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.