Many times RV owners overlook the importance of protecting their RV tires because they can’t physically see major wear marks or cracks and sometimes don’t know what to look for. There are many reasons for damage due to environment, under inflation, over inflation and the age of the tires.
Having a tire fail on your RV can be very dangerous and cause extensive damage giving way for costly and expensive repairs.
What to look for: Because the tires are composed of rubber it is normal for tires to degrade over time but because of added exposure to things like excessive heat, harmful ozone and UV rays this process is accelerated. When the chemical bonds that make tires plyable break down the tire begins to turn grey and lose its flexibility. Many times you will notice the tires has turned grey and looks dry. Cracks will appear on the sidewalls where the tires are the thinnest. When looking at your RV tires pay special attention to the sidewalls where the majority of the dry rotting occurs. Many times you will notice cracks on the tires which indicates the tire has been affected and will need to be replaced.
If you are storing your RV or leaving it exposed to the weather make sure to protect your tires by following the next 4 tips.
1.) Regularly check tire pressure. First find the recommended tire pressure in your owners/service manual. Use a tire gauge to measure the tire pressure and then either add air if low or deflate if over inflated.
*Always a good idea to have an portable air compressor. A very highly recommended heavy duty RV air compressor that is a much higher quality air compressor than most other is the VIAIR 400 RV automatic portable compressor kit
2.) Apply a UV protectant or ozone blocker treatment. You can purchase protectant sprays that you can easily apply to your tires blocking the harmful rays of the sun. Many automobile and RV owners think that ArmourAll will do the trick but research shows that it has been proven to hurt the tires more than help.
3.) Use tire covers- This is an inexpensive way to protect your tires from the damaging effects of the sun and weather. They come in a variety of materials from vinyl to canvas and can be easily found online and installed after first measuring the diameter of the tires or looking at the tire numbers.
4.) Use your RV- Tires are designed to be used and will age much faster and dry out if not used regularly. If storing your RV for an extended period of time make sure to at least move the vehicle once every couple months at the least. This helps the sidewalls from cracking due to sitting in one place for too long.
If you are unsure and want to know the year of manufacture on your tires check the sidewalls for the DOT number which tells you the week of the year and the last two digits identify the year. The tire industry sets the standard for a maximum of 10 years but many tire companies suggest changing them every six-years.
Remember that before each Trip, do a thorough inspection of your tires. Check for cracks in the sidewalls and if your not sure if the tire is safe take it to a professional tire dealer where they have authorized technicians. Safety is king when driving a RV and to avoid undesired damage to your RV inspect them regularly and follow these simple steps to prolong the life of your tires and keep your RV on the road.