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Are RV tire covers necessary? Are they worth the money?

Those are the questions I asked our trusted, local RV technician. He didn’t answer with a simple “yes” or “no.” Instead, he said, “That depends.” Here’s what I learned.

How often do you travel?

Our tech wanted to know how we use our RV. He said, “If you’re always traveling, moving from RV park to RV park each day, tire covers will make you crazy! If you’re constantly taking them off and putting them back on, those covers will end up in a trash can. I guarantee it!”

He went on to explain, “But if your rig is going to sit in storage for several days, weeks, or even months at a time, it’s a good idea to put a cover on them.”

Rationale for covers

The tech went on to describe the rationale for using tire covers.

  • The sun. First, the tire covers are intended to prevent tire deterioration. The sun’s UV rays can penetrate the rubber over time. This can potentially cause the tire to crack and dry rot. Also, direct heat from the sun—especially sustained, high temperatures—can also degrade the tire faster because oxidation of the rubber occurs faster under high heat.
  • Moisture. Secondly, continual and unprotected exposure to various weather conditions, like snow, ice, and rain, can shorten the tire’s life. Moisture can cause rust on the wheels and rim. Water may also seep into the tire pressure monitoring system and potentially damage the transmitters in the wheels in freezing temperatures.
  • Looks. Finally, folks cover their tires simply to keep them cleaner and looking nice. A cover will keep leaves, dirt, and other debris (or dog pee) off the tire. Besides being clean and aesthetically pleasing, it’s easier to visually inspect a clean tire as you prepare to travel.

Single or dual axle covers?

You can purchase individual RV tire covers or a larger cover that will protect the tires on both (or all three) axles at once. Our tech explained the pros and cons of both types. Single tire covers are easier to store because you can more easily fold them. Our tech also finds them easier to put on/remove from the tire. The dual axle cover (one cover over two or three wheels) offers a streamlined look but leaves and debris can become trapped between the wheels. It’s a personal choice.

Measuring for RV tire covers

Whether you plan to buy single or dual tire covers, you’ll measure your tires the same. Use a tape measure to determine the diameter of a tire (edge to edge, through the center—its widest point—both the rim and sidewall). Then use this measurement to select your tire covers. Most companies offer a range of sizes. (Note: You can also find your tire’s size on the tire sidewall, but it’s sometimes hard to see.)

Features to consider

Look for tire covers that offer UV protection and are waterproof. A lighter color tire cover may reflect the sun’s rays better and potentially keep the tires cooler, but some folks prefer a darker color to blend in with the color of their rig.

Most tire covers are held securely to the tire with bungee cords or something similar. Be sure to use these fasteners so that a sudden gust of wind won’t blow the covers away!

DIY RV tire covers?

I found several do-it-yourself alternatives for RV tire covers. The biggest problem I see in making your own tire covers is locating appropriate fabric—something waterproof with a high UV protection rating. I’m also not sure you can DIY for less out-of-pocket cost than manufactured covers.

You’ll potentially need a heavy-duty sewing machine and some measuring and sewing skills. Here’s the DIY I liked best on YouTube. It takes you step-by-step through the measuring, patterning, and assembling processes. Watch it below.

Do I need RV tire covers?

If you store your RV inside an enclosed building or completely cover your rig with an RV cover, you don’t need tire covers.

If, however, your rig will be outside, exposed to varying weather conditions and temperatures, I think it’s a very worthwhile purchase. RV tires are expensive. It’s worth the extra money spent on covers, especially if they’ll extend the life of your tires.

Amazon offers a wide variety of RV tire covers. Check them out here.

Do you cover your RV tires? Tell us in the comments below.

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Daniel
20 days ago

The Michelin tires on our class-A motorhome were manufactured in the middle of 2017 and don’t show any sidewall cracking. We do have tire covers … we bought them because of all the discussion on “should you; or shouldn’t you” use them to extend the life of your tires. We have used the covers; but lately, not so much – and we are full time RVers.

I’ve heard that big rig tires are more likely to “age out” before they wear out. We plan to replace ours in early 2023 and we’re adding Retro Bands to the steering tires for added safety when we replace all the tires.

Andy
21 days ago

You have to change your tires every 5 or 6 years – why bother with covers. I just replaced 4 Goodyear Endurance trailer tires that were 20 years old and looked like brand new. No weather checking at all. I truly believe tire covers are a waste of money – just another way to get in RVers back pocket.

