Are RV tires different?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Are RV tires different? We will explain what is the difference between RV tires and other vehicles tires, and how to properly maintain them. 

Are RV tires different?

Yes, RV tires are different from truck, van, trailer or car tires.  The quality of your tires plays an important role in your RV trip. Good tires will save you money in potential repairs, cause accidents, and can potentially save lives. As with all vehicles, the tires are the point of contact between the motorhome and the road. 

RV tires must guarantee:

  • good braking
  • good acceleration and 
  • good cornering. 

Special tires for motorhomes must withstand the load of the vehicle parked for a long time and ensure good road holding during long journeys!

If you plan to change RV tires, here are some good practices to follow:

  • Fit a dimension approved by the manufacturer
  • Do not fit a tire of different diameter
  • Do not fit a tire with a load or speed index lower than the original tire.

In all cases, remember that it is strongly recommended to call on the services of a professional for this type of operation.

How are RV tires different?

RV are heavy and tall vehicles. Their wheels have fairly small diameters (usually 15 or 16 inches) and high sidewall heights (resistance to weight and comfort). To adapt to the specifics of the motorhome, manufacturers manufacture very strong and enduring tire profiles. 

Utility tires are likely to match the size of RV tires, but they do not quite meet the same performance needs, especially for weight support at prolonged stopping. Tires created to withstand the weight constraints of the motorhome are marked with the CP logo. They are the most compliant and suitable for the weight of a motorhome.

Since 2003, the European Tyre and Rim Technical Organization have recommended that manufacturers mark tires designed for motorhomes with the CP mark. This mention is visible on the sidewall of the tire. It should be noted that the C marking remains in force for the other commercial tires. The tires marked CP has been developed with particular load distribution constraints, mainly on the rear axles with single mounting.

It is according to the technical parameters of the motorhomes that the manufacturers of (Adria Mobil, Globe-traveler, Challenger, etc.) choose their original tires. It is strongly recommended not to replace these original tires with other sizes or of another type without first consulting the vehicle manufacturer or the tire manufacturer. Particular attention must be paid to load and speed indices: it is strictly forbidden to fit tires with indices lower than the initial ones.

How to prolong the life of your RV tires

Maintaining your RV tires is essential if you want to be safe on the road and extend their utility:  

  1. The importance of checking tire pressure: To ensure good stability and safety, the tires of a motorhome must be inflated to the correct pressure. This point of vigilance is particularly sensitive for motorhomes: incorrect pressure can seriously damage your safety! 

In addition to endangering the behaviour of the vehicle, it is possible to considerably damage the tires. The volume of air inside your motorhome tire determines the load it is able to withstand. In other words, if you reduce the pressure of a tire, its load capacity decreases.

Another consequence of an improperly inflated tire is the consumption of the motorhome. Less serious for your safety but annoying for your budget. Also, with poor inflation pressure, tires are susceptible to premature wear. Riding under the correct pressure will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Our advice to ensure that your motorhome has the right tire pressure:

  • Refer to the manufacturer’s manual for the correct pressure
  • Adjust the pressure of your cold tires, before driving
  • Never reduce the pressure of your hot tires
  • Check that the valve is not leaking and that it has a plug

Note: from the pressure of 4.75 bars to which certain motorhome tires are subjected, the wheels must be fitted with specific valves.

Also, note that some tires – like the Michelin Agilis Camping – are specially designed to perform at high pressure (5.5 bars). Higher pressure gives them better road holding, as well as increased resistance to the stresses imposed on motorhomes (heavy load, prolonged stationary state, etc.).

  1. Check the condition of the tires: It is important to regularly check the condition of the tires before and during your stay in a motorhome. If the vehicle has not been driven for a long time, it is necessary to inspect the tires thoroughly for signs of wear or degradation. 

An RV parked for several weeks wears out … especially near coastal areas. The sun and the heat are very strong factors of wear: it is advisable to cover the tires and protect the vehicle as much as possible from the sun’s rays! In order to relieve the tires during a prolonged stop, you can jack up your motorhome or jacks to reduce the load it will have to bear.

As a reminder, the minimum tread depth on your motorhome tires must be 1.6 mm at the bottom of the main treads. In addition, it is recommended to have the general condition of the wheels of your motorhome inspected from time to time by a professional. It is a good idea to have the tread, sidewalls and valves examined for any signs of wear (cracks, cracks, etc.).

A tire that is more than 10 years old must be changed, even if it does not appear worn to you. Given the few kilometres per year that motorhomes often do, you have to be vigilant on this point, a tire that is more than 10 years old can fail you at any time.

  1. Adapt your speed: Riding in a motorhome means adapting your speed. These vehicles do not have a conventional load distribution and this affects driving and their behaviour on the road. It is recommended not to exceed speed limits, which can sometimes be reduced for heavy vehicles.
  1. Avoid overloading and distribute the load: Motorhomes have a maximum load capacity indicated by the manufacturer. Beyond this limitation, the stability of the motorhome is no longer guaranteed. It is very important to distribute the load in the motorhome so as not to overload one or more wheels. 

If the vehicle is loaded unevenly, the driver may encounter tire problems that could lead to the bursting or rupture of the casing …

It is essential to charge your motorhome intelligently so as not to jeopardize the safety of passengers. The police have the right to intervene or even to penalize motorhome drivers whose vehicle is carrying an excessive load or whose load is distributed in a dangerous manner.

Tip: If your RV is loaded and you cannot better optimize the distribution of your belongings, try reducing the load by 10%. This margin may compensate for the uneven distribution of the load. To find out the weight of your loaded motorhome, you can use a public weighbridge.

Conclusions

As we mentioned above, the condition of the tires is crucial for a safe journey in your RV. Even if you don’t use your motorhome continuously, the tires will wear out over time and you will have to replace them with new ones. 

Knowing when to change your RV tires is a little less obvious. It is possible not to notice the wear on the tires since they are on the road less often than cars. However, they should still be changed quite often.

If you have any tips, comments or questions about the content, please let us know!

FAQ on Are RV tires different?

What are the best tires for a Class A motorhome?

The best tires for a Class A motorhome are the Goodyear Wrangler Fortitude and Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armor Tires. On our list, there is also the Michelin XPS RIB Truck Radial Tire, Goodyear Unisteel G614 RST Radial Tire and the Sailun S637 Trailer Radial Tire.

Why do you cover RV tires?

You should cover your RV tires to protect them against harsh weather or UV exposure, as both can damage the tires in the long run.

How do you know if your RV tires are bad?

You know if your RV tires are bad if 1/8 of an inch is down, they have cracks or dry rot more than 1/16 of an inch deep.

References

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