Do not neglect your RV’s tires! While they may be easy to overlook, they carry the weight of your world on them. If you take care of your tires, they’ll take good care of you. Proper maintenance will save you money and keep you and your family safe as you cruise down the highway on your next big adventure. Use these RV tire maintenance tips to keep your tires in tip-top shape and you enjoying the beauty of America through your RV windows.
Have your wheels properly aligned on a regular basis. Many things can cause your wheels to become unaligned, including potholes, curbs, and objects that you hit in the road. If the tires are not aligned properly, they will wear unevenly and more quickly. Overheating of the tires can occur, leading to a possible blow out or fire! Take a close look at your tires and the wear that you see on them. Is it spread evenly across the tread, or is it concentrated more in one area? If you see a feathered look, then you have what is called a toe problem. The tires should face forward in a straight manner. You have a toe problem if the front of your tire points in or out instead. If you notice that one side of a tire is worn more than the other, then you have what is called a camber problem. Camber is what keeps them standing up straight. If the camber is off, then they will lean either in or out, putting more pressure on one side of the tire. This uneven wear can cause weak spots in the tires that can eventually blow. The most effective way to check tire alignment is by getting your RV up on a machine at a tire shop. This will help determine if they’re aligned or not and how much wear you have left on your current tires.
Rotation & Balancing
Having your tires rotated is very important, especially if you have a motorhome. Each tire is taking on pressure and the pressure can differ based on where it’s located on the RV. If you have a motorhome, the drive tires experience more wear than the rest of them. By regularly rotating them, it encourages even wear of the tires.
As the tires wear, the weight of the rubber itself changes and causes the tire to become off balanced. This can cause excessive sway or shimmying. Having the tires balanced will allow weight to be added to spots that are lighter to keep the wheels spinning smoothly.
The correct amount of air pressure in your tires allows for the load on the tire to be evenly distributed across the tread. If the pressure is too high, all the wear will be on the center of the tire and the treads will wear down faster in the center. If a tire is under inflated, the weight will bear down on the outer edges of the tire and wear that tread faster. Incorrect pressure can affect steering and control as well as stopping and gas mileage. Ensuring that you have the proper inflation can help save you gas money and make your RV easier to handle. Check the manufacturer’s specifications on both your tires and your RV to find the proper pressure amount. Check the pressure often and keep in mind that different conditions will affect the pressure in the tires. Altitude and temperature will both change the pressure, so check them often if you’re experiences these fluctuations while traveling.
When you have your rig parked for a long period of time, or in storage for the winter, you need to take precautions to protect your tires. Ensure that your tires are not in the sun. Sun can dry out and rot your tires, causing them to crack and become weak. If you are unable to find a place to park your RV where it will not leave your tires in direct sunlight, get something to cover them. You can purchase actual tire covers, or use something like a board to lean up against them and block the sun’s rays. You also want to make sure that you have your tires properly inflated before parking it for a long period of time. Although the rig won’t be moving, it’s still good to ensure that the weight is distributed evenly across the tires while it sits. Move the rig around every few months to keep the tires from cracking or ending up with a flat spot from the constant pressure from sitting stagnant.
When To Get New Tires
Inspect your tires for a few areas of concern. Look at the tread. It will eventually wear down enough over time that it won’t grip the road and you’ll be at risk of hydroplaning or skidding. Test your tread with this trick: Insert a penny into the tread with the heads side facing you with Lincoln upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires. The tread depth needs to be sufficient enough that it will keep you from hydroplaning and will still grip the road. The penny is a perfect tool to see exactly how much you have left!
Inspect your tires for cracks. When the wall of a tire begins to crack, it weakens and with every bump you’re closer and closer to disaster, such as a blowout. If you find cracks in the side of the tire, it’s time to replace them. Even if the cracks are small, it’s not worth the gamble.
Taking care of your RV’s tires is just one way to ensure that you have a safe, enjoyable trip. There are a lot of downsides to poor tire performance, including everything from lower gas mileage to a severe accident or fire. Take care of your tires and they will take care of your family, as well as everyone traveling around you. For tips on how to handle and drive your RV, click here!
Have you experienced an accident that was caused by worn-out tires? Or do you have a tire maintenance tips you’d like to share with us? Tell us about it in the comments below!