There can be a tendency to try and drive with RV tires as long as possible.
After all, at an average of around $300 each, getting replacements can be quite a costly proposition. However, due to the extraordinary weight of most RVs, their tires can be at greater risk of blowing out than tires used on other forms of consumer vehicles.
How hot can RV tires get? RV tires are rated to withstand temperatures of about 156°F (69°C). Temperatures above this figure put the tires at risk of blowing out, so RV owners must take extra precautions in terms of knowing the quality of their tires and ensuring that they are operating their RV under safe conditions.
While it is scary knowing that an ostensible “home on wheels” has the potential for blowing its tires, there are many ways you can ensure that your RV is in safe driving condition without continually undertaking costly tire replacements.
How to Prevent RV Tires from Blowing Out
Blowing a tire on the highway is undesirable in any vehicle, but it is especially scary in a heavy RV that may be at greater risk of rolling or causing significant damage to its surroundings.
Therefore, RV owners need to make sure that their tires are in good shape to drive on and operate their RVs under safe conditions.
A vital statistic to know is that that most RV tires are at risk of blowing out at temperatures above 156°F and that RV tires will usually get about 30°F to 60°F above ambient temperature while in use.
Using these figures, RVs may be at high risk of blowing a tire when the ambient temperature is 96°F (35°C) or above.
As such, the owner must ensure conditions that will prevent tires from ever getting into this temperature range.
It is also essential for the owner to know if the tires are rated to withstand lower temperatures or are in a condition that may make 156°F unsupportable.
Read also: Can You Plug or Patch RV Tires? Is It Safe?
Drive at Moderate Speeds
One of the best ways to ensure that your RV tires never approach 156°F is to drive at moderate speeds.
No matter the speed at which you drive, the friction created between the tires and the highway will generate some heat.
However, when driving at higher speeds, the atoms comprising your RV tires will move faster, and heat is a byproduct of this increased energy.
Think of the temperature difference between rubbing your hands together slowly versus rapidly as a simple illustration of this effect.
Therefore, no matter the speed limit, it is unwise to ever drive your RV above 65 MPH.
In addition, in summer conditions in which the ambient temperature is 90°F or above, it is really best to keep your personal speed limit for your RV at 55 MPH.
This will help ensure that heat generated from the friction is mitigated, keeping your tire temperature well below 156°F.
Make Use of Tire Covers
Just as UV rays damage the skin of people who expose themselves to excessive sunlight, so too will UV rays damage the tires on your RV.
Excessive UV exposure will cause your tires to age at an accelerated rate, leading to cracks that will significantly undermine the integrity of your tires.
Therefore, storing your RV in a garage or covered area when not in use is a great idea.
Furthermore, investing in some tire covers will ensure that the sun is not beating down on the tires when in use.
Related reading: How to Easily Determine the Correct Wheel Covers for RV Tires (17 Examples)
Keep Your Tires Pressurized
Underinflated tires are one of the best ways to increase the risk of a blowout. Know how much air your RV tires require and frequently check to make sure that they are inflated to the correct settings.
If they are underinflated, do not attempt to drive without first filling them to the appropriate level and ascertaining the cause of the low air levels.
If there is a leak, make sure the tire is professionally patched and/or replaced.
Check Your RV’s Weight
RV tires are only rated to withstand a certain amount of weight. Therefore, it is important to know how much your RV weighs at all times and checking to see if your tires are adequate.
RV weight can fluctuate significantly based on the amount of stuff loaded for a trip or the number of passengers present, so it is not a good idea to assume that the weight will always be consistent.
In addition to weighing the entire RV, it is important to weigh each of the four corners individually and see if there is an area of the vehicle that is disproportionately heavy and putting one of the tires at heightened risk of a blowout.
Replace Tires at Least Every Seven Years
Tires on most passenger vehicles will typically be certified for a specific mileage level, usually between 30,000 and 50,000 miles, depending on the quality of the tires purchased.
While high mileage will undoubtedly age RV tires in the same manner, time puts RV tires at just as much risk of failure as wear and tear.
Do not assume that tires with low mileage are still in good condition. If they are more than seven years old, they should be replaced, or, at the least, professionally checked to ensure continued quality.
This seven-year replacement window should be shortened to five if the RV is parked outdoors (i.e., not under a shaded area or another form of coverage).
Read also: LT vs. ST Tires for Travel Trailers: What Works Better?
Know Date of Manufacture
When referring to the seven-year life that is typical of RV tires, some owners may think that this is from the date of tire installation.
While there is a good chance that you are getting brand new tires installed, especially if purchased from a dealership or tire vendor, you need to be extra careful when purchasing tires online or secondhand.
Just because a tire has never been mounted or driven on does not necessarily mean that the tire is new.
Therefore, it is incumbent on the RV owner to know the date of the tires’ manufacture.
This can be easily checked by looking at the sidewall of the tire. There will be a code that starts with the letters “DOT.” When this code is located, look at the last four digits.
These will tell you when the tire was manufactured. The first two digits will reveal the month, and the last two digits will specify the year.
For example, the last four digits being 0715 means that the tire was made in July of 2015.
Measure Tire Cracks
As tires age, they will begin to develop small cracks as part of the wear and tear process.
While most cracks are harmless, deeper, more profound cracks, put the tire at risk of a blowout.
When measuring cracks on your RV tires, anything greater than 2 mm in width and/or depth indicates that a replacement is necessary.
In addition, there are many helpful resources online that can show images of healthy tire tread against everyday wear and dangerous wear.
Saving for RV Tire Replacement
At an average of $300 per tire, the temptation can be great to try and run your tires for a few thousand miles more or to look at used or discount tire options for your RV.
However, given the disastrous consequences of blowing an RV tire, ensuring the condition and quality of your tires is of utmost importance.
Read also: Can You Use Truck Tires on Travel Trailers?
A good idea is to periodically save for RV tires, knowing that they will need to be replaced at least every seven years.
Like a health savings account used to soften the blow of medical expenses, contributing a small amount each month or quarter to RV tires can make the $1,000+ bill of a tire replacement palatable when the time comes.
Avoid buying tires one at a time as you save money. When replaced, you will want to make sure that your tires are the same age and not have one at greater risk of blowing out than the others.
RV tires can get to a temperature of 156°F before blowing out. As the tires will generally get about 30°F to 60°F hotter than the ambient temperature, it is important not to drive your RV in conditions above 96°F to ensure tire safety.
While these general figures provide a baseline for when to expect a tire blowout, other factors can put your tires at greater risk of failure.
Driving at moderate speeds, making use of tire covers, and keeping your tires at the correct pressure are a few of the many ways that you can help lower the risk of an RV tire blowout on the highway.
Avoid an RV Tire Blowout! >> Check out the video below:
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