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Five tips to get the most out of your RV tires!

Maggie Hughes Maggie Hughes  |  10.12.2016

When was the last time you checked the tire pressure on your rig?  Before your trip? During?  Or when it was too late? Let’s face it, some of us aren’t as diligent as we could be when it comes to maintaining your RV’s tires. But proper tire inflation during a long trip could save you the cost of a dinner out if your tires are under-inflated and even more if you have blow out.  And with proper inflation and care you can usually get a longer useable life out of your tires.

You can count on one hand the 5 easy steps to tire happiness!

Inflation: Maintaining proper air pressure in RV tires is the way to enhance tread life and tire performance. Under inflated tires can reduce traction, fuel economy, load-carrying capability, tread life and can cause permanent structural damage to your tires. Remember, not all RVs are built the same and either are their tires. Make sure to check for the recommended inflation pressures for your tires in your owner’s manual.

Cleaning: Similar to the rest of your RV, routinely cleaning your tires will greatly benefit your RV in the long run. Road oil, a product used to seal and protect roadways, is known to cause rubber deterioration. Tires that are layered with dirt and dust buildup will hold the contaminant next to the tire causing further degradation. A soft brush and normal mild soap that you would use to clean your RV may be used.

Note: tire dressings that contain petroleum products, alcohol or silicones will cause deterioration or cracking and accelerate the aging process. In many cases, it is not the dressing itself that can be a problem, but rather the chemical reaction that the product can have with the antioxidant in the tire.

Load Balance: Storage and carrying capacity are often large factors when comparing RV models and floorplans. Knowing your gross combination weight rating (GCWR) and not over packing your RV or overloading one side of your RV will benefit your tire’s lifespan. A balanced load in an RV can enhance fuel economy and handling, improve tread wear and reduce excessive wear of RV components.

Inspection: It is important to inspect your tires regularly and they should have a thorough inspection at least once a year and after any time you drive through a rough or rocky terrain. The inspection should include both sidewalls, the tread area, valves, valve caps and any valve extensions. Inspect for for nails, cuts, bulges, aging or fatigue cracks and weather or ozone checking. Also, check between the duals for objects lodged between them.

Storage: Unless you’re a full time RVer, your vehicle most likely spends some time in long-term storage. If you’re seeking a long term storage solution for your RV in the off season, look for a cool, dry sealed storage facility. Stay away from places that experience frequent and extreme temperature changes, do not keep tires next to radiators or other sources of heat. Keep in mind while you’re storing your RV or RV tires, some storage surfaces can cause tires to age faster. So, keep your tires protected from sunlight and ultraviolet rays, try placing a barrier (cardboard, plastic or plywood) between your tire and the storage surface and make sure your tires are properly inflated to your RV’s recommended pressures.

 

What tips do you have for caring for your RV tires? Comment below!

 


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23 Comments

  1. Jeff Posted on 10.29.2016

    Many RVers think that by reducing tire pressure will give them a smoother ride. In both their tow vehicle and RV.

    This is completely INCORRECT! Tire should be inflated to their maximum COLD Tire Pressure. For Example: My 5th wheel has a cold tire pressure of 110 psi. They are always inflated to that pressure before I leave on a trip. Remember, COLD TIRE PRESSURE. That means before you move on the road and cause your tires to heat up. And don’t try adding air when the tires are hot! This will cause a possible blow out or damage the tires.

    Another GREAT IDEA is to purchase a TIRE PRESSURE MONITOR. I have one for my 5th Wheel and Tow vehicle. So I know exactly how the tires are doing while I go down the road. If there is a pressure loss or slow leak or over temperature in the tires, it will warn you, before a tire blows and causes major damage to your RV.

    This is one of those AREAS where SAFETY is the name of the game!

