your individual situation thoroughly.
I describe in detail all the maintenance tips in this article. First, let´s see the list below, and then we go thoroughly into each of the maintenance tips as I practice them.
RV Tires – Maintenance Tips
RV tires need specific maintenance to give the best possible performance. These 13 travel trailer tips (the first 7 can be applied easily) will help you get the most out of them:
- Tires can be protected from dry rot with special covers.
- Do not store your RV on dirt, but park it on gravel, concrete or wood.
- Only use tires rated to carry the weight of your coach.
- Check tire pressure regularly during travel using an accurate tire gauge. Inflate all tires of the vehicle equally, else excessive pressure on one or a few may cause a blowout.
- Wash tires often and remove all debris and dirt from treads.
- Tires can overheat, causing a blowout in hot weather. When traveling in hot weather, do so in early evenings or early mornings rather than during the middle of the day. When traveling when it is hot, stop often so the tires can cool off. Hosing them down with cold water will also help.
- Do not put your coach on jacks to remove weight from the tires. This could cause serious damage to the coach’s structure.
Now, let´s go through all the maintenance tips in detail. There are 13 tips in total. The seven above, were the easiest to implement in my opinion.
Monitor The Age Of The Motorhome Tires With The DOT Date
The first step, obviously, is to know the age of your RV tires. It is very important to check the Department Of Transport date on every tire. As we described several times in other related articles, it is listed as a four-digit code showing the week and year of manufacturing.
An excellent tip, related to the monitoring of the age of the tires, is to record each tire date and the position where it is being actually installed. The date is only stamped on one side and might end up facing inward.
This positioning can make it difficult or impossible to read later especially on the rear duals. Make note of the dates and locations during installation. This behavior guarantees you will never have to wonder whether your tires are outdated or not.
RV tires have a life expectancy of at least approximately 5 years. But with the advice of this article, you can keep it for up to ten years. As tires could be sitting on a lot or batch, attached to an RV for a long time, or even be stored in a factory, it is always worthwhile to check the manufacturing date of the tire to make sure you do not purchase RV tires that are a few years old already.
Numbers showing age are in the last ovoid after the dot on the sidewall. The first two numbers represent the week of the year in which they were manufactured, while the last numbers indicate the year.
A tire with the numbers 1619 was for example manufactured in the sixteenth week of 2019 (the first week of April in 2019). If it was bought in May of 2019, the tire was new, but if it was purchased in May of 2020 it is more than one year old.
If you are unsure of where to find the numbers or how to read them, ask a mechanic or the seller to check them for you. However, with the guidance that I provide you in this article, you have already an excellent reference and you can calculate the age of the RV tires by yourself.
There are no guidelines determining at what age tires should be replaced. How often and under what conditions tires are used play a role in how long tires last. Therefore, you can follow the indications provided here.
Do Not Overload Tires
Do not overload them. Refer to the manufacturers’ load and inflation tables, to determine the maximum weight a tire can support. Loading them beyond their rated weight carrying capacity, cannot only wear them faster but can also cause sudden premature failure.
Measure your RV Weigh When Fully Loaded
Have your RV weighed when it is fully loaded at least once. Retrieve corner weights and ensure then not to overload any tire, keeping the load well below the maximum if you can.
With motorhomes, each axle is rated individually as a camper’s weight is not distributed equally. The axle ratings should be available online or in the manufacturer’s manual.
Always weigh your RV on a certified scale when it is loaded to prevent placing too much weight on a specific axle and make adjustments if required.
Inflate Motorhome Tires Properly
Keep RV tires properly inflated. Overinflation or underinflation will not only age tires faster (wear them faster, actually) but it can make the ride less comfortable and the driving, less safe.
Again, measure the RV weight and follow your tire manufacturers’ inflation chart for each tire position.
Until you are able to get your RV weighed, what you should preferably do soon, inflate the RV tires to carry the maximum axle weight as posted on your RV´s weight rating plate. This information is often located near the seat of the driver. It may make your ride a little stiffer in a class A RV (in other RV types, you will not notice it), but it will reduce the risk that your RV tires are under-inflated until you can get accurate corner weights weighing an RV in an RV scale, and using that information to determine tire pressures.
