By Russ and Tiña De Maris
It’s the kind of thing that might appeal to the Imelda Marcoses among the RV set: Those nice tires we keep under our trailers, tow vehicles or motorhomes. Everybody likes those “shoes” to look good. But how do you best do it?
We once heard about an RVer who was told one of the best ways to keep his rig’s tires looking good was to give them a good “paint” of transmission fluid. Whoa! “Oh, yeah. Shines ’em right up!” Maybe so, but it’s an awful expensive exercise for tire “makeup.” Tires are pretty peculiar beasts, and like the man says, you’ve got an awful lot riding on them to be making mistakes. Painting your tires with transmission fluid is a definite way to wind up paying dearly. The oil in tranny fluid will cause them to rapidly deteriorate, with possible disastrous consequences.
OK, how about some of those nice silicone-containing spray-on potions? Years ago we were in the upholstery repair trade — fixing vinyl seats in restaurants and on car lots. A lot of folks got snookered into spraying “Armor All” on their seats. Made them shiny and slick, and it brought us a lot of business because the stuff dried the material out, and cracks are a result of drying out. Tires are somewhat the same: Tire makers put chemicals into their tires to keep them from drying out. Put oils or other chemicals on them to make ’em look nice, but counteract the internal chemicals — the tire dries out, cracks, and pretty soon they deteriorate.
At a training seminar at an Escapee’s RV convention, the featured speaker was “retired from the tire industry.” His advice? When you’re sitting put in one place for a while, COVER the tires to keep the UV rays off them. Don’t put ANYTHING on them to “treat them.” If you don’t like how they look, then wash them with soapy water and rinse them off. His years of insider experience taught the lesson: There’s nothing on the market that you can spray on or paint on that will preserve them, and most will actually do harm.