  2. Humberto Posted on 10.29.2016

    I really don’t know on Jeff comment, I started RV since the early 70’s first with a pop up and then travel trailer, class a motor home back to a fifth wheel and presently with a Class A Motorhome. I live in Texas and every time I travel I have used at least 5 psi less when i inflate my tires and have never had any problems, thats more than 40 years and counting. When you travel on temperatures of over 100 degrees the tires can over inflate. I have driving twice to Alaska. Jeff but you are right, always inflate your tires when they are cold, early in the morning, but not freezing.

  3. Tom Case Posted on 10.29.2016

    Regarding Jeff’s comments about running tires at their maximum tire pressure. Many trailer owners with ST type tires with max pressure of 80 psi or lower run maximum air pressure, and that’s probably a good idea because of the construction of the tire. HOWEVER, trailer tires with higher, i.e. 110 psi max pressure readings and most all motorhome tires should be inflated according to the tire manufacturer’s load inflation table, then add 5-10 lbs for a safety margin. If you cannot get your RV weighed properly, i.e. 4. corner weighed, then running your tires at or close to the maximum is suggested, but only until you can get it weighed and accurately determine the proper tire pressure. Running highly overinflated tires bring a whole new set of undesirable issues to the table, not as dangerous as under inflated tires, but problems that should be avoided by simply following tire manufacturer’s recommendations.

  4. TommyT Posted on 10.29.2016

    The “Maximum” tire pressure on the sidewall of the tire may, or may not be the proper inflation pressure for a particular application. Always weigh your rig and, using a manufacturer’s tire inflation chart, select the pressure that correlates to the weight(s) the tire will be carrying.

    If a tire is run at too high a pressure, the center of the tread will begin showing early signs of wear and the trailer contents, and suspension components, will be subjected to a rougher ride than necessary.

    If a tire is run at too low a pressure, the edges of the tread will begin to show early signs of wear, and the sidewall will begin to break down from excess flexing.

    And, before you upgrade your tires to a higher load rating (E to F, etc.), make sure your rims are rated for any higher pressures the tires require. And, of course, remember that the trailer’s suspension components also have a maximum load rating that should not be exceeded.

    ALWAYS use a tire pressure monitoring system; and keep it in good shape (batteries, etc.) That has “saved my bacon” more than once.

  5. Karl Sehrbrock Posted on 10.29.2016

    Why did you eliminate the drivers door on the 2016 Adventurer model? Will you offer a drivers door in the future? (Same as you found out that placing the airconditioner unit in the basement on the 2009 models was not optimal) – I will wait with any future purchase until the drivers door is again available. Alternatively, I will have to switch to Tiffin Allegro Open Road models.

  6. Sonny Martin Posted on 10.29.2016

    I have a Forza 34T. I have had better luck with my tires by weighing my coach and inflating my tires according to the tire manufacture’s recommendation. Found that info in the tire manual that came with the tires.

  7. Doug Warnecke Posted on 10.29.2016

    I park my Winnebago Vectra on a cement parking slab. I purchased some inexpensive kitchen/dining table placemats as a barrier between the tire and concrete. They are large enough for one placemat for each dual tire set.

    Short of an electronic tire monitor, get a quality dual foot tire gauge and mount it next to entry door either low on the wall or on the floor adjacent to the steps. I used a broom hanger on the floor – reminds me every time I enter or exit the vehicle. (PS: Check em’ before every departure, even enroute – you never know when you might have picked up an nail or an object!)

  8. Russ Posted on 10.29.2016

    The Michelin truck tire manual goes on at length outlining tire applications and identification of signs of impending failure. In the roughly 150 pages there is not one single mention of a time limit, yet we are bombarded with “advice” recommending tires be replaced at six or seven years regardless of condition. I routinely run tires fifteen years or more with no failures or signs of degraded integrity. I believe this is a result of avoiding exposure to ozone and direct sunlight (when not in use), never running underinflated, and avoiding obvious road hazards the extent possible.

