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Around the Campfire: RVers discuss the best RV tires

Newbies asked for advice from folks around the campfire. “Our camper isn’t even a year old,” the Newbies moaned, “so why did we have blowouts?” On their very first trip, the Minnesota Newbies lost not one, but two of their travel trailer’s tires! They were fortunate to keep their rig on the road and, thankfully, damage to their RV was remarkably minimal. However, the experience really frightened them.

Experienced RVers respond

There were many differing opinions about which RV tires are best, but on one point nearly everyone agreed: The tires that many RV manufacturers routinely put on their newly built RVs are “junk.” Wally explained, “Like many RV components, the majority of manufacturers use the least expensive tires they can find. It’s worth it for consumers to immediately replace those tires with some that are safer and will last.”

Tire basics

The Newbies freely admitted that they knew very little about tires. So, George offered a quick lesson. He showed the Minnesota folks his own tire markings along with the meaning of each notation. You can see a breakdown of information labeled in this picture.

Photo credit: Harvest Hosts/Firestone

(Hint: If you have difficulty reading the information on your tires, try rubbing over the letters/numbers with a piece of white chalk to make the markings more visible.)

Use the tire information to help you determine how fast to drive, how much weight the tires can safely support, and more.

How long will RV tires last?

According to my local, privately owned RV dealership, you can expect your RV’s tires to last anywhere from 3 to 6 years. It all depends on the type of tires, how much you drive, and how you care for the tires.

How to best care for RV tires

  • Inflation and speed. “Keep your tires properly inflated,” recommended Wally. “And watch your speed. My tires last a lot longer if I keep my speed well under 65 mph.” A tire pressure monitoring system, or TPMS, is also important. It will show the pressure and temperature of your tires as you drive down the road, alerting you when dangerous levels are detected.
  • Tire covers. “If my rig is parked for any length of time, I cover them,” George commented. “Dry rot can become a real problem if you don’t use tire covers.”
  • Tire load rating. Folks also noted the effect your RV’s weight can have on the tires. Too much weight in your rig can cause the tires to fail or wear poorly. And your RV’s weight has the potential to vary quite a bit from trip to trip. For example, if you plan to boondock and carry a full tank of potable water, your RV will weigh far more than when all tanks are empty. Folks around the fire recommended keeping your RV’s weight well under the tires’ maximum load rating.
  • Tire treatments. Several folks mentioned treating their RV tires with 303 Tire Coating and Protectant spray to prevent tire dry rot and cracking.
  • Rotating tires. Many RVers around the campfire said they never rotated their RV tires. I asked our local mechanic, who happens to also own an RV. He said, “RV tires are impacted by normal wear and tear just like any other tire.” He recommends rotating the RV’s tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles.

Helpful tire tips

The Newbie RVers had their RV dealership replace their two blown tires. “Our rig was in the shop for 12 weeks!” they regretfully explained. “We missed out on a lot of camping while we waited our turn for service!”

Here’s a little secret: Almost any tire place will put new tires on your RV, even if you don’t purchase your tires from their store (e.g., Discount Tire shops or privately owned shops). Call ahead first.

Another buying tip: Price shop at Costco. My husband and I bought a membership to Costco specifically because we needed new tires for our truck. The discounted price for tires more than paid for our membership fee.

Think about your tires as you pack your RV for travel. Try to evenly distribute the weight from back to front and side to side. For example, our refrigerator, oven, and pantry are all positioned on one side of our RV. That’s a lot of weight on the tires for that side of the fifth-wheel. When we travel, we try to offset the “heavy side” as much as possible by packing any heavy items (tools, boxes of canned food, drinks, etc.,) on the opposite side of the rig.

Best RV tires?

Here’s where the campfire discussion got a little heated. (People are pretty opinionated about their tires, it seems.) These are the tires most recommended by the RVers in attendance: Goodyear Unisteel G670; Maxxis M8008 ST Radials; Michelin XPS; and Bridgestone Duravis M700.

When shopping for RV tires, it pays to check out any available rebates, BOGOs, or other specials. Also consider the type of your RV (travel trailer, fifth-wheel, motorhome), the speed at which you like to travel, the type of terrain you’ll experience most, the weight of your loaded rig, tire warranties, and your budget. Then make the decision that’s right for you.

