RV Tire Maintenance

  Today, the term RV refers to motor homes and slide-in campers for pickup trucks. The tires used on these vehicles are exposed to a greater variety of conditions than automobile tires. Often the tires are not driven on for an extended time period; and when they are in service, the tires are used at or near maximum loads during hot weather.

Tire Aging and Wear
Tires for recreation vehicles are often subjected to infrequent use over a relatively long life cycle. This brings into play the normal, natural aging of a tire as well as ozone damage. Together, these factors may cause the rubber to crack -- especially in the tire's sidewall. Part of your maintenance program should be to visit a tire professional before any long trip and have this condition checked. Tires that are over five years old should be inspected regularly because cracking gets progressively worse as time goes on.

There are a number of factors important in getting the best wear from your tires. First, be aware that a tire's tread life is directly related to the load it must carry; keep this in mind, and consider it when reviewing the service you have received from your tires. If your tires are subjected to maximum loads at all times they will wear faster. Conversely, if you carry very light loads, you can expect longer tread life from your tires. The relationship between the air pressure you maintain in the tires and resultant tire wear is critical. Refer to our Air Pressure section for the discussion on RV tires. Also, rotating your RV tires to maintain even wear is important.

Tire Care During RV Parking and Storage
If you are going to park your RV for an extended time period, make sure the vehicle is as level as possible. This helps avoid tire overload, which can occur due to weight transfer. If your RV does not have built-in leveling devices, use blocks to support the low wheel positions. Take extreme care when blocking tires so that they are fully supported across the entire contact patch. In the case of dualies, both tires must be supported to evenly distribute the load. Improper tire blocking can result in premature sidewall fatigue and tire failure.

When you put your RV out of service at the end of the season, it is a good idea to block up the axles so that the tires bear no load during this period. Also cover the tires to protect them from direct sunlight and ozone aging. Remember that air loss will occur over time; check and refill your tires to prescribed pressures when service resumes.

If you plan on removing your RV tires for the season, store them in a clean, cool, dry and well ventilated area. Cover the tires with an opaque, waterproof material such as a plastic tarp, if you store them outside. Don't stack the tires so high that the bottom tire loses its shape. At the beginning of the next season, when remounting the tires, position them on the hub correctly (be aware of locating pins that are on most dualie wheels), and also torque the lug nuts according to manufacturer specifications.

 

 

           
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Email RVDoctor@GreenCountryRVDoctor.com