'Round The Campfire

How to get the most from your RV tires

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More from Outdoor Living Newsletter August Outdoor Living Newsletter
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Will your tires still be good next year?

Don't undermine the importance of good RV tires! They make sure that RV is fuel-efficient and is able to keep you and your family safe and comfortable during your RV trips. Taking good care of them can also help you save money because you don't need to replace them often.

Extending the lifetime of your RV tires is very easy to do. Here are five simple care tips:

1)  Check your tire's air pressure

One way to get the most from your RV tires is to regularly check that they are inflated with the right air pressure. You should check your tire's air pressure every two weeks if you are a full-time RVer, or on a monthly basis if you only go on RV trips once in a while. It is also important to check before heading out on your road trip, and right before you come back home. If you are planning a long RV trip that will require you to be on the road for a number of days, make sure to check your tires' air pressure at the start of every day.

Tires that are underinflated can cause the rubber and radial cords to burn up more quickly due to the increased pressure and friction it is experiencing on the road. Underinflated tires can also make your RV less fuel efficient because the increased friction between the tires and the road surface means you burn more fuel for the same distance traveled.

On the other hand, RV tires that are overinflated have less contact with the road surface. This is extremely dangerous because it will affect your braking capacity and road handling and, thereby, increasing your chances of getting into an accident. Overinflated RV tires are more prone to impact damage and puncture by debris lying on the road surface.

You can check the recommended air pressure based on your RV's weight on the sidewall of the tires.

2)  Have your tires regularly checked

Bring your RV into a reputable service center at least once a year to have a specialist thoroughly inspect each of your tires for bulges, cracks, nails and cuts on the tire's thread, sidewall, cups, valves and valve extensions. In the event any damage is found, the tires can be patched up and repaired immediately, allowing you to use them for a longer period of time.

3)  Align, balance and rotate

The amount of weight is distributed differently on each tire, especially while you are on the road, and that can cause one or more to show more signs of wear and tear than others. It is recommended to check your RV owner's manual for recommendations on how to rotate your tires to prevent them from wearing out prematurely.

Each time that you rotate your tires, it is also important to have your tire and wheel assembly balanced. Otherwise, they will cup and wear out faster. In addition to tire rotation, you should have your tire and wheel assembly balance also checked if you have had one or more tires had a flat repair or if you have removed the tires when storing your RV for the winter season.

In addition, proper wheel alignment is essential to keep your tires in good condition. The different moving parts that make up your suspension system can easily cause your tires to misalign. This, in turn, can cause scuffing and uneven wear on your tires. Wheels that are properly aligned also makes driving your RV a lot easier, preventing the possibility of your RV swerving on the road.

4)  Clean your RV tires

Cleaning your tires will not only make your RV look good but help extend their lifetime. Oil, dirt and other debris that accumulate on your tires can speed up the deterioration of the rubber, making it more susceptible to cracks and other signs of damage. When cleaning your tires, make sure you use a mild soap or detergent and a soft brush or sponge. If you want to add a dressing product on your tires after cleaning it, make sure that it does not contain petroleum, alcohol or silicon because these can speed up the ageing process.

5) Store your RV with care

Unless you are a full-time RVer, chances are you will have to store your RV for long periods of time in between trips. Make sure that you do so in a cool, dry place that is free from direct sunlight because prolonged exposure to the sun can speed up your tires' deterioration. Make sure that you remove as much load as you can from your RV so that there is minimum weight bearing down on your tires. If possible, place your RV on blocks so that its weight is completely taken away from your RV tires. Clean your tires with soap and water before they are stored. Finally, inflate the tires up to the maximum allowable pressure prescribed by the tire manufacturer. You can find this stamped along the tires' sidewall. If you are going to store your RV for more than 6 months, make sure to go out and move your RV once every three months. This will prevent ozone cracking and flat-spotting on your tires.

Following these 5 tips will help you prolong the lifetime of your tires so you can spend more time exploring the country and less time in the service center.

Copyright ©2011 Camping Road Trip, LLC

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