If you’re rolling a big Class A motorhome down the highway, you know that a blown tire is a very expensive proposition. With some big motorhome tires running up into the four-digit price range, it only makes sense to take care of that investment. Money aside, SAFETY should be your biggest consideration, but hey, it seems that for many, money does talk.
So how can you play it safe – and fiscally wise – with your RV tires? Here’s a set of reminders from Coach-Net, that oufit that oversees road rescues for many RVers when they have a breakdown or tire issue out on the road.
Tread: The days of measuring tread with a coin are long gone. All modern “P,” “LT” and medium commercial tires have integral wear indicators built into the tread. These indicators are molded into several locations around the tread grooves. When the tread ribs become worn to the point where they’re adjacent to an indicator, it’s time for a new tire.
Pressure: There’s no need for expensive digital readers. Use a simple rotary gauge at least once a month when the tires are cold (even a one-mile drive can result in an inaccurate reading). If you find you’re regularly losing pressure from a tire, it’s time to call in professional help to locate and rectify the problem. Your tire’s pressure should math the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle.
Load Weight: A tire’s ply rating describes the maximum load the manufacturer recommends the tire be used to carry (at a specified pressure). It is imperative that you calculate the correct minimum ply rating suitable for the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of your RV, and this should be done by a professional. Also, never overload your RV. Exceeding the GVWR is one of the leading causes of RV tire failure.
Balancing: New tires are balanced by the installer, using the perhaps familiar semi-circular lead weights that can often be seen clamped to wheel rims. Tire balancing eliminates vibration that would otherwise contribute to driver fatigue, premature tire wear and suspension failure. Missing weights should be replaced immediately.
Rotation: Rotating the tires on your vehicle is important to keep wear patterns even. If your operator’s manual doesn’t give a specific guidance, it’s a good idea to do this once every six to ten thousand miles. This may not be practical while on an extended RV vacation, and may in fact be unnecessary so long as your inspections aren’t revealing conspicuous wear on one corner.
Mixing Tires: To ensure good driver control, and to encourage vehicle stability, tires with different tread patterns, different sizes and mismatched internal constructions should never be mixed.