Before you hit the road with your RV, you want to make sure everything is in order, from the fuel, battery, water, and your travel bag. But as you happily tick off your checklist, it hits you — that’s not all.
If you’ve had your RV tires for a while, you probably want to know how long they last and whether it’s safe to hit the road before replacing them.
So, how long do RV tires last and operate safely? Well, it depends.
In this article, we will go over the ins and outs of an RV tire’s lifespan, so you can get where you’re going with confidence!
When Should You Replace Your RV Tires, and What to Look For
Wear and Tear
Are the tires’ tread worn out? Is the tire worn out unevenly? Does it have any sidewall damage or bulges? Regardless of how often you’ve used your RV or how long the tires are supposed to last, you should always look over them to make sure s.
Check the tread. If the tread depth is less than 6/32 inches, or the tire has a 2/32-inch deep crack, any side bulges, or damage, it poses a safety hazard, and it is time for a replacement. Tires with worn-out tread lose their grip and become slippery, meaning they won’t stop when you need them to. An old tire may also blow out amid driving, leading to accidents and putting you and other motorists at risk.
Change in Performance
Other than the look and pressure of the tires, a change in their performance can also signify that it is time to replace them. Things to look out for include an increase in air loss and noise or vibration when driving.
Years of Use
When was the last time you replaced your RV tires? Sometimes, this is all you need to know whether they are due for replacement. Most tires need to be changed every four to six years. It would also be helpful to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Some manufacturers indicate as little as four years, while others may approve using the tires for as long as eight to ten years. Others suggest five years for front tires and seven for the rear ones.
Another thing to consider is how often you drive your RV. If you are always on the road, your tires are less likely to last more than four years. However, if you don’t take your motorhome for adventures that often, you can use them for around six years with proper maintenance. But we still don’t recommend pushing it that much.
Your Next Trip
How long will you be on your next trip? How much is the distance? If you want to enjoy a short weekend trip, your tires might survive. But if you are likely to spend a considerable amount of time driving on the trip, you are better off checking your tires and replacing them if necessary. Trust us — you don’t want your tires to fail you in the middle of the journey.
Another crucial thing to consider is the quality of the tires. Tires wear out at different rates depending on various factors, such as the quality of material used and the size.
Another critical factor is the tire brand. Each RV owner has their favorite brand, the most popular brands including Michelin, Firestone, and Goodyear. A good quality RV tire will serve you for about 8000 miles and can even go up to 10000 miles.
Do I Need to Replace My RV Tires if They Still Look Okay?
The simple answer is yes. Your RV tires take a lot of beating – bumpy roads, the weight of your motorhome, constant exposure to the elements, and more. It would help to replace them every few years, or as per the manufacturer’s recommendation, to avoid dealing with blowouts in the middle of nowhere.
Other than slowing you down on your trip, an old tire is also a safety risk to you, your travel partners, and the other drivers on the road. So, it is best to be mindful to avoid any accidents.
How Can I Tell How Old My RV Tires Are?
Telling the age of your RV tires is essential to know how long they will last. It might seem as simple as counting from the time you purchased the RV. However, that is not always the case. The manufacture date can confirm how long the tires have been in-store or how long the first owner had the RV if you are buying a second hand.
How then can you tell the age of your tires? Tires come with a DOT number that lets you know a tire’s manufacturing details, such as where it was manufactured, its size, the manufacturer’s code, and the year and week it was made.
What’s a DOT number? Before you get confused, it is a 3-10 or more digit code located on the inside sidewall near the rim.
How To Read The Code
3-digit DOT number: Before the year 2000, tires had a 3-digit code. The first two digits indicated the week the tire was made, while the next digit was for the year the tire was manufactured. So, a DOT number of 108 means that the tire was made in the 10th week of 1998.
4+ digit DOT number: Tires manufactured after 2000 come with a 4-digit code or longer. No worries though, if there are more, you can confirm the tire’s age using only the last four digits.
The first two numbers denote the week the tire was manufactured. The second 2 numbers indicate the year of manufacture.
Hence, a DOT number of 2321 means that the tire was manufactured in the 23rd week of 2021. That was simple, right?
What Tire Size Do I Need for My RV?
Once you have decided on the factors that may impact the life of your RV tires and how you can get the most out of them, it is now time to look at another critical factor – the right tire size for your RV. Tires that are too small or too large may pose safety risks or damage your RV. That is why it is crucial to select the right tires.
Before we go deeper into this, we recommend that you start with the simplest solution – check your RV manual. The manufacturer has likely specified the perfect tire size for your RV.
Let’s look at the different classes of RV tires and the weight they can support:
Designed for huge RVs, class A motorhome tires support between 15,000 to 30,000 pounds and are suitable for a 40-foot RV.
Class B motorhome tires are the smallest of the three and support between 6,000 to 8000 pounds. They fit between 17 to 19 feet long RVs.
Class C RV tires support between 10000 to 12000 pounds and are suitable for 20 to 30 feet RVs.
Caring for Your RV Tires
Don’t Wait Long to Change the Tires
We hope by now we are on the same page on the importance of changing your tires every 4-6 years unless indicated otherwise.
Additionally, make sure to inspect the tires before and after your trip. If you notice issues like worn-out tread, bulges, or cracks, replace the tires as soon as possible, regardless of their age.
Your RV tires need proper care even when you are not on the road.
Make sure the tires are clean before storage. Consider storing the RV in a cool and dry place to keep them from absorbing water. Furthermore, inflate the tires to the maximum pressure, offload the RV to reduce stress on the tires, and be sure to take out your motorhome for drives every three months to avoid damages due to inactivity.
Proper storage also protects the tires from elements such as constant freezing and high temperatures, which causes wear and tear. Make sure to cover the tires and use a barrier to keep them off the floor or ground during winter. The best barriers to use include plywood, cardboard, rubber floor mats, and plastic. Use wheel covers or tire coating to prevent damage from UV rays and the sun.
Tires have a maximum weight capacity. You will find information on how much load a tire can bear written on its sidewall. If it is not available, you can check with the manufacturer.
Avoid overloading a single tire with all the weight if you want it to last long. A great way to keep your RV tires in good shape is to balance the weight on each tire by evenly distributing the load in your RV.
Proper Tire Pressure
It is also important to monitor the pressure level of the RV tires. Check this before hitting the road and after the journey. Consider purchasing a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) to allow you to check the exact pressure you are working with at a given time.
Additionally, ensure the tires are inflated to the proper PSI – not too high or too low. A portable air compressor will come in handy for moments when your tire pressure is low. So be sure to always have one in your RV.
Avoid Bumpy Roads
If possible, avoid taking bumpy roads on your adventure. Your RV may take the ride quite well, but your tires might suffer. Be sure to choose a route with fewer sharp turns and smoother terrain.
Cleaning off-road oil, dirt, and debris could help prolong the life of your tires. Luckily, cleaning your RV tires is simple and requires the most basic products – soap and water. A soft brush and mild soap will do the trick.
So, back to our question – how long do RV tires last? Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. On average, RV tires last 4-6 years. However, some manufacturers recommend less than four years, while others let you use your tires for up to 10 years.
If you think your tires need to be changed, we recommend you go for it. At times you will need to follow your intuition. But if you are not sure, you can check for any damages or significant changes in performance.
You can also get the most out of your RV tires with proper maintenance. Protect them from direct sunlight and UV rays using wheel covers or tire coating. A TPMS will also be helpful to ensure your tires are always at the proper pressure levels.
Follow these tips, and enjoy a smooth ride on your next adventure!