By: Jade Bainbridge, Owner of OK Tire Stettler, Alberta
With prime camping and RV season upon us, Canadian’s will surely be ready to comfortably immerse themselves in the experience as long as it is deemed safe to do so.
However, whether you’re a seasoned RV’er or new to the community, there are several things to think about when it comes to what you need out of your tires for the season. Motor homes have different tire types than the sedan sitting in your driveway. Ensuring your RV is equipped with proper, sturdy tires is the most important part of operating your vehicle responsibly and having a safe trip.
Spring is a convenient time to replace your tires as summer road trips are right around the corner. Be sure to consider these essential tire tips, taking you from a Robin Williams in the movie “RV” to an experienced owner ready for the road ahead.
Various trailers come with bias tires as original equipment, and when it comes time to change your tires, it’s an excellent idea to seize the opportunity and upgrade to radial tires. Though bias tires typically cost less, radial tires are always recommended for their quality and longevity. Due to the way radial tires are constructed, they provide a smoother ride, ensure the RV doesn’t bounce or sway, and tend to be more resistant to punctures when compared to bias tires. This is because the cords on a radial tire run straight across from bead to bead, allowing for more flex in the tire and a lower rolling resistance. In bias tires, the cords are overlapped from bead to bead and are more rigid.
Tire Age and Wear:
The age of your tires plays a huge role in the safety of your vehicle or trailer. If the tires are older than five years, they most likely need to be replaced. After five years, your tires are much more likely to deteriorate, and this can impact the vehicle’s safety when driving or towing an RV. All tires are stamped with a DOT number that indicates the week and year in which they were manufactured by the four last digits. For example, if the last four numbers of the DOT are 2615, the tires were made in the 26th week of the year 2015.
Many tire brands and models are fairly generic in their tread design for RVs and trailers. Blackhawk tires are a highly dependable, great-quality class of tires that are expertly engineered with bold tread patterns to provide maximum safety and agility in your vehicle. If you are considering Blackhawk tires check out your nearest OK Tire location for more information.
Something else to keep in mind is the ply rating of your tires. Ply rating refers to how many layers of rubber the tire encompasses. Though some tires contain the same number of ply around the entire tire, others may have different amounts of tread and sidewall ply. The higher the ply rating (or the load range), the more weight your tire can carry. Experts suggest always going up in ply if you can – even if your RV or trailer came with 8-ply tires, 10-ply tires would be a smart upgrade to make as your vehicle weight increases as you are loading it. It is standardized for RV manufacturers to disclose your vehicle’s weight and load capacity in a placard that is typically attached to the motor home door on the driver’s side, easily accessible for you to find.
Part of being a responsible RV or trailer owner also includes remembering to have a spare tire. Keeping a spare tire on hand will ensure you’re prepared to face any scenarios, but you don’t want to have just any spare tire. Though having the exact same brand doesn’t matter, your spare tire should match in size and load-carrying capacity to the other tires on your motor home vehicle.
Aside from simply purchasing new tires when they need to be replaced, it’s also key to regularly maintain and inspect the tires you do have. Monitoring your tire pressure is vital – improper tire pressure can result in uneven wear and, in the worst of cases, a tire blowout which could cause detrimental damage to your motor home vehicle. It’s also common to come across trailers with bent axels, which can also precipitate uneven tire wear.
One part of routine tire maintenance that is often overlooked includes servicing the wheel bearings – this should be done around every 30,000 km or every other year, depending on how often you use your vehicle.
Stay mindful of your battery; if unused for long periods, it can lose its charge and fail to work altogether. Occasionally starting up your vehicle is an essential part of regular maintenance that will help avoid running into unwanted surprises.
Whether you are an avid RV enthusiast or only take it out once a year for your family’s annual camping trip, it’s essential to properly maintain your motor home and its equipment – especially its tires. If you’re unsure about tire choice or maintaining your RV or trailer, bring it to your nearest OK Tire location, where an expert will help you understand everything you need to know. Ensuring that your tires are of high quality, in good condition, and designed for your vehicle’s needs and weight bearings is part of the journey that comes with being a responsible RV owner.