So as I explained right above, a key aspect of taking care of your RV tires is to make sure the tires are inflated to the correct pressure.
The tire pressure should be checked before a trip, every morning of a multi-day trip, or once a month during times when the RV is not used. Tire pressure should always be checked when the tires are cold, i.e. before they are driven that day.
The ideal tire pressure of RV tires is listed on the sidewall of the tires with the letters PSI (Pounds per Square Inch).
Alignment Of The Chassis
You should get your chassis aligned as soon as possible after changing the tires. The last thing you want to do is ruin brand new tires by driving them very far without a perfect alignment.
No matter how big a discount we receive, they are far too expensive to risk damaging the tread.
Get your chassis aligned properly, as I described above. If your alignment is off, it can lead to unusual wear patterns and premature tire replacement. Furthermore, check your tire tread regularly for uneven wear that could indicate an alignment problem.
Wash The RV Tires Gently With Water And Very Mild Soap Only
Although you should clean the motorhome tires when they are muddy or dirty, you should not do this too often. Tires are coated with antioxidant and anti-ozone compounds. These prolong the tires’ lifecycle and washing them too often removes these compounds that help them working and looking well.
Keeping tires clean not only makes them look good but also helps them last longer.
Road oils can cause deterioration of the rubber and dirt will hold contaminants within the tire. A soft brush and the same mild soap used to wash the RV are perfect. Likewise, ensure that any tire dressing or treatment you utilize, does not contain petroleum distillates, alcohol or silicone. All of these substances are bad for the rubber.
Aerospace Protectant 303 is a water-based protectant that I have been using for years. I apply some after every wash. It contains UV blockers to help protect the rubber from the effects of sunlight and repels dirt and contaminants. Furthermore, it also leaves a nice dark matte finish that looks great without being slimy.
Keep Tires Covered
As RV tires are so expensive, it makes sense to take the proper steps to care for them. One good investment is to buy tire covers to protect RV tires from the sun, heat, and cold.
Ozone and UV rays will shorten RV tires’ lifetime. Therefore, make the effort to protect them from direct sunlight by covering them whenever possible.
Black RV covers or white RV covers are both suitable. I have dark covers and my tires seemed to sustain really well under them.
Tire covers are easy to fit and remove from your RV. They are also much cheaper to buy rather than having to replace tires due to sunlight damage that can be evidenced through cracks depicted in the tire.
Use Your RV And Utilize The Tires
Use your RV a lot, drive the motorhome tires as much as possible. RV tires age and wear faster when they are not driven and utilized. You will have an advantage if you are a full-time RVer.
When I park in one spot with my wife for an extended period, as we are almost full-time RVers, we take our RV out for a comprehensive exercise run at least once a month, but normally twice per month.
This is not only good for the RV tires, but also for the engine, wheel hubs and suspension too. You also provide your RV generator and air conditioning unit a good workout at the same time.
Follow Extended Storage Procedures
If your RV is stored for an extended period when it will not be moved, ensure to follow proper storage procedures.
You have to reduce the load on the tires as much as possible filling them to the maximum air pressure listed on the sidewall. Likewise, you should place tires on a barrier especially when they are parked on asphalt, grass or dirt.
As mentioned, during this extended storage, the RV tires should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Therefore, you have to use an RV tires cover depending on the storage location utilized.
Follow Manufacturers Instructions
Why am I using my RV tires for a full nine or ten years? Because I am carefully following the manufacturer’s instructions.
My tires are Michelin. This company, Michelin, released a technical service bulletin in 2019, updating an old one from 2006, that provides specific details on how long their tires are safe to operate and under what conditions.
Likewise, they include a visual guide to help owners to recognize signs of aging rubber. Michelin specifies that once tires are 5 years old they should be professionally inspected annually.
