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.
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.
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