You’re about to hit the road on a long, cross-country road trip. You check the tread on your tires and everything looks good. So, you’re good to go right? Well, not so fast. How long do RV tires last and still operate safely? Not as long as you might think!
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How Long Do RV Tires Last?
To get to the bottom of the question, “How long do RV tires last?” we need to consider several things.
People usually change car tires when they have a certain amount of wear. Once the tread has worn down, your tires aren’t as grippy, won’t stop as well, and are more prone to slipping. Obviously, this can be a safety hazard. But with RV tires, wear is just one consideration because RVs usually don’t get driven as many miles as a car.
You could have plenty of treads left on your RV tires and still need to replace them. That is because a huge (and often overlooked) factor for how long RV tires last is their age. You should replace your RV tires at least every 5 to 8 years, even if they haven’t seen a lot of miles.
How Old Is Too Old for RV Tires?
Although most people say you can run your tires for up to 6 years, we think it is best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation. Some will be as low as 5 years, while others could last 10. Depending on the tire size and what materials the manufacturers use, the tires will “age out” at different times.
Why Should You Replace RV Tires Every Few Years?
Maybe you could squeeze a few more years out of your RV tires. But the older your tires are, the higher your risk of a blowout. Your RV tires are one of the most important parts of your RV. Think of them as the shoes of the RV. They support and carry your rig (a.k.a. a small house) down the road, so they do a lot of work. If not properly maintained, they can be one of the biggest safety risks.
Considering how large and heavy an RV is, the thought of a blowout at high speeds is downright terrifying. It could total your RV and kill you and others if the worst were to happen. It is scary stuff, but it is so important to keep in mind.
Because the tires become much less safe with age, we recommend replacing the tires at 5 years if you do not have manufacturer data that says otherwise. At the 5-year point, you get plenty of use out of your tires while maximizing safety.
Your RV tires may last a shorter amount of time if you drive frequently and wear them out. If they have a lot of wear or any sidewall damage or bulges, replace them immediately. A few hundred dollars isn’t worth the astronomical costs of life and property that can result from having bad tires.
Another factor in how long RV tires last is related to hidden dangers. You may see some of these, but others can easily escape notice.
RV tires frequently spend a lot of time exposed to the elements both at RV parks and in storage. All this time outside exposed to the elements can lead to UV damage and/or dry rot. Both are recipes for disaster when you hit the next bump in the road.
We highly recommend that RV tires be covered to keep direct sun off them when not being used. UV light from the sun breaks down compounds in the rubber and will age your tires even faster.
How to Find Out How Old Your RV Tires Are
If you bought your RV 3 years ago, that doesn’t necessarily mean your RV tires are only 3 years old. So how on earth are you supposed to know how long your RV tires will last?! Luckily, there is a pretty simple trick for determining tire age.
Your tires will have a code on the side that gives you this information if you know how to read it. The code will start with the letters “DOT.” After that, there are 4 numbers. At first glance, these numbers may appear to mean nothing, but these are the key to knowing your tire’s exact age.
Here’s how to read them: The first 2 numbers are the week that your RV tires were made. If it says 32, that means they were made in the 32nd week of the year or the beginning of August. And the second 2 numbers tell you the year. So, if it says 18, they were made in 2018. Therefore, “DOT3218” means your tires were made in August 2018.
RV Tire Safety Tips
Besides replacing your tires every 5 to 10 years, there are some other simple things you can do to stay safe. Upon departure and arrival of any road trip, thoroughly inspect all your tires. Make sure the tread is good, and there are no bulges or gouges in the side walls.
Proper RV Tire Inflation
Another RV tire safety tip is to ensure proper inflation. You need to inflate your tires to the appropriate PSI without being under or over-inflated. Both extremes can cause a host of issues.
To ensure proper tire pressure, you may need to inflate or deflate your tires even over the course of a trip. This is especially true if you experience dramatic temperature or elevation changes. We highly recommend getting a portable air compressor made by Viair. These are very rugged and reliable systems, specially designed for RVs.
- 12 VOLT - 150PSI Max Working Pressure, engine must be running...
- 2.3CFM Free Flow @ 0 PSI, Power Cord: 8' Air Hose: 60' 12-Volt
- Powered direct to the car battery with alligator clamps, Duty...
At the very least, check your tires before and after every road trip with a tire pressure gauge.
- ▲Check out our VIDEO on the left side and take a quick tour of...
- Designed to maintain correct tire pressure, reduce tire wear and...
- Nozzle easily forms a seal with the valve stem on schrader...
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Installing a tire pressure monitor is also a smart choice. That way you know the exact PSI of your RV tires at all times, even while driving. If you puncture a tire while driving, you can sometimes save it if you don’t drive too far on it. However, if you don’t know you are getting a flat, you can end up destroying the tire completely. Or, if you are getting a flat on a dual tire axle, it could cause a blowout on the second tire.
— Insert links to TPMS.
Another way to protect your tires is to minimize the impact of the elements. This means keeping them out of freezing or extremely hot temperatures. As mentioned earlier, you can also protect your RV tires to make them last longer by using a tire cover to block out damaging UV rays.
Another simple and basically free way to ensure tire safety is to clean your tires. Using soap and water to wipe off dirt and debris will help you see any issues that may be hiding under the grime. You should do this at the end of each trip and before you put your RV into storage for the season.
So how long do RV tires last? Well, it depends. But we recommend following the manufacturer’s recommendation or changing out your RV tires at least every 5 years (and sooner if needed). This gives you the most bang for your buck while keeping you safe. Following some simple safety practices will also help your tires stay safe for longer. When the fate of your RV rests squarely on your tires, it is worth the time and effort to do things right.
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