Motor Home RV Tires

Motor-home RV tires are part of your safety.  They are designed and manufactured to fit Class A, B and C recreational vehicles as well as towing trailers.

Understanding RV Tires

Just like your car tires, your RV tires will also need some dose of our knowledge, care and maintenance efforts. 

As we are using our car on a daily basis, we are quite well “tuned” to its maintenance needs.

This may not be the case of our RV because usually it is used only for summer-time vacation. 

That is why it is important to have some kind of checkup list to go through before we take our RV on the road. And let’s make it clear - tires should be on the top of the list because they are responsible for your security (and peaceful sleeps).

Let’s make it clear from the start – the tires of your RV motor-home have to accomplish much more difficult task than your regular car tires. The main difference – the weight of typical car in the range of about 3000+ lbs is nothing compared to the “gorilla-like” 30,000 lbs motor-home. On top of that and in difference to the regular car - you will load your motor-home with a lot of additional “stuff” for comfortable vacations. And to make it worst – it is almost sure that the weight distribution between axles and wheels will be far from an ideal “equilibrium”.

So the tires will definitely ‘feel” the pain and you have to make sure, they can take it! The bottom line is - RV tires are some of the most important parts of your RV. 

What you should know about RV motor-home tires according to Michelin

What adds to the problem with RV tires is our misconception that the main challenge to their durability is the millage. Typically tires’ wear can be estimated based on the depth of the tread. These days all modern tires have built-in “wear-bars” making it easy even for inexperienced drivers to see if they are approaching the “end of their life”.  But this is mostly true regarding car tires. In the case of RV, an extra but unfortunately “less-visible” aging factor is also “time”.

Simply speaking even when the RV is stored on the parking lot, weather elements (exposure to sun, rain, freezing temperatures, snow etc.. but also ozone) altogether contribute to the aging process.  As the result – with passing time, even “visually sound” tires may reach the end of their safety lifetime. It does not happen often to our car tires, due to our driving habits (and frankly, necessity in most cases), but it may happen to your RV tires. The time limit for good quality RV tires is usually set to 7 to 8 years, but definitely for the safety reasons even never used tires after 10 years on the shelf cannot go on the road!

The year when the tire was manufactured is stamped on the tire’s sidewall. For tires manufactured starting from the year 2000, the corresponding string of characters starts with DOT (Department of Transportation) and includes four digits representing the week (first two digits) and the year of production (last two digits). For example DOT 2302 means that the tire was manufactured during the 23rd week of 2002 (in this case the 2nd week of June 2002).

When checking the RV tires you should pay attention to the “wear pattern” on the tread. The uniform wear across the tread is a confirmation that your RV has good alignment and the wear is just the expected result of millage.

If you observe the skew (non-uniformity) in the wear towards one side of the tire, you may have to check alignment of your RV’s suspension to prevent accelerated wear of your tires. The tire rotation is a good and well-known practice. It will not cure the alignment problem, but certainly may extend tires’ lifetime. Any other wear pattern along the tread may be the result of poor balancing of the corresponding wheel and/or driving style like for example hard braking (if no ABS), rough road surface (huge pothole  or bump at high speed) etc…

Other factors – like off-road driving is an extra challenge to the tires, but this will rather cause visible “physical” damage to them (cuts, cracks, bulges, nails… ).

Right air pressure is another factor determining the lifetime of tires and the safety of your driving. When you check the pressure use the professional quality gauge (cheap “gadgets” often show “weather” rather than the internal air pressure so please -do not save money on the safety features!

The manufacturer’s suggested tire air pressure is determined by the weight of your RV (car). You are the only one who knows this number, because it is the weight of the fully loaded RV. The numbers on the tire’s sidewall determine only the maximum values for a given tire. The “right” air pressure value corresponds to the real conditions: weight of your fully loaded RV and if possibly the climate zone (for example hot south temperatures or colder ones typical for northern territories (Northern Canada, Alaska etc…).

When measuring the tires’ pressure, do it always on cold tires (before driving and when they were not exposed to the sun).  Keep in mind that high temperature increases the internal pressure!

Please note that over- and underinflated tires will wear faster as well as will decrease the safety of driving (poor handling, reduced traction and braking ability etc….) not even mentioning decreased fuel economy.
To help you with right numbers, Michelin made available an online table of air-pressure versus load for their RV tires at www.michelinrvtires.com

The bottom line is clear – check the state of your RV tires including the Spare One, before you go on the road. Do they need to be replaced? Do they need more air in them? When was the last time they were rotated?
These are all questions you should be asking yourself. The tires are a key component to your vehicle after all without them it won’t go, plain and simple. So take care of your tires and you can expect that your tires will take care of you as well.

RV Tire Protection

Regardless if you are taking your RV on the road or keeping it in storage, tires are also aging due “{environmental’ factors – mainly presence of Ozone and UV radiation. 

Manufacturers protect tires from UV by adding to them carbon black (BTW - that is why tires are black).  Atoms of carbon act as an UV absorber preventing it to penetrate tire’s polymers as this will degrade the strength of the rubber.  However typical UV absorbers are gradually “used-up” by the process so at some time they are not able to provide required protection against UV radiation.  The visual effect – the tire (rubber) changes its color from dark black to grey! If nothing is done, with time micro-cracks will appear on the sidewalls and then they will grow longer and deeper.

