RV Tires – 5 Steps to Understanding RV Tires and RV Tire Replacements

Having an RV is a wonderful thing. You can get away and relax and see different parts of the country and scenery that you haven’t experienced before. But in order to get away, you need to have the ability to “get.” And one of the most important pieces in having the ability to “get” is your RV tires.

RV wheels and tires are not only critical to getting you where you want to be, but they are critical to your safety on the road, so making sure that they are in good shape, and ready to handle the road  you are about to travel is important.

Let’s take a look at some information that you should know about your RV camper tires.

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1. You Should See a Professional

Photo Credit: TreadDepot.co
Photo Credit: TreadDepot.com

No, you’re not crazy! There are times in life when even the most avid do-it-yourselfer needs to consult the pros, and tires are one of those times when you should visit a professional shop.

When it comes to RV tires, it’s important to keep in mind that you are going to be moving around a lot of weight. Because of this you should consult a professional to have a look at your motorhome or RV trailer tires at the beginning of each camping season. A tire professional can tell you if your tires are safe, if they in proper working order, and if there are any adjustments or replacements that need to be made.

2. Let’s Talk About Age

I know it isn’t polite to talk about age, so I won’t ask what your age is. However, how old are your tires? Do you know?

Knowing the age of your RV tires is important, and is fairly easy to determine. All tires contain a Tire Identification Number that identifies the week and the year that the tire was manufactured.

Tires manufactured since the year 2000 are required to have Tire Identification Numbers starting with the letters “DOT” followed by several numbers and letters. To determine the age of your tires, you’ll want to pay attention to the last 4 digits of the Tire Identification Number. Consider these digits your tire’s “born-on date.”

Tire manufacture date is listed as a 4 digit code at the end of the DOT number. The first two numbers are the week of the year they were manufactured, the second two numbers are the year they were manufactured. Photo Credit: RecStuff.com
Tire manufacture date is listed as a 4 digit code at the end of the DOT number. Photo Credit: RecStuff.com

For example, if the last 4 digits of your Tire Identification Number are 4210, that means that your tires were manufactured in the 42nd week of the year 2010.

Now, we all know that sometimes the older the better: like with fine wine or scotch. But in the case of tires, older is definitely not better. Rubber breaks down with time and depending on wear and tear, so young, spry tires are a bonus!

There is no specific guideline on the age of a tire determining when it should be replaced. How tires are used, how often they are used, and under what conditions they are used, all play a role in when tires should be replaced. This is another reason why it is a good idea to consult a professional every year.

3. Size Matters

There are multiple different types of RV’s, and there are multiple different types of tires that each of those RV’s may use, so in the case of RV tires: size DOES matter!

For example, RV trailer tires are going to be different from motorhome tires. And if you’ve got a truck

How to read tire size. Photo Credit: AnswerMeUp.com
How to read tire size. Photo Credit: AnswerMeUp.com

camper, RV truck tires are going to be different than motorhome tires. In addition to the tires, you have to pay attention to RV rims and RV wheel sizes.

The best RV trailer tires are not going to be rated as the best motorhome tires. Make sure you are buying the right tires for the right job!

4. Let’s Go Shopping!

The whole idea of having an RV is to be able to get out and use it, right?!?! Of course it is! So if you and your tire professional have determined it’s time for some new RV tires, you’ve got some decisions to make so that you can get back on the road!

There are several tire types, manufacturers and places you can buy tires. If time isn’t a factor and you are willing to let your RV sit while you do some research, it’s a good idea to do some research online.

An example of worn or weathered tires. Photo Credit: GetYourKicksRV.com
An example of worn or weathered tires. Photo Credit: GetYourKicksRV.com

You can research RV tires and wheels at websites like DiscountTire.com, TireRack.com and any of the tire manufacturer’s websites. These websites will give you various options on the types of tires available for your RV and pricing information as well.

RV tires and rims can be purchased at several online locations, and quite often if you are willing to wait for shipping you can find discount RV tires or even used RV tires that have a lot of life left in them.

Cheap RV tires are not always the best option, so it’s important to research the manufacture date of the tire as we described earlier. While you can certainly find discount motorhome tires that have never been used, if they were manufactured several years ago, they are probably not a safe buy.

Once you have identified the size and type of tire you would like, you can search around the internet for a better deal. RV tires for sale can be found at national tire chains, big box store chains, and local tire shops, but there is nothing wrong with buying RV tires online as long as you can identify the age of the tires you will be getting and if you don’t mind waiting for them to be shipped.

While you are researching, be sure to reach as many RV tire reviews as you can find. Understanding the experience that others have with a product is an important step. After all, tires are expensive.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be afraid to shop around. RV tire prices vary from online store to physical store, and can even vary from store to store within the same physical area.

5. Cover Up!

Remember in high school when you were ready to leave the house to go out with your friends after

RV tire covers. Photo Credit: Laguna Madre Recreational Products.
RV tire covers. Photo Credit: Laguna Madre Recreational Products.

spending hours getting ready and your parents yelled at you to “COVER UP!” Well the same advice should be heeded regarding your RV tires.

If you are going to spend the time and money to buy the best RV tires or the best motorhome tires, you

should take the proper steps to take care of them. Buying tire covers to protect your RV tires from heat, cold and the sun is an important investment.

Tire covers are easy to put on and take off of your RV and buying them to protect your investment is much cheaper than having to buy new tires because they have been damaged by the sun.

Another important aspect of understanding and taking care of your RV tires is to make sure you have the proper RV tire inflation.

You should check the tire pressure of your RV tires before each trip, each morning if you are on a multi-

RV tire pressure gauge. Photo Credit: Slime.com
RV tire pressure gauge. Photo Credit: Slime.com

day driving trip, or at least once a month if you aren’t using your RV often. It is important to check the pressure of your RV tires when they are cold, meaning that they haven’t been driven yet that day.

To find out what the ideal tire pressure is of your RV tires, consult the sidewall of your tires. The tire inflation recommendation will be listed with the letters PSI, which stands for Pounds per Square Inch.

A word of caution: Tire pressure recommendations may be different from what is listed on the side of your tire, depending on the load of your RV or motorhome, so you may need to consult your manufacturers manual for specific inflation guidelines.

RV tires are what help our RV’s get us where we want to go. Whether you are a full-time RV’er or a weekend-warrior, taking proper care of your RV tires is critical to making sure that you get to your destination and get there safely. As with most RV systems, a little attention to detail and proper maintenance can lead to a long and prosperous life for your RV tires.

Now get out in that driveway and check the age of your tires and don’t forget to share this article with your RV’ing friends to make sure their travels are safe and free of tire related distractions!

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