What kind of tires do you have on your RV? What steps do you take to prolong the life of your RV tires? Share your tips in the comments, please.

Find more tire-related articles from our RV tire expert Roger Marble here

##RVT1061

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Robbi Bailor
18 days ago

I’ve used Goodyear G670s, Michelins and Yokohamas which have done the best and are 8 years old with no weather checking. Replaced front tires recently for safety. Maintain correct air pressure and alignment. Best by far.

Steve
20 days ago

What are folk’s views on balancing travel trailer tires? I have a 20 foot 4,200 lb. trailer. Pulls like a dream.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
20 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Hi, Steve. Here’s a post from Russ and Tiña De Maris on the topic of balancing travel trailer tires: Should you balance your travel trailer tires? There are several comments from readers that will give you more information, as well. Take care. 😀 –Diane

David McEntire
22 days ago

My 2021 FR Wildwood came with castle rocks. Changed them out with Goodyear endurance after coming home from the dealer (400 miles). After they were removed I felt something rough and found a piece of the wire belt protruding out the side. Pretty sad for a new trailer with new tires.

Cathi
22 days ago

On our 2016 class A diesel pusher, 4 of the six tires are from July 2015. These tires have over 62,000 miles on them. One pair of tires had to be replaced two years ago because one of them got sliced. We plan to replace all 6 tires in September when we get to Oregon as part of our travel plans for the season. We have Mechelins R22 255/70 X2E. I have received quotes for Bridgestone or Firestone from one location and Hancook or Falcon at the other location. No one expected to have Michelins available. We use TPMS with proper inflation, keep our speed down and covers on the tires if staying in one place more than three days.

Vance
22 days ago

Trailer came with Westlake, made two trips from Nova Scotia to Arizona, 4000 miles each way. Had a spring hanger weld let go which caused ware on the tires during the return trip the second year. Put 16,000 miles with no problems from the tires. Keep recommended pressure of 110psi, and rarely go over 62mph(100kmh). Replaced with Carlisle CSL16, rated at 4400 pounds and speed rating of 81mph. Still only travel at 62mph, for me it’s not how fast I can go, but how comfortable I am with stopping with 17,000 pounds behind me. The Carlisle tires have around 15,000 miles with little signs of ware.

Rod C
22 days ago

My class C had Michelins when I bought it. They rode and handled good so I bought another set when it was time. Running the correct pressure and keeping the speed down are key to tire safety and life.

Kevin Bohn
23 days ago

Goodyear And that’s all there is.

Bruce
23 days ago

Just had a blowout on Interstate with Goodyear tire on 40′ motorhome. June 2022. It was the front steer tire, so we are totaled, but thankful we’re alive!

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
23 days ago
Reply to  Bruce

OMG, Bruce! How scary! So glad you survived but sorry your RV was totaled. Good luck finding a replacement. We hope you have many safe and happy years of RVing to come. Take care. 😀 –Diane

Paul Fisher
23 days ago

When pulling my 5th wheel I never use google maps or Apple Maps. They can take a person and trailer into some very dangerous difficult spots. I use a Garmin 770 which we up date once a year. Hasn’t failed us yet.

DougK
22 days ago
Reply to  Paul Fisher

I like my Garmin for truckers as it tells me if I have an overpass that is not have the clearance to go under. Also it warned me of sharp curves ahead on the road.

Jon Griffith
23 days ago

I have talked to a couple of hot shot drivers as to what tire they use on their trailers, their choice was Hercules commercial 901 tires long wearing and can be regrooved, cut down on sway and bounce. I have been using those tires for a year now, and what difference they made have towed 4500 miles so far. Best choice we made. 110 psi g rated they are on a 2019 Sabre 36 bhq 11k 5th wheel

Tony
23 days ago

I have Sailun G rated tires on my 5th wheel. Although some may frown at a foreign made tire, these are well made according to my tire dealer who said several customers sing their praise. So far I agree since I have had no issues, unlike the ones that came on the trailer. There are several good reviews online.

Ron Black
19 days ago
Reply to  Tony

I found that most tires, even American brands are actually from China.

