BAM! We've literally had THREE of our six RV tires and two of the ones on our cargo trailer blow on the road. Each one sounds like a bomb exploding; and each can cause a differing degree of damage. For example, one derailed our plans for the premiere of a Star Wars event and another caved in part of our side battery compartment. Basically, the foundation of each RV consists of its tires. They aren't glamorous but they are among the three most important aspects of a home on wheels. The compromise of any of them can cause a spin out or even the collapse of the structure of the vehicle. And did I mention that these issues typically occur on Sundays when most repair shops are closed? Experts suggest replacement up to every seven years. But what do you get, and how do you maintain them?
RV Tires 101
Buy early and buy often is the best principle. By waiting, you anticipate blowouts on the road and possible additional damage to your rig or even other people's vehicles! Most experts suggest you get new tires (especially if you travel frequently) no less often than every seven years.
So Then What?
How do you know what to get? Begin by reading through your RV owner's manual; it often has all of the information you need in regards to the size, sidewall strength, load rating, weight ratings, and type of RV tire you require. Then you need to make sure to keep your tires properly inflated and keep an eye out for wear (or punctures that may happen on the road). Paying special attention to the interior tires is particularly important as these issues are way less obvious but actually capable of doing far more structural damage if they blow.
There are several additional aspects that should influence what type and brand of tire you buy. For example you wouldn't purchase the same wheel if you're traveling the southwest, as you would in Alaska. The temperature and terrain are vastly different. Plus, driving in the mountains requires a different set than passing down the Interstate. Maintain
Vigilance is the name of the game in tire maintenance. Check and correct your tire pressure at every stop. Use a tire club (the same as what truck drivers use) to gauge the soundness of the rubber's structure. Visually inspect them for punctures or wear when you stop and replace them regularly. Yes, it's expensive to replace a tire and it'll likely put you on the sidelines for an hour (or in our case a week) but you, your passengers, and the surrounding drivers are worth it.
Basically, you want the best value for your price-point. That said, used is not usually the way to go; as previously mentioned, there's a limited life to a tire. Costco, Sam's Club, truck tire dealers are generally going to be less expensive than RV parts stores like Camping World and RV World. Shop around when you have the time and money; and don't wait until it's too late!