By Mike Willis
There are few items as important as tires when it comes to owning an RV. This critical point of failure can quickly leave you in a dangerous situation, which is usually avoidable. While equipment failure is a part of life, don’t ask for trouble by pushing the limits unnecessarily.
Before heading out on your next trip, check out your tires. Tire pressure needs to be monitored routinely as an improper pressure can cause a tire to fail prematurely. Low tire pressure causes tires to get extremely hot, and blowouts can occur.
Improper tire pressure also leads to uneven tread wear. RVers should routinely look for tread wear to verify that the tires are suitable for use. While inspecting the surface of the tire, look for signs of dry rotting (AKA weather checking).
When the time inevitably comes to replace your tires, consider the following information:
Leave Some Margin
People commonly push their luck with tires on their grocery-getter, but don’t attempt this on your RV. After all, when you are using an RV, you are heading to a remote location that is far from home.
Know how you will be using your RV. If you are an RVer who likes to travel from one RV resort to another, you will be able to get more life out of your tires. However, if you wish to boondock out in the National Forest, you will need to take extra precautions. Forest roads are hard on everything. Sharp rocks can easily slice a thin sidewall (side surface of the tire), leaving you stranded. If you plan to do lots of remote country camping, keep a good set of tires on at all times!
Not All Tires Are Created Equal
When it comes to tire shopping, you will quickly see that there is a huge range of prices. There are three important considerations in determining what tires you should buy. In order for a tire shop to set you up with the appropriate tire, you will need to know the following information:
* Weight of RV
* How you will use the RV
* Towing Speeds
* Existing Tire Size
By having this information, you save yourself from being sold a tire based on assumptions. This information is essential to determine the various rating requirements that you will have for your tires. Don’t go off of cost alone!
Tires are considered a sacrificial component. This means that they are intended to wear and break down. They are designed to be soft enough to get traction, but not so soft that they deteriorate immediately.
RV tires take an extraordinary amount of abuse. If you have dual axels, you can actually hear rubber scrubbing off of the tire’s surface as you make tight turns. No tire is immune to the effects of tight turns and maneuvering. This is important to keep in mind as you shop.
Getting sold on a wear rating based off of towing miles could leave you disappointed. No tire sees its full potential because of the scrubbing effect. Those who make 15-point turns when parking their rig should take note of this. Also, most trailer tires get replaced because of dry rot from sitting, not from worn-down tread.
Just as you shouldn’t buy cheap tires for your RV, you also shouldn’t get carried away paying for top-of-the-line brands either.
A reputable mid-grade tire is usually all that you need. By getting a tire in this category, you save yourself from under or over-investing.
In a time that you are out having fun, don’t subject yourself to unnecessary risk by running inadequate tires on your rig. A great way to ruin your trip is to try and “squeeze” an additional camping season out of your tires; it will catch up with you down the road… Just hopefully not too far from home.