Outdoor enthusiasts who operate Class A diesel motorhomes and other motorized RVs are accustomed to checking their wheels as part of their pre-trip inspections. However, those with towable campers can sometimes take their tires for granted, even though they are vital components of any rig. Since they create the ability to carry and transport the weight of your cargo, maintaining your tires is essential. Putting off replacing your trailer’s tires is not only dangerous, but it can lead to a multitude of problems down the road. Before you decide to trek across the country with your new fifth wheel RV or other trailer, RVT has provided a few indicators to help you understand when you might need to replace your tires.

Tire Tread

Tread provides the ability for a tire to grip to the road and maintain traction. This is especially important for trailers as they carry your camping cargo and valuables across various types of terrain.

In general, you should replace your tires once the tread has been worn to 2/32 of an inch. Most tires are equipped with “wear bars” which indicate the point at which the tire is too worn and needs replacement. Do not merely check one tire – make sure to assess all your tires for signs of wear. If all tires are the same age, yet the tread varies on each tire, there might be an alignment issue. Consult with your local RV dealer as soon as possible. Keeping an eye on the tread of your tires is essential.  

A simple method to check your tread is to use the “penny trick”. Place a penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you are able to see the top of his head, you should consider buying new tires since your tread has likely worn down too much. If you cannot see the top of his head, your tire tread should be sufficient. However, just because your tire tread is adequate, this does not mean your tires are perfect to use for your next cross-country excursion. There are a few other factors to consider.

Cracks or Punctures

Tire cracks are due to aging and excessive exposure to environmental elements, including the sun, which can make them more susceptible to punctures and blowouts. This is why choosing the best RV storage option for your travel trailer or other camper is vital as it will help maintain your tires’ functionality.

Depending where you haul your trailer may depend on the likelihood of punctures occurring. Oftentimes, punctures are a result from debris or foreign objects, such as nails, that become lodged in the tire. If you previously camped in a rugged setting with excess debris on the road, it is imperative that you check your tires.

Both cracks and punctures can lead to a loss of air in your tires. Though these problems may not be clearly visible while visually assessing your tires, pay careful attention to the frequency with which you have to fill your tires with air. Driving on a low or flat tire can lead to a blowout, which is particularly dangerous when you are hauling valuables in your trailer.

Tire Age

Even if your trailer’s tires appear to be adequate – sufficient tread, no cracks, punctures, or flatness from air loss – they may still need to be replaced due to their age. Tire manufacturers provide specifications on the service life of the tire. Typically, tires will stay good for about five years under normal use and proper maintenance; however, old tires are susceptible to internal cracks which can lead to separation of the steel belts.

To assess the age of your tires, look for the DOT serial number on the inside sidewall close to the rim of your wheels. The letters and numbers next to “DOT” represent where and when the tire was manufactured, as well as the tire size.

Mileage and weather are major factors that dictate the frequency of tire replacement. If you store your used toy hauler or other RV trailer in a well-protected garage, away from environmental influences, your tires will have a longer lifespan than those stored in hot, outdoor environments. Regardless of the way in which your trailer is stored, it is ideal to replace its tires after five years.

Tires are a crucial feature of your trailer. Understanding when to replace your trailer’s tires is important not only for the contents it is carrying, but also the safety of yourself, your passengers and others on our Highways. By keeping these indicators in check, you will have more peace of mind when you tow your trailer or drive your motorhome to your next camping adventure. 

If you are interested in shopping for a new or used camper trailer, browse all the current listings on RVT.com.

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