Vacations and RV travel season is upon us. Because of the cost of RV tires and the risk associated with blowouts on a large vehicle or towable, routinely maintaining your RV’s tires is essential. To help bring awareness to the importance of tire safety, Coach-Net is reminding RV owners to follow tire safety best practices. Proper care and maintenance of your vehicle’s tires can improve vehicle handling, fuel economy, increase the life of your tires and help protect you from avoidable breakdowns and accidents. The following tips outline the fundamentals of tire maintenance in your RV care routine:
- 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.
To help take the sting out of those unexpected expenses, Coach-Net’s Hazard Protect product provides comprehensive tire and wheel hazard protection. With terms available from one to seven years, Hazard Protect covers all types of new and used recreational vehicles from common road hazards such as metal, nails, screws, potholes, glass and debris.