Before you hit the road for a long trip it is a good idea to check out your rig. This includes checking your tires. For most cars, tires last quite a long time which makes it easy to assume the same is true for RV tires. However, RV tires see much more wear and tear which can lead to them expiring much earlier than you think. So, how long do RV tires really last?
RV tires are made to be used regularly. They are a bit more sturdy than car tires since they will be used with heavier weights. The average lifespan of an RV tire ranges from three to six years depending on climate, maintenance, and usage.
Are you in the market for an RV or perhaps looking to replace your tires? If so, it makes sense to want the best tire for your buck. We break down everything you need to know about tire safety, longevity, and even the best TPMS systems for your RV. If you are looking for more information on RV tire maintenance, brands, and other tire tips, keep on reading.
How Long Are RV Tires Good For?
In general RV tires, travel trailer tires, and fifth wheel tires can last for as long as 6 years. There are caveats to this time frame that you should be aware of. The amount of usage will greatly affect the lifespan of the tires. The road conditions, weather, and even the RV, camper, or 5th wheel weight can also decrease the life expectancy of your tires.
Proper maintenance also plays a role in determining how much use you will be able to get out of your tires before they need to be replaced.
To extend the life of your tires, you should avoid speeding by driving at a steady pace. Many RV tires aren’t rated for speeds over 65mph, and when RV tires fail the results can be catastrophic. When an RV goes out of control, it is so much more difficult to recover than a standard size vehicle. Deadly rollovers are not uncommon when RV tires fail.
Avoiding bad roads, rocky off-road conditions and icy weather will also increase tire longevity. Covering your tires with RV tire covers, parking in protected areas, and maintaining proper air pressure will also extend the life of your RV tires.
Why Do RV Tires Fail?
One of the most dangerous situations when traveling in a recreational vehicle (RV) is tire failure.
There are many common causes for a tire blowout or failure even on new recreational vehicles including new and old tires that have sat idle for months at a time between uses coupled with the weight of these RV’s causing early tire adhesion failures and tire tread separations.
Some motorhomes come equipped with tires that are undersized for the gross weight of the vehicle.
And, finally some motorhome tires can also defective due to the design defects in not being manufactured correctly.
Tire blowouts can cause a tremendous amount of damage to your RV! Damaged propane tank, fiberglass damage, undercarriage damage are a few things.
How To Change an RV Tire?
Changing an RV tire is not much different than changing the tire on a car or truck. If you are in the middle of a trip and don’t have access to a professional garage for RVs, doing it yourself is the only option.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to changing your tires on your RV. Start by getting together all of the tools you will need to get the job done.
You will need:
- RV tire
- Tire wrench or lug wrench
- RV levelers
- RV jacks
Once you have everything together, you can change your tire. Here’s how to do it:
- Park in a safe, flat area with enough space to raise and repair your RV tire.
- Start by using your RV leveler and RV jacks to raise your rig off the ground. You only need to go high enough to allow the tire to spin around unimpeded.
- Next, use your tire wrench to take the lug nuts off of the tires. If you have TPMS sensors on your tires, make sure to remove them from the valves prior to removing your tire.
- Put the old or damaged tire to the side and then attach the new tire to your RV, 5th wheel or camper.
- Replace the lug nuts, tighten them to ensure they are secure, and then replace the TPMS sensors.
If you want a quick visual, watch this handy tutorial.
How Often To Replace RV Tires?
RV tires should be replaced every couple of years. Depending on your usage and the tire type, you should aim for replacement at the 4 1/2-year mark.
Tire blowouts are one of the main causes of RV road accidents. Maintaining proper inflation and replacing aged or worn tires are essential to preventing a blowout.
An overweight motorhome puts additional strain on the tow vehicle or the chassis increasing the chances of a tire blowout. The older your tires are, the higher the chance of experiencing a blowout will be. Also make sure you are well within your gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR), as well as the combined weight rating.
Tires on a recreational vehicle can be compared to a good pair of running shoes. When they are new and properly inflated, they offer a smooth ride and protection against road hazards. Over time the bottoms of shoes wear down with heavy usage, and the same is true for tires. RVs are also very heavy which adds extra stress on the tires.
To go a bit into more detail, it is important that you check your tire pressure at least once every 30 days. Regardless of rig type, you should rotate your tires every 6,000 miles. Check your treads every three to six months, once they reach 4/32, they should be replaced regardless of their age.
If you notice a bulge or damage to the sidewall, replace the tire immediately. Travel trailers and fifth-wheel tires can usually last a bit longer. However, it is important to remember that even when not in use on the road, they are still going to age. You should replace them at least every 5 years or 12,000 miles.
How Much Do RV Tires Cost?
RV tires are not cheap, especially if you are looking to invest in a good quality tire. RV tires are designed to carry massive weights, upwards of thousands of pounds.
Quality tires will start out at around $250 and can go as high as $900 per tire. 5th wheel tires and travel trailer tires are more affordable, however, they follow the same quality specifications as a regular RV tire. They can range in price from $150 to $350 per tire.
Why Use RV Tire Covers?
Proper maintenance and tire protection can help your RV tires last longer. The cost of RV tires is pretty high so it makes sense to protect your investment. In addition to extending the life of your tires, covering them will help prevent UV damage and environmental wear and tear.
If you plan to park your RV, travel trailer, or camper for more than a couple of days, it is important to protect your tires as efficiently as possible.
The main benefit is UV protection. The sun has the power to damage surfaces such as tires over time. The UV rays can lead to sidewall cracks in your tires. These cracks result in slow leaks and eventual tire failure.