The Price Is Not The Most Important Factor
Motorhomes typically weigh more than 20,000 pounds and have between 6 and 10 huge tires. Owners may be tempted to save money by buying tires that are too small or belong to an unknown brand. This could, however, mean that the tires do not match the weight and size of the coach or are poorly constructed and will not last long.
Trying to save money this way is not a good idea. If you spend some time and effort, you will find suitable tires at a reasonable price. What is more, if they are right for your vehicle, they will keep you safe while traveling.
There are numerous different types of RVs, and each type may use various different types of tires. This means that with RV tires, size does make a difference. Motorhome tires will be different than RV trailer tires, while tires for a truck camper will differ from both the previous types.
Apart from tires, RV rims and RV wheel sizes also differ.
There are various tire manufacturers, types, and places where they can be bought. If you have the time, it’s a good idea to first do some research before buying tires.
Tire manufacturer’s websites will give you all the information on the pricing and types.
Rims and tires for RVs can be bought online if you are willing to wait for shipping. Discounted and used RV tires that still have plenty of life left in them are available.
It is not always the best option to buy cheap RV tires, so take the time to check the manufacture date of the tires. Even if you can find discounted motorhome tires that have not been used, if they are a few years old, they are probably not a good buy.
Once you know which size and type you want to buy, you can search the internet for the best deal. RV tires can also be found for sale at local tire shops, big-box store chains, and national tire chains.
While doing research, check out RV tire reviews to help you understand how others have experienced a product.
Do not be afraid to shop around. RV tires are expensive and prices can vary widely from one outlet to the next.
Make sure you know what type and size of tires are most suitable for your vehicle, and buy the right ones. These ones are indicated in the price list below.
Please see our price list for tires for recreational vehicles right here, below.
RV Tires Price List
- SuperMax MTB HWY in 11 /– 22.5 tires MSRP averaged $230
- Yokohama TY303 in 255/70 in R 22 . L 30312 tires MSRP averaged: $313
- Goodyear Precure G 177 M 27 in 11 / R – 22.5 tires MSRP averaged: $241
- Goodyear G751 MSA DuraSeal in 11 / R – 22.5 tires MSRP averaged: $811
- Deestone D902 in 8.75 x – 16.5 DS 1290 tires MSRP averaged: $88
- RoadOne F16 in 11/R-24.5 tires MSRP averaged: $275
- Bridgestone L 320 in 11 / R – 24.5 tires MSRP averaged: $839
- Goodyear G741 MSD in 11 / R – 24.5 tires MSRP averaged: $836
- LingLong F01 in 275 /80 R – 22.5 tires MSRP averaged: $318
- Goodyear G670 RV ULT LT in 225 /70 R 19.5 B tires MSRP averaged: $378
- Triangle TR 666 in 275 /80 R – 22.5 tires MSRP averaged: $320
- Goodyear G670 RV MRT in 275 /80 R – 22.5 MSRP averaged: $725
- Michelin XRV in 225 /70 R 19.5 58916 tires MSRP averaged: $308
- Vitour V796 in 315 /80 R – 22.5 tires MSRP averaged: $325
- Goodyear Endurance in 315 /80 R – 22.5 tires MSRP averaged: $1383
- Roadmaster RM 253 in 245 / 7OR 19.5 136 M tires MSRP averaged: $237
- Goodyear G652 in 305 / 70R – 22.5 tires MSRP averaged: $848
- Kumho KRS03 in 305 / 70R – 22.5 tires MSRP averaged: $416
- Hankook AH11 in 8 / R 19.5 L tires MSRP averaged: $212
- Toyo M144 in 305 / 70R – 22.5 tires MSRP averaged: $506
- Firestone Transforce HT Highway in 235x 75 R15 104 R tires MSRP 2019 averaged: $127
- Toyo M154 in 265 /75R 22.5 138L tires MSRP averaged: $384
- Goodyear Marathon LHS II in 295 / 80R – 22.5 tires MSRP averaged: $977
- Samson Radial GL283A in 8 / R 19.5 124 L tires MSRP averaged: $138
- Continental Tire Conti Trac in 235 / 70-16 tires MSRP averaged: $129
- GT Radial GTL 922 in 11 / R – 24.5 tires MSRP averaged: $269
Some RV owners feel that paying $250 per tire is too much, but the reality is that it does not get cheaper than that. While price depends on size, type, and brand, prices are typically between $350 and $ 1400 each. Dealers do however often hold sales and you may be able to pick up a bargain that way.