GeorgeC
23 days ago

I always get a chuckle from tire-related articles that refer to cheap tires as “junk”, and then provide advice on brands/deals to buy off-price. I always rely on the “you get what you pay for” approach.

Also, since the campfire discussion seems focused on trailer tires, it may be worth mentioning that motorhome tires have similar ratings and usage recommendations, but that “preferred” brands (or brands to avoid) might differ. Talk to people who own similar rigs to dial in on the best current advice. (Yes, “current”, as many manufacturers go through rough spells and resolve issues over time. A brand that had a problem 15 years ago might have over-engineered in response, and the “savior brand” from 15 years ago might not have been so great in the long term.)

And finally, in addition to sales and rebates on tires, don’t forget that several RV or RV-adjacent organizations have member discount programs for various brands. Escapees, KOA, Coach-Net, and FMCA come to mind.

Dana D.
23 days ago

I have the China bombs on my new TT. I inflate to cold pressure of 65 psi per sidewall. I drive at 65 MPH notwithstanding tires are rated for 81 MPH.

Judy G
23 days ago

I recommend purchasing a power tire inflation device to keep those tires properly inflated. One the plugs into the 12 volt plug in your vehicle and has a PSI readout works wonderfully when you’re camped in an isolated spot or come across fellow RVers/drivers with an issue.

John L
23 days ago

Our 5th wheel is rated at 12,600 lbs max GVW. It need tires the day we picked it up an I had made an appointment with Discount tire and drove directly there for new tires. I had Michelin XPS tires installed and proceeded home with our new to us RV. At 5 years I began searching for tires again. I decided on Bridgestone Duravis R250 tires fully steel incased. They were the best tires I had owned for a trailer. I immediately notice much better handling on mountain roads than the Michelin tires before. When it came time for my next set, I was going to buy them again. Unfortunately they were discontinued. After researching again, I purchased Michelin XPS, it is the only tire that Michelin recommends for trailers. Two years and they are performing well. I have always has a TST pressure and temperature system. I have never had a flat or a blowout. I run the Bridgestone Durivas R 500 tires on my Dually tow vehicke. I am on my second set and extremely pleased.

Wayne C
23 days ago

“12 weeks to have two blown tires replaced”? Wow, most tire shops would be same day service except maybe week ends. I suspect there is more to the story.

Mindy
20 days ago
Reply to  Wayne C

“The Newbie RVers had their RV dealership replace their two blown tires.” The RV dealership was the issue/holdup.

Ron
23 days ago

It’s not the tires as much as the operator. TPMS, proper inflation, over weight and speed are the biggest contributors to tire failure.

Bob p
23 days ago

I’m not defending Chinese tires, but mine has been towed over 3000 miles trouble free. I keep them inflated to recommended pressures and never drive over 63 mph. Most of these tires are rated for 65, driving over that may over heat the tire causing failure. If you want to drive faster you need to change your tires to Goodyear Endurance.

Sherry B.
23 days ago
Reply to  Bob p

Our 5th wheel came with Westlake tires, and we rode on them for 12,000 miles (2 1/2yrs) before replacing them. We were heading out for a 7000 mile trip and thought it was time to replace, they were showing a some wear. Its about how you take care of the tires, proper inflation, not over weight limit, driving within speed limit of tires, not of road signs, and general maintenance. We are now at 12,000 miles in the last 1 1/2yrs on a set of goodyear tires and are beginning to show some wear. We are sitting still this year, but before next spring, new tires will be needed. As a reminder to those who pull a 5th wheel, don’t forget your truck tires. They will not last as long with the extra weight you are hauling.

Bob
23 days ago

I use tire covers anytime the trailer is parked for an extended period. As far as the dry rot on the outside, heat builds up inside the tire also. The rubber inside can also dry rot and there is no evidence of this on the outside. Replacing the tires every 4-5 years, even if they look good, is cheap insurance.

STEVE
23 days ago

Goodyear Tire Company recommends inflating travel trailer tires to the maximum pressure stamped on the sidewall. Trailers need stiffer sidewalls to prevent heat build-up from sway and bounce.

Kevin Bohn
23 days ago
Reply to  STEVE

Amen

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