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How Long Do RV Tires Last? A Simple Explanation

How Long Do RV Tires Last? A Simple Explanation

You’re about to hit the road on a long, cross-country road trip. You check the tread on your tires and everything looks good. So, you’re good to go right? Well, not so fast. How long do RV tires last and still operate safely?  Not as long as you might think!

RV tire replacement
New Tire – Old Tire. This set actually aged out at 8 years and over 50k miles

How Long Do RV Tires Last? 

To get to the bottom of the question, “How long do RV tires last?” we need to consider several things.

People usually change car tires when they have a certain amount of wear. Once the tread has worn down, your tires aren’t as grippy, won’t stop as well, and are more prone to slipping. Obviously, this can be a safety hazard. But with RV tires, wear is just one consideration because RVs usually don’t get driven as many miles as a car.

You could have plenty of treads left on your RV tires and still need to replace them. That is because a huge (and often overlooked) factor for how long RV tires last is their age. You should replace your RV tires at least every 5 to 8 years, even if they haven’t seen a lot of miles.

How Old Is Too Old for RV Tires? 

Although most people say you can run your tires for up to 6 years, we think it is best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation. Some will be as low as 5 years, while others could last 10.  Depending on the tire size and what materials the manufacturers use, the tires will “age out” at different times. 

Why Should You Replace RV Tires Every Few Years? 

Maybe you could squeeze a few more years out of your RV tires. But the older your tires are, the higher your risk of a blowout. Your RV tires are one of the most important parts of your RV. