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Caring For Your Tires

Caring For Your Tires

Road safety is an important consideration to any trip, but when your trip includes a big RV or trailer, this safety becomes even more important. Problems involving a car are bad enough, but a rig that’s large, heavy, and not as easily controlled? That’s even worse. With a rig like that, you need to take every precaution to keep it safe and steady. There are tons of checks you can do before leaving the house for your trip, like checking the brakes and electrical, but there is one more check that needs to be done; the tires. Your tires are the first point of contact with the road and because of this, they can greatly affect the safety of the trip as well as things like fuel efficiency and comfort. Whether you’re figuring out how to care for your tires, deciding whether you need to change them, or trying to find the right tire to switch out for your current worn tires, we’re here to help.

Caring For Your Tires

The best way to keep your tires lasting for as long as possible is to properly care for them. This includes doing a few things. First, practice good basic tire care, such as keeping them inflated and rotated and keeping them away from extreme heat, cold, and sunlight. If you’re using your RV all season long, this might be a bit tough, but if you’re storing it for the winter, you can do this more easily. Next, there are several bits that are different for RV and trailer tires that you might not need to do for your car or truck tires.

  • Cover the tire when it’s not in use. Whether this means while in storage or when you’ve camped in a location for more than a few days. This keeps it away from elements, prolonging its life. You might think that keeping the RV in storage for longer will keep the tires in better condition, as they are kept away from the elements for longer. This is actually very much false, though. Yes you need to protect your tires, but you also need to use them. When they are used, the heat generated from use helps the internal chemicals in the wheel heats up and protects the sidewall rubber, keeping it strong and durable. If you are storing your RV or trailer for more than three months, it’s a good idea to take it for a drive for about an hour per month, just to keep the tires in good shape.
  • During storage, keep the RV or trailer in a cool, dry, sealed garage, away from electric generators, transformers, and welding materials (because they create chemicals that are harmful to tires). Befores storage, clean them properly. Keep something under them, so that they don’t touch the floor directly. This can be things like plastic, plywood, cardboard, or a rubber floor mat. Inflate the tires to the maximum inflation pressure indicated on the sidewall. If you are storing them outside, cover the tires well to protect them. When you are ready to remove your rig from storage, check the tires for signs of damage and inflate them to the proper pressure.

Do You Need To Change Your RV Or Trailer Tires?

The two big indicators of whether or not you should change your tires are the wearing on the tires and the age of the tires. Check to see how much tread is left on the tires and check to see how worn they are or if they are worn unevenly. If you are unsure about whether they will last a bit longer, take it to a professional. If you’re not sure, though, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If your trip is longer or you are going to be traveling on surfaces that could wear your tires out faster, it’s definitely better to change them if you’re unsure. Also, if the tires are over six years old, they need to be replaced. Tires generally last between three and six years, depending on how they are used and cared for, however, the max that you should have the tires on for is six years. If you’re not sure about their age, there is a date code on them that you can check.

Finding The Measurements For New Tires

Finding the right tire to fit your rig can be difficult. The basic measurements you’ll need are called the bolt pattern. This is the number of bolts (or lugs) per wheel plus their layout. For example, 5 on 4.5 means 5 bolts, each one spaced 4.5” apart. In order to get the bolt pattern, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Count the number of lugs on one trailer wheel.
  • Step 2: If the wheel has an even number of lugs, measure from the center of one bolt to the center of the bolt directly opposite.
  • Step 3: If the wheel has an odd number of lugs, measure from the back edge of one lug to the center of another lug directly across from it.
  • Step 4: Take these two numbers (number of lugs and space between them) and you have your tire measurement.

Whether you’re replacing your old tires or are trying to care for the set you currently have on your rig, it’s important to pay attention to how they are doing, as paying attention to your wheels keeps your vacation safe and on track.

Jan 8th 2021 Ashley Baughman

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