How can you tell how old an RV tire is?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How can you tell how old an RV tire is? We will explain what a DOT is, discuss the lifespan of RV tires and give you a few tips to maintain them. 

How can you tell how old an RV tire is?

You can tell how old an RV tire is by inspecting the tire itself. If you pay attention to the markings on the sidewall of the tire, you will be able to read various information including the age of your tire.

This index called “DOT” or “Department of Transportation” indicates when your tire was manufactured. It can be identified by circled numbers that some call stretched bubbles or simply at the end of the “DOT” instruction.

Since 2000, this number has been made up of 4 digits. The first 2 digits correspond to the week of production knowing that there are 52 in a year. The last 2 digits represent the year of manufacture. In the 1990s, age was indicated in 3 positions, the last digit being the year 199x.

Example of  RV tires age:

  • 4208: This tire was designed in the 42nd week of 2008.
  • 4512: This tire was produced in the 45th week of 2012.
  • 258: This tire was manufactured in the 25th week of 1998.
  • 257>: This tire with a triangle was manufactured in the 25th week of the year 1997.
  • 246 <>: This diamond-shaped tire was cast in the 24th week of 1986.

Beware of tire scams. When you buy a new RV, the tires are not necessarily from the same year. Also, be careful when buying a used motorhome.

In addition, it is recommended that you change your tires as soon as they turn 6 years of age. This is because the rubber hardens over the years and deteriorates more easily.

What is the DOT of an RV tire?

Modern tires have several mandatory information on their sidewall. In addition to the name of the manufacturer and the size of the model, almost all tires are marked “DOT” (Department of Transportation). 

The four digits following these three letters correspond to the date of manufacture of the tire. The first two, ranging from 01 to 52, indicate the week in which the tire was produced, while the last two refer to the year. The number “1306” thus informs the user that the tire was designed in the thirteenth week of the year 2006.

What is the normal lifespan of an RV tire?

Manufacturers estimate that the typical lifespan of a tire is between five and ten years at most. This figure will obviously vary depending on the conditions of use or storage of the tire (more or less humid environment, thermal amplitude, etc.). 

Beyond the five-year mark, consider having all of your tires checked by an approved professional at least once a year. On the tenth anniversary, it will be highly necessary to replace the tire without asking any questions.

Obviously, the change of a tire is done more on its condition (when its legal limit of wear, puncture.) Then on its age.

The dangers of an old RV tire

Over time, the rubber on the RV tire hardens, dries out and cracks, which can end up being a real hazard when driving. Hard rubber adheres less easily to the road, especially when the road is wet. 

Microcracks will also lead to more pressure loss problems. As the rubber is harder, it tends to wear out less quickly, which can mislead the driver as to the actual condition of his tires. If in doubt, it is advisable to have them examined by a professional. 

Does the manufacturing date of a tire influence its quality?

Yes. A tire that is more than 10 years old should be changed for safety. This is because its performance deteriorates with age and the gum can harden and crack. In fact, most tire professionals recommend that tires not exceed six years between manufacture and sale to the end customer. But the state of preservation varies so much depending on the storage conditions that no length of time can be fixed by law.

The conservation of a tire varies according to its storage conditions. There is therefore no law on the life of a stored tire.

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! 

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

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.

  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. 

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.

The bottom line

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 How can you tell how old an RV tire is?

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.

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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