There is nothing much worse or more dangerous than neglecting the tires on your recreational vehicle. Tires are the only thing between tons of moving metal and the roads you travel.
Proper tire maintenance is an important safety function often neglected. The importance of properly maintaining your tires cannot be overemphasized. Safety in acceleration, braking, steering, and cornering all rely on the tires’ relatively small contact area with the road surface. In addition, tires also play a fundamental role in the suspension systems of RVs.
With such an important role, it is essential that tires are properly maintained and regular checks are carried out. With the correct care and attention your tires will help to ensure you arrive safely at your destination, without disruption, and with minimal cost.
Tire safety should be at the top of your list, so here’s what you need to know.
Never overload your RV. Exceeding the GVWR is one of the leading causes of RV tire failure.
Ensure that you have the correct tire pressures for the loaded weight of your vehicle.
The load on each individual tire will probably be different, but having tires of different pressures on the same axle is extremely dangerous. The one with the greatest load on it should be inflated to the appropriate level.
The practice of under-inflating the tires to achieve a smoother ride is quite common among RVers— and, yet, the proof is lacking. But, it will cause the handling to suffer and create premature and irregular wear to the tires. Approximately 90 percent of tire failures are a result of poor inflation levels.
An underinflated tire will overheat, wear unevenly, reduce fuel economy, affect steering quality and road handling,
An overinflated tire reduces traction, produces poor steering, affects breaking ability, decreases the tires’ surface contact area, and gives a hard ride.
Ensure that you use matching tires across the axle. They should be of the same size and all radial ply or all bias ply, not a combination. They should also have the same tread pattern with about the same amount of wear.
Mismatching tires can cause the larger tire to lose its tread more quickly and wear unevenly due to the heavier load it carries. This can lead to premature deterioration of the tire and the increased likelihood of failure.
To ensure good driver control, and to encourage vehicle stability, tires with different tread patterns, different sizes, and mismatched internal constructions should never be mixed.
There are several factors that determine the longevity of a tire. First, usage in hotter weather can reduce the lifespan of the tire due to increased exposure to atmospheric ozone. Ozone can also be produced by electrical generators.
Parking for extended periods can seriously impact how long they last. Regular usage will keep the tire in good condition and extend their life.
Regularly check for sidewall cracking. This is common in all makes of RV tires and occurs naturally due to exposure to air, heat, and the UV radiation in sunlight. It can also appear due to extended periods of storage and inactivity, or by cleaning them with petroleum or alcohol based products.
Tires should be replaced when the cracks are more than 2/32 -inch deep or when the steel/fabric internal layer of the sidewall is visible.
If the depth of your tire’s tread is less than 6/32 of an inch, its traction efficiency and handling ability will be severely diminished. Contact your tire manufacturer for advice if your tread has reached or is below this depth. When tread goes below 4/32 of an inch, the tire must be replaced.
RV tires usually age out before they wear out. The accepted average lifespan of an RV tire is five to seven years according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
By following these simple guidelines, you’ll keep your tires in better condition and you’ll avoid spending money to replace them before they wear out or age out.
Speed was high
Weather was hot
Tires were thin
X marks the spot