Tires are without a doubt one of the most significant investments you will make to keep your RV on the road. Unlike some other big ticket items, you can put off until the time is right, tires are needed when they are needed, and without them, you are grounded.
Unfortunately, there is no way to make your tires last forever, but there are some simple maintenance tips you can follow to extend the life of your tires and potentially save your thousands of dollars over the life of your vehicle.
1. Keep them properly inflated – when it comes to RV tire failure improper inflation is one of the top two reasons for failure (we will discuss the other top reason next). Tires which are under or over inflated not only ride poorly but will wear unevenly and overheat. Both of these situations not only reduce the life of the tire but increases the chances of failure- which can leave you stranded or even result in an accident.
It is essential to check your tire pressures regularly, even as often as every time you fuel, and follow the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressures. To help you do this quickly, accurately and as efficiently as possible it is suggested you purchase two cheap but effective accessories – a quality tire pressure gauge and valve extenders.
2. Avoid overloading – overloading is a bad idea for several reasons, not only is it dangerous but it results in costly repairs down the road including excessive tire wear. Not only does your RV have a maximum weight capacity but so do the tires.
As with improper inflation, overloading can result in reduced handling and uneven or excessive tire wear. You can avoid this costly damage by routinely weighing your unit not only as a whole but at each tire as it is possible to have the correct overall weight but still cause tire damage due to improperly distributing the load. In the long run, you will benefit from a better riding, better handling unit as well as extend the life of your tires.
3. Protect tires during storage – believe it, or not much of the damage to your RV’s tire can occur while you are not even using it. When your vehicle sits idle, the tires are susceptible to dry rot and even damage due to wheels being in one position too long (because of the weight being on one side).
The first thing you can do is cover the tires when not using the vehicle; some RVers go as far as covering the tires while at their campsite. This will help protect the rubber from harmful UV rays as well as cleaning solvents, petroleum products, etc. then may be exposed to. If stored for long periods of time it is recommended that the vehicle is moved slightly every month or so as well.
4. Routine maintenance – as with everything mechanical your RV and its tire will benefit from regular maintenance. Aside from checking air pressure and inspecting for dry rot, you should make a habit of also checking for damage, cleaning the tires and making sure no anomalies exist. Should you see any sign of problems, it is better to get it checked now, when a repair might be an option rather than being forced to do a replacement down the road.
Do not forget to regularly rotate the tires either. Even adequately cared for tires will last longer and ride smoother if rotated periodically to different chassis positions during its regular life cycle.
For more information on how you can care for your tires, extend their life and avoid costly emergency replacement costs check out this YouTube video.