  9. Terry Trimble Posted on 10.29.2016

    We took a 2 month road trip to Alaska this summer in our new Aspect. RV tires were properly inflated (80 psi for duals) when we left. Cold PSI dropped the further north we went- down to about 72. Talked to folks in several tire shops in the Yukon and Alaska and was told not to increase to 80 but wait till we returned to lower elevations (we live in Texas) and psi would return to 80-. I did what they recommended and it did return to about 78. Never heard that advice before. Not sure it was correct. We do have a Tire Monitoring System which has saved us several times.

  10. Rawson Mordhorst Posted on 10.29.2016

    After a travelling companion experienced a flat tire on the inside rear dual of their rig I decided a tire pressure monitoring system would be a good addition. The aluminum wheels on my VIA made it very difficult to install the sensors on the valve stems until I added extenders. Then the problems began. Responding to a low pressure warning in one tire I went to a Discount Tire store. They removed the rear duals to check for a leak and found none, and all this work was unnecessary and free of charge. I was advised that the valve stem extenders often cause leaks. (I had traveled several thousand miles with the new extenders before this “leak” occurred which led me to believe I really had a leak in that tire.) I have since had new longer valve stems installed on the wheels and did away with the extenders and pressure monitoring system as the senders make accomplishing the still recommended check of pressure with a gauge or adjusting the tire pressure extremely difficult.

  11. Rawson Mordhorst Posted on 10.29.2016

    There is a significant difference between the recommended tire pressure posted in my Winnebago VIA and the maximum tire pressure recommended for the tires. When I have had the tires checked at the tire store and later checked them at home I found that the tires had been inflated to the higher pressure recommended on the tire and not the one recommended by Winnebago. I seem to see conflicting recommendation on which recommendation to go by. Comments on which to follow would be appreciated.

  12. Mike Dailey Posted on 10.29.2016

    Terry, You received bad info from those tire shops. Think about it, 72 psi is still 72 psi no matter the temperature, below the tires’ recommended pressure. Always fill to spec, daily. As you head back south, temps increase & psi slightly increases, let air out until you drop to 80 psi.

  13. harvey inouye Posted on 10.29.2016

    Would like to have a rule of thumb on tires: How many years can they be used. I have heard four, five etc. Of course that’s taking care of the tire pressure and keeping them clean, Second: how can you check the tire sidewall cracks (weather damage) to see how safe they are or when you should buy new tires? One tip I was privey too was take a ball point pen, run it inside of the crack–if it rolls smoothly that’s good, if it is bumpy like hitting the cords..Change. Would appreciate other tips on checking the safety of weather beaten tires.

  14. Tom Case Posted on 10.29.2016

    Russ, take a look at http://www.michelinman.com under when to replace tires. Michelin suggests an annual “thorough” every year after 5 years, and replacement at 10 years. The problem with running tires too long is a visual inspection alone will not always identify structural damage that can occur as the tire ages. I realize we tend to believe any manufacturer of a product is tempted to recommend early replacement for the sake of sales, but since safety is first here, I’ll pay attention to Michelin’s advise.

  15. Duane Harp Posted on 10.29.2016

    We read suggestions on having the coach weighed on all 4 corners, which sounds like good advice, but where do you actually do it? I’m intimidated from having it done at a busy truck stop. (And often they have rails which would prevent it anyway). So where do you guys actually get it done? Thanks for all the good info!!

  16. Richard Rivera Posted on 10.30.2016

    Any advise on the use of Nitrogen in the RV tires. If you are a user of Nitro, is availability accessible on the road outside of local area? I appreciate all the advise on tire care and it has helped me on making a decision on tire monitoring systems. Thank you.

