This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click on the links, we may earn a fee. There is no additional cost to you.
Camper tires require annual maintenance to ensure that your travels are safe. Annual maintenance also preserves the value of your camper. Take time to follow these simple maintenance tips to maintain your tires so that your vacation is not ruined by preventable issues.
One of the most important safety aspects of your camper is the tires. It is essential to know how to read the manufacture dates on tires. All tires manufactured since 2000 have a four-digit date code. Here is an example of where the code will be located on the tire. The first two numbers indicate the week in which the tires were manufactured and the second two numbers indicate the year. This tire was manufactured in the 33rd week of 2017.
In most cases, tires ruin because of dry rot or objects from the roadway. Do not wait for indications of worn tread to change your tires. Most manufacturers recommend that campers receive new tires every three to five years. Many times, when a tire blows on a travel trailer or fifth wheel, it damages the undercarriage of the trailer, creating holes in the floor of the camper.
Most trailer tires are manufactured in China. If you spend much time participating in RV forums, the term China Bombs is frequently mentioned. Many believe that factory tires are not manufactured well. Campers and Campfires recommends Goodyear Endurance tires because they are made in the United States and have an excellent track record.
When replacing tires, ensure that the load rating matches your camper’s weight. For example, the Goodyear Endurance D rated tire is an 8-ply tire rated for 2,150 pounds. If you have a dual axle trailer with four Goodyear Endurance Tires, the maximum weight of a fully loaded trailer should not exceed 8,600 pounds, or the 2,150 pounds times four tires. The Goodyear Endurance E rated tire has a maximum weight of 2,830 pounds. This indicates that four of these tires can handle a fully loaded trailer weighing 11,320 pounds.
It is essential to check the recommended maximum pounds per square inch (psi) for your tires, and to keep them properly inflated. Over or under inflation can lead to tire failure. Always know the maximum speed rating for your tires. Driving over your speed rating can also lead to tire failure.
There are several methods of prolonging the life of your camper tires. RVs tend to sit since they are not on the road every day, and as a result, they are subject to dry rot. Dry rot occurs when natural elements such as UV rays from the sun or fungus from dirt break down the tire rubber. This break down leads to structural damage such as cracks in the tire’s rubber. One inexpensive method of prevention is tire covers (Check them out on Amazon). The covers protect tires from environmental elements such as sun and ice. When ordering tire covers, measure the diameter of your tires and order the correct size. If you park your camper on dirt or grass it is best to place rubber mats (Check them out on Amazon) on the ground so that the tires do not touch the soil.
A sound tire monitoring system is recommended to ensure that your tires are safe while driving. Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) are relatively expensive, but they will pay for themselves very quickly. Campers and Campfires prefers the TireMinder Smart TPMS (Check it out on Amazon). TireMinder is easy to install and there are no problems with communication between the tires and the monitor. Less expensive options are available, but many of these systems have issues because they do not have the range required for a trailer. With many units, the tires on a trailer are too far away from the monitor inside your vehicle so they do not read accurately.
The TPMS system will monitor tire pressure as well as tire temperature. TireMinder has alarms built in if the temperature or pressure moves within dangerous limits. Also, the system will alert the driver if a blowout occurs. From experience, Campers and Campfires cannot stress the importance of tire monitoring because it is difficult to know when a tire on your trailer runs flat.
One aspect of tire safety that is often overlooked is the packing of wheel bearings. Wheel bearings on campers must be repacked or replaced on a regular basis. Most manufacturers recommend packing the wheel bearings annually or every 10,000-12,000 miles. Bearing failure is dangerous and can ruin the hub and axles of your trailer. Packing the wheel bearings is not hard, and many Youtube videos are available to teach camper owners.
Grease and rear oil seals are the main items to purchase when packing the bearings. Purchase grease (Check it out on Amazon) rated for use with wheel bearings. It is easiest to purchase your rear seals after you have removed them from the tires to ensure you buy the right size. The seals should be available at your local auto parts store. Bring an old seal into the store and they should be able to match it. While greasing the bearings, inspect them for wear and discoloration. If you see any wear or discoloration, go ahead and replace the bearings. Bearings are inexpensive and can be purchased at an auto parts store if needed.
Removing the rear oil seals from the hubs can be a difficult task. This video will help with the process. Do not worry that you will destroy the seals because they will be replaced. However, there are probably numbers on the seals so record the numbers first if possible.
Allot time for tire maintenance. Tires are one, if not the most critical aspect of safety while traveling. If neglected, they can severely damage your camper. A little time and preventative maintenance goes a long way and can save a great deal of money.
How do to keep your tires in top running condition? We would love to learn from you. Please drop us a line in the comment section below!