The sun is not the only thing that can lead your tires to crack. Moisture such as snow, rain, fog, or general condensation can also be harmful. This moisture allows dust to stick to the rims and wheels and cause it to have dry rot.
This can lead to discoloration, rusting, and even oxidation of the tires of not corrected. There are not many critters that can damage an RV tire, but the last thing you want is for a wild animal to start chewing on your TMPS sensors or your tire valves. Covering the tires can protect them from curious critters who may accidentally damage sensitive parts of the RV tire.
RV tire covers come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Some affordable RV tire cover options are:
Best Budget Buy: eletecpro RV Tire Covers
- Elasticized back hem and buckle design
- Durable 600D Oxford clot, better than canvas and PVC
Most Durable: Explore Land Durable Tire Covers
- Fits all vehicle types
- Elastic cord with auto-lock design
- Weatherproof with UV coating
Best Dual Axle: Classic Accessories OverDrive
- Dual axle
- Slip-on fit
- UV and mildew resistant
When To Check Your Tire Pressure
Monitoring your RV tire pressure can ensure that you have a safe journey. It is also important to keep an eye on their pressure to help keep an eye on their functionality.
It is recommended that you check your tire pressure at least once a month, but for RVs, it is a good idea to install a monitor for constant measurement during active travel.
During idle times, the best time of the day to assess your tire pressure is in the morning when they are cold. You can also check the pressure at the end of the day after the tires have had several hours to cool down.
Friction from driving and heat from the sun will cause the internal temperature to rise which will give you an inaccurate tire pressure reading. A digital pressure gauge such as ( this one ) will give you a more accurate reading than a manual reader alone. Keep this in your glove box. Check your tire pressure often, particularly when travelling long distance. A change not only in temperature but also elevation can cause a change in tire pressure. It may be necessary to release or increase pressure throughout your journey.
Carrying a portable tire inflator is another must. The number one cause of RV tire blowouts is too little pressure. To adjust your tire pressure for your rig size as well as outside temperature and altitude an air compressor like the Viair air compressor makes the job easy to do.
Infrared thermal guns like ( this one) are also useful while out on the road since you can point at each tire during a rest stop and take note of any tires that are unusually hotter than others.
Do I Need a Tire Pressure Monitoring System for my RV?
There are a million things you need to pay attention to on the road when driving an RV. Aside from paying attention to other drivers, you also have to keep an eye on the road itself. Your passengers, the weather, and even your gas usage also take up some of your attention.
RVs are much larger and heavier than regular vehicles and one aspect you can avoid is the importance of their tires. Using a RV tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) for your RV, travel tailor, or 5th wheeler will allow you to avoid a tire blowout.
These systems keep an eye on the pressure and temperature in each tire and give you a live reading the entire time you are on the road. If your tires are too hot, or if their pressure is too high or too low, you will be alerted. This will give you a chance to pull over and correct the problem without risking a catastrophic accident.
Note: Under-inflation causes excess heat, and high heat causes tire failure.
While you technically can drive a rig without a TPMS unit, it is not responsible as an RV owner. Every RV’er should have a TPMS. There are a lot of affordable RV tire pressure monitoring systems on the market to choose from.
Some are simple and affordable while others offer a broad range of features at a higher price. Some of our suggestions for quality RV tire pressure monitoring systems are:
- Charging via Solar Power or USB
- Can Monitor Up to 8-10 Tires
- 6 Alarm Modes
- Big LCD Screen Auto Backlight
- Power Saving Mode
Best Value: Tymate
- Cap sensors
- Solar power & USB charging
- 6 external sensors
- Displays pressure and temperature simultaneously
Smart System: TireMinder
- Compatible with iPhone, iPad and android devices
- Constant monitoring for high/low pressure, blowouts and temperature
- Monitors up to 22 tires (0-232 psi)
How To Install a Tire Pressure Monitoring System
The Best RV Tires Brands
Hitting the road in an RV is a great adventure that many people enjoy. You can take many of the comforts of home with you on the road while also extending the limits of your travel.
While you can save money on travel and hotels when you take an RV, there are still regular features that need proper maintenance. One of these features is your tires. With the right RV tires your ride will be smooth and your trip enjoyable.
Once your first set of tires is up for replacement, you may be wondering what brand of tire to pick. There are a lot of great brands and tires out there, though the sheer number of options can make choosing difficult.
Motorhome tires are one of the few places you should never cut corners on, so we have an easy-to-follow list that will help you get started. Here are some of the best RV tire brands on the market for all RV types and for every budget.
- Goodyear – This tire brand is one of the most well-known in the industry. They make domestic tires, RV tires, and even commercial tires that are built to last.
- Boto Tyres – This brand is known for making high-quality commercial, truck, and RV tires. You may have to buy them from a specialty dealer, but their tough construction is perfect for RVs who spend a lot of time on the road.
- Michelin – This brand is as popular as Goodyear and also one of their main competitors. They make solid tires for RVs, 5th wheels, travel trailers, and many other vehicles. They are not the best for snow, but for every other climate, this brand is a solid choice.
- Bridgestone– As an iconic tire dealer this brand is bound to make our list. They offer a robust selection of tires made for all different types of weather and usages. From commercial trucks to RVs and sports vehicles, there is sure to be something from this brand to meet your needs.
Get The Best Ride Possible In Your RV with Superior Tires
RVs are a great way to explore while still maintaining your regular creature comforts. With the right RV tires and an efficient TPMS unit, your travels will be stress-free and enjoyable. Make sure to clean your tires, cover them when not in use, and replace them when needed. This will keep you and others safe on the open road.