Thursday, September 21, 2023


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

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.



Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


  1. I found that the covers with the ‘cotton wool’ inside lining made a great place for spiders to capture bugs. These were then almost impossible to clean out of the wooly material. I stripped all that lining off mine and they can now be brushed clean on the inside very easily. Just plain vinyl both sides is better.

  2. Thank you, Gail! We have white tire covers. We put them over our MH tires if we are staying somewhere three days. If fewer than three days, then we keep them in their storage bay. We only have four tires to cover and it is pretty easy to do while the MH is at ride height. If the air bags have been deflated and the coach leveled, then it can be hard. Either way, we put them on the tires if our departure is three days away, or more.

  3. We made tire covers from custom sized tarps and a snap system that we installed on the body of our class A. Easy on, easy off, easy storage, inexpensive too.

  4. Read an article once about the different colors of covers. Seems the silver reflective colored ones provided the best performance against all the bad stuff.

  5. Does anybody cover the tires on their personal vehicle, car or truck? Why not doesn’t the same rational apply? Many people have secondary or occasional use vehicles I don’t recall seeing any with socks on ? I guess if you store it outside in the desert for long periods of time it would make sense.

    • Gary we have an older car that gets little or no use in the winter and we cover the tires on the southside to keep them from getting the intense low winter sun. The tire covers were very reasonable at Princess Auto and are easy on and off.

  6. Covering the tires is very important. I cover ours when the rv is parked in our driveway for about a week before we take a trip and when we come back. I store the rv in an enclosed rv storage unit when not in use. I do have plywood runners between the tires and concrete floor when in storage.

  7. I use old scrap plywood painted white that I stick up between the tires and the body of our trailer when we’re home. Otherwise I don’t use covers. I USED to use the commercial covers at home but every time I took them off there would be all manner of bugs living in them. Lots of spiders!

  8. Black tire covers are more effective. Black absorbs UV radiation and prevents it from reaching the tire. White (and other colors) let UV through unless it has been treated with another compound to block UV rays. This information is from an Apr 4, 2016 article in this newsletter citing comments by Mr. Marvin Bozarth, “the Tire Industry Association (of America) technical expert”. The article also states that the heat difference between tire covers ultimately makes no difference.

    • I wonder if those who use tire covers worry as much about the tires on their toad or other vehicles? Yes, tires can be expensive, but since they are often replaced based on age rather than wear or condition, how much are you really gaining by your efforts?

      • Probably not because there is absolutely no need to worry about those tires. Toads and other vehicles rarely sit around for long.
        From the other article I mentioned: “Tires are manufactured with antiozinate chemicals which travel to the surface of the tires to protect them against UV radiation. However, these chemicals only migrate when the tires flex–meaning, the tires must be driven on to flex.” If your RV sits in storage for long periods, then you gain a great deal by using covers.

    • I would love to see the full article. My tests clearly show that covers make a large difference in tire temperature. Is he really claiming that long term exposure to heat has no effect on tires? Can he show data to support that claim?

  9. I have always covered my tires. Keeps them cooler and clean when parked. My driver side is in the sun all the time when parked at home and they get much hotter than the passenger side.

  10. Tire covers definitely keep tires cooler. Mine are a very light grey. In direct sun the tire temp under the cover is 20 to 30 degrees less than on the surface, based on my heat gun readings. White would be best, though.

    Just a note that all kinds of spiders and bugs love to hang out under tire covers that have been on for a while. 🙂 Inspect the covers before throwing then in your storage.

  11. Yes, tires are covered. Hate to even think about this Summer of extreme high temperatures are doing to the tires.
    Heat killed my AGM battery already. Only 7 months in the coach.


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