Top RV Tire Service Tips You Must Know
Every RV has tires, Here are service tips for all RV owners to consider.
- Always use the RV manufacturer’s attached information sticker to determine the maximum inflation pressures for your tires. Do not go by what is stamped into the tire. Tires are manufactured for multiple vehicular applications. The RV manufacturer provides information for your application. See attached pics of a sample manufacturer’s sticker.
- Because most RVs don’t get nearly the mileage put on them as a car does, they tend to dry rot, split, fail and otherwise become blow-out risks while they still show plenty of tread. While it is not a law, it is an industry standard that RV tires should be replaced every 5 calendar years regardless of tread wear. Blow-out damage can be very dangerous and expensive as it usually puts a big hole in the floor of the rv. Don’t risk it.
If your tire has a green valve stem cover, it was filled with nitrogen (instead of air) at the factory. Nitrogen is a stable gas with large molecules. The idea is that nitrogen-filled tires won’t experience pressure changes caused by heat build-up over long periods of travel. That should make the tire last longer (remember the previous tip) and be less likely to wear prematurely.
Now, here’s the practical side. Air is 79% nitrogen, 20% oxygen and 1% rare gases and water vapor. If you have to inflate a nitrogen-filled tire, it means you have a leak. It is difficult to find service stations that supply nitrogen. The ones that do are expensive. It can cost from $3-$10 per tire. My advice is to put air in your tires like we’ve been doing for many years should you need to inflate a tire or carry your own on-board nitrogen.
If you intend to race your RV professionally against other RVs on the track you might consider nitrogen for your pit crew. Otherwise, you’re supposed to replace the tires every five years anyway.
- While not recommended, it is ok to mix radial tires and bias-ply tires on a towable multi-axle RV as long as each axle is the same. Do not mix a radial tire and a bias ply tire on the same axle. You will experience handling problems.
- Towable RVs can be equipped with ST (special trailer) or LT (light truck) tires. There is much debate on the RV forums as to which to use. Suffice it to say that ST tires are all speed-rated at 65mph maximum. They are more likely to blow out than LT tires, but are cheaper and usually standard equipment. If you can afford to upgrade to LT tires, why not? You should still get 5 years out of an ST tire ridden and maintained properly.
- Towable RV tires are generally not balanced. Balancing generally improves passenger comfort. Passengers are not permitted inside a moving, towable RV. Motorhome tires should always be balanced.