  17. Tom Case Posted on 10.30.2016

    This is what I enjoy about these forums, they generate as many questions as they do answers. A couple of questions have been raised here: 1. Which inflation recommendation do you go by and 2. Where do you get a 4 corner weighing done?
    1. The inflation info on the tire is actually the minimum psi required to support the maximum load of the tire. In the case of a typical 295/80R22.5 LRH Michelin, you would see something like maximum single load 7830 lbs at 120 PSI. That is the max load for the tire, not necessarily the load you have on it, hopefully you have less than the max load riding on it. The sticker that is often present that gives tire size and inflation info is supplied by the vehicle manufacturer. They do not know how you are going to load the vehicle, so normally the pressure there will be higher than what you actually need. They will often show an inflation equal to the tire’s max inflation, or an inflation that would support the max weight rating of the axle. Anyone in an accountable position who’s making a guess at your inflation will undoubtedly give you a higher PSI than you actually need because of liability issues. Tire stores have the same issue, if they send you out of the shop under inflated, and there’s a accident because of an under inflated tire, they could be held partially liable. That’s why it’s important to have your coach, camper truck, Class A, B or C, trailer either 5th wheel or conventional, weighed properly, meaning a “4 corner” weighing. A truck scale can give you a good axle weight, but you entirely miss the “out of balance condition” that exists on virtually all RVs. If you get your axle weight and simply divide by 2 to get your individual wheel weights, there’s a good chance that you will be under inflating one of the tires.
    That brings us to question 2:
    Where do you get a 4 corner weighing done? RVSEF sets up at some of the large rallies and performs 4 corner weighing. Theirs is pretty much a production type process. Since they normally weigh on the way out of the rally they can’t spend a lot of time covering the results with the owner. To get a more personalized report, there are several individual companies that travel around attending regional FMCA rallies and club events. Weigh To Go, LLC is among those and provides a very thorough report and discussion of results. Escapees also have the Smart Weigh program, but you must go to one of their locations in AZ or TX, not real convenient for most people. For as important a service as it is, it’s not easy to get it done, but keep looking, it’s probably the most crucial safety item
    to address for safe travel.

  18. Pete Letourneau Posted on 10.30.2016

    The Escapees club will do a tire weighin at many of their events. They each tire and based on load will recommend the appropriate weight. Check em out at escapees.com

  19. John Posted on 10.30.2016

    I got my RV weighing at a gravel/stone business that also sold LP. While I was filling the tanks asked if I could weigh my RV, they let me do it for free. It was useful information to have and only took a few minutes.

  20. kenvb Posted on 12.06.2016

    i just bought a 92 Itasca 34 ft DP, has 70,000 kms on it. it was sitting under a roof in Arizona for 18 yrs till brought up to Canada, owners son put new michelins on frt and it still has the factory rear tires .i have used it on 3 short 100 mile trips. the tires were always covered he said. so the 5 yr rule of changing tires didnt work here. they had 90 lbs pressure in them when i got it last August.I had them insepcted at 2 tire shops. none said they should be changed ? there not cracked ,just half worn.what do you think.4 new ones in spring?

  21. Debi Wheler Posted on 01.16.2017

    We just purchased our 1st motorhome, a 2016 Minnie Winnie. Mynhusband isnhaving a devilish time inflating the outside tires in the dullies. He just can’t get it done and this is after purchasing multiple attachments, etc. Any suggestions beforenhe completely looses it?

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 01.16.2017

      There’s good news and bad news here. The good news is that there is an excellent solution. The bad news is that it’s not cheap.

      Many RVers fight the same hassle and it can be eliminated with valve extenders. Valve extenders can turn into a near religious debate. Many people use flexible valve extenders with cost as little as $15. The “righteous” answer offered up on RV forums is to install full valve extenders that replace the tire valve itself. Of course that means pulling the wheels and replacing the rubber valve with the metal extended valve in the wheel, re-inflating the tire, and remounting it. The Borg extenders seem to be the ones most frequently recommended and you can find them by clicking on this link: http://yourtireshopsupply.com/category/796_828/ford-dodge-class

  22. Eric Eltinge Posted on 03.19.2017

    I happily own a 2015 Winnebago ERA. I only fill the tires with nitrogen. The tire pressures never deflate between servicings. Available at Mercedes dealerships, Winnebago dealers, and Costco. Worth the price!