While you can save a few dollars by buying a used motorhome, the one thing you never want to buy used are tires, or even worse, keep driving on low or no tread tires.
You are at risk for yourself, your passengers, and all other motor users. It can be difficult to know when the right time to change your tires are.
Not every motorhome’s computer dashboard (if you have one) will tell you.
The general rule of thumb is to replace motorhome tires anywhere between 3 and 5.5 years. The years and number of miles will vary depending on the type of roads driven on, and the weight of the motorhome. The heavier your motorhome can reduce mileage by up to 20% and need tire changes more often.
As good is it is to know when to change your tires, there are things to monitor and keep a check on to make sure you get as much last out of your current tires as possible.
In this post we will look at some ways to extend your tires life, as well as some of the tell-tale signs to know when it is definitely time to replace yours!
How to determine if you need new tires
Tires are one of the most important parts of your motorhome and should be inspected before every trip.
Although the tires on your motorhome are designed to deliver a safe, smooth ride it’s subject to a number of forces, many beyond your control, that can wear them out prematurely.
If your motorhome tires are worn below the tread limit, you may be putting yourself and your family at risk. It is just not worth it to save a few dollars.
Here are some of the ways to check the condition of your tires to find out if they need replacing.
Inspecting Your Tires
We may travel in a motorhome regularly but when it comes down to detecting whether a tire is good, bad, average or on its last legs is something that a lot of people struggle to do.
With all the advancements in tire technology, it can be hard to figure out when a new set of tires is necessary.
Thankfully, there are several ways to tell if your tires need replacing:
Signs of Tire Wear or Damage
Just like most other things, a tire shows the majority of it’s wear and tear on the outside.
This means it makes spotting for trouble spots on a tire relatively easy.
Here are a few of the things you need to be aware of, and be constantly looking out for:
- Wearing of the tire edge can be a sign of poor alignment, and this alone can lead to the need to replace your tire. You are looking for worn out or frayed edges
- Cracking along the edge of the could be a result of dry rot in the tire. This could lead to a blowout, so best to investigate the problem with a professional at the very least
- Stones, chips, and sharp objects can lead to all sorts of tire problems. Some can easily be removed, especially those caight between the tire tread – but road objects that have become impaled into your tire can lead to permanent damage.
- You can find out the age of your tires by a simple mark on the tire itself. The age of the tire can help you work out whether it is time to replace. You are looking for four digits – for example ‘2616’ which indicates that the tire was made on the 26th week of 2016 (the end of June 2016).
Tire rotation is a preventive maintenance service performed on vehicles to reduce uneven tire wear and help extend tire life.
The importance of tire rotation is something that a lot of drivers rarely consider.
With high mileage and as much rain and snow North America has to endure every year, your tires will need to be rotated regularly.
As your tires age and lose rubber, they also lose traction, making acceleration and braking harder.
This great video from 1A Auto helps explain further about tire rotation, why you should rotate your tires and how to – and a helpful instructional video:
Keeping Tire Pressure Up
Checking your tire pressure is one of the simplest things you can do to improve your motorhomes performance.
Surprisingly, 42% of drivers in the U.S. hardly ever check their tire pressure!
Improper tire pressure can lead to poor fuel economy, tread wear and even blowouts. As a result, it’s important to check your tires at least once a month and adjust your tire pressure if necessary.
A tire pressure gauge is an amazingly simple, but so necessary, gadget that means you can check your tire pressure in minutes.
They are light weight, and easy to use for almost everyone.
Your tire’s inflation pressure should be shown on the driver’s door, or in your owners-manual.
If you can’t find your tire inflation pressure, then this helpful Tire Pressure PDF Chart from Goodyear should help.
Legal Tread Depth – 2/32 Inches
Tires must, by U.S. law, have a minimum tread of 2/32 inch. This should be visible through tread indicator bars on all tires.
The Penny Test
According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, one way of checking your tread is to do the ‘Penny Test’.
Insert a penny into the thread grove or ‘slot’ but do it in a way so that Lincoln’s head is facing down.
If you can see past the top of his head, your tires are now no longer road suitable, are dangerous to use, and should be replaced immediately.
Extending the Life of Your Tires
Although the technology for building tires has advanced significantly in recent years, tires are still not designed to last forever.
In fact, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that more than 2 million tires fail each year due to tread separation or other structural problems.
While you can’t completely prevent a blowout, you can take steps to boost the longevity of your tires.
- Make sure you buy the right size tires for your motorhome
- Keep your tires balanced and aligned, to save excess wear on the tires edge
- Check your tire pressure of each wheel before every trip – a tire pressure gauge is a really helpful gadget to have!
- Avoid driving through any deep or flood water or rocky surfaces – and drive extra slow along gravel roads, or avoid them altogether if possible
- Look for cracks, embedded stones or nails or sharp objects wedged in your tires
How much does it cost to replace Motorhome tires?
On the whole, the cost of a Motorhome tire is between $220-$400. The cost of the tire will depend on the size of the motorhome and the brand of tire. Professional fitting can also increase the overall cost.