Ron Cook
21 days ago

We are F/T RVers often parked for some months where we are building with Habitat. We have white vinyl tyre covers. 2 Points – 1. if you want to use X-Chocks then you probably need the double tyre covers, not the individual tyre covers; 2. The wooly insides of the covers is a pest – it captures all sorts of bugs and spiders and they are then hard to brush off. We ended up stripping the inside of the cover completely to remove this cotton wool stuff and find them much easier to keep clean. I have never used any fasteners etc and they have yet to blow off.

Left Coast Geek
26 days ago

I don’t like using any tires much over 5 years old, so I replace them when they are 5. next round of tires will be due towards the end of 2023, on both my towing truck (f250 diesel) and trailer, I’ll be replacing the spare with the best of the existing tires (forgot to do that last time so the spares on both are quite old).

Ceil
26 days ago

We cover over the winter when in outside storage.

Tony
26 days ago

I made my own with vinyl fabric.My first attempt I used snaps but in high winds had to look for them ,I found a turnbuckle type that works.

RickS
27 days ago

Dave, what do you think about PR303 A?
https://www.303products.com.au/product-range/automotive/303-automotive-protectant
Amazon has 12,000 plus reviews with 80% 5 star.
I have used their products for years instead of tire covers and have been happy with the results.

Diane Mc
27 days ago

Soon after buying our MH, 20 years ago, we were in Florida. There was a man, Ron, working out of his van (with the company’s name on it, also advertised in back in RV magazines) making tire & windshield covers out of UV protected material. Custom measured and put on with snaps. They still fit like a glove today and look great, besides keeping tires protected & interior of coach cool. Use the tire covers more than windshield (unless we are staying a week or more). We also had 2 made for the driver/passenger side windows to help keep coach even more cool. MH is currently parked in our driveway and always have the tire covers on.

Diane Mc
27 days ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

Forgot….we roll up the 4 tires covers together and put a bungee around them. Likewise we roll the side window covers inside the windshield cover & bungee.

Donald N Wright
27 days ago

I have the covers but I have not been using them. Trailers are under a roof and always in the shade.

Gary G
27 days ago

Having various covers with bungee and straps I purchased from Covercraft, absolutely love them easy on easy off. Long enough to protect bottom of tire and wide enough to fit.

Moseying McCormicks
27 days ago

If we are at a CG more than a few days we cover the tires using MagnaShade tire covers. Easy to put on and fold up for storage like collapsible car window shades. They are a little pricey but worth it since we use our coach FT.

Bob R
27 days ago

What was not mentioned is the natural oils in the tire while driving actually move with centrifugal force pushing those oils out. This is what keeps your tires from deteriorating, so yes movement is best, along with all the other reasons. While sitting not being used weather covered or not those oils pay attention to the gravitational forces, this all takes time, in heat they move faster than freezing temps. This is why I would always take my motorhome out for a run at least once a month if it is still not being used. I changed my tires after seven years, and still had no cracks in them. I lived in sunny Southern California at the time. I never covered my tires.

Kaeleen Buckingham
27 days ago

We were told by a tire person NOT to cover the tires, they need air. The plywood suggestion below he said was a good idea.

Member
Roger Marble(@roger)
27 days ago

Not sure what technical background your “tire person” has but In 50 years as a tire design engineer I have never seen any test data that suggests tires “need” exposure to air. What they do need is protection from heat that can shorten tire life by years if the tires get hot enough. The technical term is “Cross-link density” where the chemical bonds can become brittle and fracture which could lead to structural failure.

Tom
27 days ago

Have tire covers. Don’t travel with them. Used at home over long breaks. They have bungee cords to secure them. But without the bungees in use. The covers stayed on. Even during Hurricane Sandy.

Tommy Molnar
27 days ago

I used to buy tire covers – fairly often because they didn’t last. When parked at home, the covers would become infested with all manner of critters, mostly spiders. It was a mess every time I took them off. Finally when I’d had enough, I found some scrap plywood and cut it to size, blocking sunlight from hitting the tires. I painted these white to help reflect the sun. I’ve been using these for years now and they stand up to everything!

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
26 days ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Great tip, Tommy. Thanks! Have a super day. 😀 –Diane

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