Make sure you only purchase from reputable, authorized sellers to ensure you do not buy retreads or old products. Also, check that you are buying RV tires and not ones meant for trucks.
Although tires come with a coach when you buy it, always make sure that those fitted on the RV you are buying are new and of good quality.
If this is not the case, renegotiate the deal. Cheap tires will often lead to serious problems that could be very expensive.
When buying individual tires, they should be the same size and weight rating as those already on the coach.
If you make the right choice when buying tires, you and your family will be safe while traveling and it will save you lots of money in the long run.
Check RV Tire Ratings
Manufacturers always rate tires specifically and individually based on payload and size. The information is displayed on the tire’s sidewalls and you will be able to see if the units you are considering will meet your requirements.
To make the right choice, you will have to know the coach’s loaded weight.
To obtain this information, weigh your RV on a scale that is certified, making sure it is fully loaded, including gasoline and water.
Taking time to check the ratings is too critical a step to skip.
Consulting a Professional
All manufacturers manuals will indicate to you that after five years of age, your RV tires have to be inspected by a professional.
As RV tires move around a lot of weight, it may be prudent to let a professional check the tires on your motorhome or RV trailer at the start of every camping season. A tire professional will be able to tell you if the tires are safe, or need to be replaced.
RV Tires Conclusions
My clear conclusion here is that if your RV tires are well cared for, in good condition, and determined to be safe during their annual inspections, they can continue to be used safely until they are 10 years old.
Likewise, I take optimal care of the motorhome tires weighing my RV periodically and ensuring that no tire is overloaded.
I perform routine monitoring of air pressure in strict accordance with the pressure tables furnished by the RV tires manufacturer keeping them clean using water and mild soap.
Protected the RV tires from the exposure of sunlight as much as possible, utilizing an RV cover of any color, while maintaining a watchful eye for changes in performance such as noise vibration or air loss.
Furthermore, I would like to add a professional annual inspection after the RV tires have an age of more than five years since the date of manufacturing.
Regular use or periodic exercise run when the RV is parked for extended periods. As I described above, once per month is fine. Sometimes I see other people leaving the RV park with their RV, and they explain to us that they are going to do this kind of periodic run for some hours and that they will return later to the RV park.
One critical component to your safety on the road is RV wheels and tires. They are also responsible for getting you where you want to be. This is more than enough reason to ensure they are in good shape and can handle the roads you are likely to travel.
Although RV owners all seem to prefer different RV tire brands, very few actually understand the challenges a recreational vehicle has when compared to cars.
The truth of the matter is however that some brands are clearly more durable than others. Although many lesser tire brands are very popular for use on RVs, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Firestone and Toyo tires are very well made and have been designed to be able to deal with heavy loads as their sidewalls are stronger than that of other brands.
The downside is however that they deliver a rough ride. Each owner, therefore, has to decide if general road comfort is more important than safety and durability. When trying to decide which brand to select, check different tires by sitting on them. Those with sidewalls that tend to “give” more will last shorter than those that stay firm.
Decide to spend more in your RV tires in exchange for quality, because this additional expense will allow you to extend their life and you could be changing them only once in a decade.
I am Tony, an RV designer and RV developer. I create bill of materials for RV manufacturers for travel trailers and fifth wheels. I worked as a freelance transportation consultant for Lyft. As an RV development consultant, I create customization trees for RV manufacturers who want to offer a solution to prospective customers to design their custom RV with variant configuration. Apart from this, I sell in Indiana trailer hitches, hitch balls, goosenecks and weight distribution systems where I provide advice to customers who want to know which is their towing capacity, which hitch ball should they utilize and how to deploy a weight distribution system. I do my best to explain all these processes and their installation, here in RV Favorites.