  Similarly, waxes are added to protect tires from destructive influence of ozone. Constant exposure to ozone neutralizes mentioned additives at the surface of the tire so the “rubber” becomes more vulnerable. Strangely as it may seem to be at first, the dynamic stress (flexing) due to the rotation of tires on the road allows for “migration” of waxes from the inner layers to the surface of the tire. This process called “blooming” helps to “restore” tire’s protection against the ozone. However in stored/unused/spare tires the “blooming” effect does not occur. As a result by the time tire’s surface will lose its protection and rubber will start to degrade.

By using extra covers to protect tires from direct UV exposure as well as applying good protective products you can offset to some extent these so called “dry-rotting” effects and extend the life of your RV tires! One of the best tire protection products against such aging is 303 Aerospace Protectant. Sold in form of the spray it is easy absorbed by tire’s sidewalls offering extremely effective UV and ozone protection barrier.

RV Storage

Some surfaces may accelerate tires’ aging during prolonged storage.

The ideal solution will be to put your RV on the blocks, removing this way the weight from the tires. 

But for many of us it may be too difficult to implement.

That is why manufacturers suggest “easy” half-solutions like for example placing a “water” and “surface” barriers between the tires and the storage surface. 

It can be a sheet of plastic, plywood or even a piece of cardboard (in the dry garage) that will do the job!

Do not forget to clean tires (as the matter of fact you should clean the whole RV) before storing it for the winter (or any long-term period)! It is always a good practice that actually pays off.  Soft brush and water with soap is the best and cheapest solution. Do not use any products containing petrol, silicone and alcohol to clean tires; they will actually accelerate the deterioration of the rubber!

RV Tires Storage tips:

a)    Do not store tires on the greasy, oily and wet areas
b)    Do not store tires close to electric engines (they generate ozone!)
c)    Keep tires out of direct sun exposure
d)    Raise tires above the storage surface if possible

Check Goodyear's advices: Tire wear, care and wheel alignment

Replacing tires:

If you bought the new RV, then the parameters stamped on the original tires (size, type, etc…) are the best guidance for purchasing the replacement ones. However it is still a good practice to check manufacturer’s recent recommendations and offers because most likely newer (and theoretically better) models of tires will be available.
What you need to know when buying new tires for your RV is:  model, production year and weight of your RV.  Your dealer will find right tires for you.

What may help is to know some (or all) of the following:

GAWR  - Gross Axle Weight Rating: how much of weight can support each axle of your  motor-home (front or rear).

GVWR – Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (this is maximum weight of the fully loaded vehicle with passengers.

GCWR – Gross Combined Weight Rating including your fully loaded vehicle and extra towed trailer.

RV Tires Manufacturers.

Michelin is one of the most recognizable and trusted brands for all kind of tires. They have specially designed tires for RV Motorhomes. More you can find at: Michelin RV Tires

Goodyear is another renowned RV tire manufacturer providing not only large selection of good quality tires but also a lot of learning material and tips as listed below.

Find more about Goodyear RV Tires



Visitor's story......

If you bought your mobile home new, then your know you have peace for some time (well, you paid for it so you deserve it).

However if you bought a 2nd-hand motor-home or you used it already for extensive trips, it may be time to check your tires and look for a set of new ones.

Whether you have a luxury Class A motor coach, travel trailer or a pop-up camper you can get motor home RV tires online.

Your local Goodyear or Michelin tire dealer most likely doesn’t stock motor home RV tires but they should be able to order them for you. If you are lucky enough to live near an RV Superstore or an RV dealer there will likely be a place you can get RV tires or at least they will be able to direct you to a dealer.

One inexpensive and easy way to prolong the life of your tires is to purchase tire covers. You can get a mobile home RV tire cover with an American flag, cartoon character and other neat designs, as well as solid black or white covers.

The kind of tires you buy depends on the type of RV you have and the weight of your fully loaded motor home (clothes, food, fuel, water tanks, etc.).

Most tire stores can give you a tire chart that shows inflation pressures and load information for each size and type of tire the company sells.

Let's see what Michelin can tell us about RV tires....

You can also go on line and print these charts and information about RV tire care and maintenance. A motor home RV tire is specifically designed to carry the weight distribution of your motor coach. So it isn’t a good idea to use any other type even if it is the same size.

Both Goodyear RV tire and Michelin RV tire companies have tire care and information articles on their websites. The internet brochures are about 14 pages and are chock full of useful information and tips to help us keep the tires on our motor homes in optimal condition.

Here at Online Rving we strongly recommend the use of tire covers when your motor home is not in use.

They protect the tires from sun and UV damage which can cause the tires to crack and dry out, taking hundreds of miles off the life of your motor home RV tires. Get your tire covers at Camping World !

Be certain that all of the tires on your recreational vehicle are inflated to the proper pressure for the load under inflation. When you run a tire at normal speeds can damage the inner lining, casing and sidewall of the tire, basically destroying it.

Luckily the first time I had to buy new tires I got good advice about what and where to get my motor home RV tires. You have invested several thousand dollars in your motor home, you don’t want to risk damage to your unit if you lose control or have an accident due to poor grade of tires or improper inflation.

My advice is to get the best possible motor home RV tires you can afford.



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