How to properly care for your RV, campervan or motorhome tires
Campervans and RVs are a fun way to explore, and cost effective way to travel as often as possible. Travel vehicle owners know that purchasing an RV, campervan or class B motorhome means gaining freedom and flexibility when traveling.
One of the key ways to insure your next road trip goes smoothly is to properly maintain all parts of your vehicle — especially the “foundation” of your home on wheels: tires.
Having a good working knowledge of proper tire care can help save you money in down the road and prevent you from being stranded on the side of the road because a tire blew out. Whether you travel for months at a time or use your RV or motorhome for just a few weeks a year, having a system for checking tires is key to maintaining your vehicle’s long-term performance and safety.
Familiarize yourself with these basic tire care tips:
1. Properly inflate your tires
Tire pressure can change more dramatically with your RV/motorhome compared to your SUV or sedan — particularly when all of your favorite belongings (and people) are loaded inside. A common mistake that many campervan and RV owners make is actually over inflating their tires.
First, locate each tire’s PSI (pounds per square inch) number. This number can typically be found on the inside of your tire and is the maximum amount of pressure your tires should have. Tire inflation pressure should be adjusted to handle the tire carrying the heaviest load, and all tires on the axle should be adjusted to this pressure.
|Bonus tip: Download Goodyear’s load/inflation chart.|
2. Check your tread
Checking the wear and tear on your tires regularly is a must. The conditions of the road and frequency of travel will play a factor in how frequently you will need to change your tires.
Start by looking at the grooves in the tire. If your RV or motorhome weighs over 10,000 lbs. (Class C and Class A), you should have tread of about 4/32”. If your campervan weighs below 10,000 lbs. (Class B), the tread should be around 2/32”.
|Bonus tip: Stick a penny with the picture of Abraham Lincoln pointing towards the tire. If the entire head of the President is showing, the tread is too low and the tire should be replaced.|
3. Check the date
RV and motorhome tires generally have a 10-year lifespan. It is important to check the date your vehicle’s tires were made, a stamp known as the DOT ID mark. This mark is typically located on the tire’s sidewall. This stamp will have circles containing the date and year that your tires were manufactured. We recommend writing down this date in a journal, even on a newer motorhome or RV. Sometimes the manufacturer will choose tires that predate the year the vehicle was made.
4. Know about weight ratings
Get to know your vehicle’s weight ratings. When your RV or motorhome has exceeded its weight rating, the lifespan of the tires will ultimately be shortened. In the best case scenario, weighing down your vehicle too much can result in lower fuel efficiency; worst case, it can cause a tire blowout.
|Bonus tip: Avoid over-packing! Need some help? Check out our article: How to Properly Pack your Campervan and What to Bring.|
The best way to know if your RV or motorhome is weight compliant for your tires is to get it properly weighed on a scale. Before you go, though, here are a few weight acronyms you should know:
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). This recommended number is the maximum weight your vehicle is rated for. It includes the total weight of your vehicle, passengers, cargo, and all liquids (including gas in various tanks). If your vehicle weighs less than this number, you’re good to go and under the limit. If your motorhome or RV weighs more, then you’re putting additional wear and tear your vehicle as well as putting your safety at risk.
- Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR). This rating pertains to the way weight is distributed among tires. Each axle has a certain weight threshold it can handle. The key is to evenly distribute your cargo so that one axle isn’t over-weighted. Divide your GVWR by two to find out how much each axle can hold.
- Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW). UVW, or “dry weight,” measures the weight of the vehicle without cargo, passengers, additional equipment, and water/gas tanks.
- Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC). This is the maximum weight your vehicle can hold after people and cargo have been loaded.
- Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR): If you plan on towing a trailer, this is an important number to be aware of. This is the maximum weight your vehicle, plus the trailer you’re towing, is safely rated to reach.
5. Beware of UV rays and ozone
It turns out that ultraviolet (UV) rays and ozone particles in the air can contribute to accelerated tire damage. If you live in an area prone to smog and pollution, or your vehicle is in direct and powerful sunlight, your tires may need to be replaced earlier than usual. Purchasing tire covers or removing them from the vehicle when your RV or motorhome is parked for long periods of time can help fight against this kind of damage.
6. Avoid cleaning chemicals
It’s a good idea to keep your tires clean and free of debris. But you should avoid using any powerful cleaning agents on your tires, as these chemicals can actually eat away at the exterior tire wall. Avoid over-shining your tires, as this cause damage as well.
7. Rotate your tires regularly
Occasionally rotating your tires is important for maintaining their lifespan and performance. Having your RV or campervans tires rotated on a regular basis helps evenly distribute wear and prevent an unexpected blow-out.
Take good care of your motorhome RVs tires and they’ll take care of you! We hope these tips give you some ideas on how to properly care for your travel vehicle. For other motorhome maintenance tips, continue reading our related articles: