Welcome to “Ask an RV Expert,” the advice column where RVillage experts answer your questions about common RV maintenance problems.
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Dear RVillage Expert: I just bought tires for my rig, is there anything I can do to extend the life of my new tires? —Jim R.
What goes bald, demands regular attention, and always comes camping with you? Well, besides your husband, it’s your RV tires. All jokes aside, maintaining your RV tires is one of the most crucial elements of being an RV owner.
Well-maintained tires not only keep you from being stranded roadside with a flat, but they can help you avoid dangerous and costly blowouts. Whether you’re traveling in a driveable or towing a trailer, regular upkeep and maintenance are needed to keep your tires rolling down the road without issue.
From tire inspections to RV tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) here are a few things you can do, along with some equipment recommendations, to ensure your next trip doesn’t fall flat.
Inspections. Before and after every trip, you should inspect your RV tires. This means looking at your tread wear, inspecting sidewalls for punctures and cracks, and checking your tire pressure. You can use a tire depth gauge to easily check your treading. For longer trips, make sure you perform these inspections before you leave each destination.
Proper pressure. If you’ve inspected your tires and the pressure is out of range, don’t wait to correct it. A portable or fixed air compressor can ensure your tires are always correctly inflated. Proper inflation not only helps keep you safe, but it can prolong the life of your tires and optimize your gas mileage.
Weight limits. Know what your rig’s maximum load limit is and stick to it. The tires on your RV are meant to handle a certain amount of weight. When you go over this number, you put unwanted stress on your tires which can cause them to wear quicker and even blow. Also, ensure that you evenly distribute the weight in your rig and that one side isn’t more weighed down than the other.
Cleaning. Like other systems on your RV, keeping your tires clean can help extend their lifespan. Wash off dirt, debris, and other grime and chemicals that are picked up along the roadway to prevent wearing, especially on your sidewalls. You should clean your tires after every camping trip and give them a thorough cleaning before storing your rig for the colder months.
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Coverage. UV rays, extreme temperatures, and rain and snow can all take a toll on your tires. If you park your rig for an extended period or store it, consider purchasing tire covers to add a layer of protection.
Monitoring. Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) help you keep a close eye on your tires, even when driving down the road. These systems use valve cap transmitters to track the pressure of each tire. You can observe the pressure from a display while parked or driving. Most systems allow you to track 10 or more tires simultaneously so that you can monitor tires on both larger rigs and tow vehicles.
Rotate and replace. Your RV’s tires should be rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles, or at least once per year even if you travel under that mileage range. Regular rotation can help prolong the life of your tires, but when it’s time to replace them, don’t procrastinate. New tires can be costly, but traveling with tires in need of replacement or repair can be dangerous for you and other drivers.
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