Preserving your RV’s tires when parking long-term

9

RV Tire Safety

with RV tire expert Roger Marble

Many RV owners are “winterizing” their RVs. Even if you are in Arizona, you might be getting it ready to be parked for many weeks or months. There are a few things you need to do to help preserve your tires.

1. When you wash your RV prior to storage be sure to clean the tires. The easiest thing to do is to treat your tires just as you would the side of your RV. Wash the tires with the same soap and water you use on the RV body. You wouldn’t use an SOS pad on the bodywork, so don’t use coarse scrubbing material on the tire.

2. Inflate to the pressure shown on the tire sidewall. This will decrease the tendency to flat-spot and make the tire flat on one side.

Preserving your RV's tires when parking long-term
Slow leak. (Click to enlarge.)

When I was checking the inflation I discovered one tire was almost 30 psi low. I knew the tire had not lost air when it was being driven so I immediately suspected that when I removed my external tire pressure monitoring sensor (TPMS) the valve core must not have properly seated. This was confirmed with a shot of household cleaner. Here you can see the small bubbles that confirmed the 3.5 psi per week air loss past the valve.

3. If you are not parking on a concrete floor or pad it is suggested you not park on asphalt as the oils in the tar can attack the tread rubber. It is also suggested that you not park on dirt or sand as the moisture can migrate into the tire and possibly cause corrosion of the steel.

I have some pressure-treated boards that are large enough to completely support the contact footprint.

Preserving your RV's tires when parking long-term
Board size.

Here you can see the board and the reference footprint for a front tire.

You always need to completely support the entire footprint – both in length and width. The following pictures show what NOT TO DO.

 

Preserving your RV's tires when parking long-term
Too narrow.
Preserving your RV's tires when parking long-term
Off center.

 

 

 

 

Preserving your RV's tires when parking long-term
Just right.
Preserving your RV's tires when parking long-term
Be sure the support is wide enough for both duals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preserving your RV's tires when parking long-term
Tire cover.

Finally, be sure to cover the tires to protect them from direct sunlight, which can cause UV damage and overheat the tires.

If you haven’t read my series on Tire Covers click here.

A little bit of preventive care can help avoid future problems and extend the life of your tires.

P.S. Don’t forget that even when parked you should check the air pressure once a month. If I hadn’t checked the air in the tire with the leaking valve it probably would have been flat by next spring and might even have been damaged and unsuitable for highway use.

Preserving your RV's tires when parking long-term

 

Read more from Roger Marble on his blog at RVtiresafety.net.

 

 

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Barry

Curious as to how you can properly wash the inside surfaces of the duals. There doesn’t appear to be enough space between to get a brush or even a rag and my hand. Also the backside of the duals without laying down on wet concrete to soap and rinse.

rvgrandma

What is not mentioned: especially on MH raise tires off ground. I have always been told not to because it is hard on the suspension. For one night might be OK but not long term. The spot we are on is so unlevel the front has 3 pieces of 2×6 under the tires. There is a guy in the park that has his front end raised up just as high but no boards or anything under the tires. He says it is fine, won’t hurt his MH. He has been parked for months like this. I have been told it… Read more »

STEPHEN P MALOCHLEB

I park on gravel so I went to Tractor supply and purchased one of their 4x6x3/4 stall mats. I cut it up into 8 pieces. For the front tires I made them 12×24 iches. In the rear they are 24×24 inches. This keeps the tires off the ground and places them on a rubber pad. Being an 1 1/2 thick I think it will let the tire just settle in a bit and not be as rigid as wood.

Stuart Chapman

I wonder how concrete is on a tire that is on the trailer. We stored tires not in use on concrete and they were laying down and it turned out the chemicals in the concrete rotted the sidewall. Found this out the hard way having the whole sidewall blow out on the tire that was against the concrete.

Richard Brandt

I often wonder if a 1/4 inch sheet of plywood placed on the outside of the tires would protect them from UV and heat buildup just as much or more as anything store bought. I suppose I should run my own test but it’s too cold outside.

rvgrandma

sometime last year there was an article, I think in RV Travel, where they tested how well tire covers, insulated boards, and the mesh screening many put over the whole wheel well especially on MH protected the tires, keeping them from heating up too much. If I remember correctly, the insulated foam boards kept them about 10 degrees cooler than just a cover over the tire.

sam

we use those yellow leveling pads. we park on dirt long term, we also built them up 1 layer so that when it rains the tire is not sitting in the water, just that one level keeps the tire from puddle sitting. the coach is level. and we lost little air pressure sitting now that we did this AND bought GoodYear Made in USA Endurance tires, AND we moved them up last buy to their max size of 235/85/16, which top out CC at 3750lbs I think, These need very few top offs. we moved up previously from GY Endurance… Read more »

Leo Suarez

I have read others suggesting that you lower your leveling jacks to reduce the weight of the RV on the tires. Your opinion?

Bill Lampkin

Just wondering how big an issue it is to park on asphalt over winter (5 months). I have to leave our motorhome at a storage yard (covered, not enclosed) and parked on asphalt. Tires are 295 80 22.5 and I use white tire covers after treating the tire sidewalls with 303 protectant. Motorhome has a tag axle. I do check tire pressures monthly.
Thanks for all the good info you provide!
Bill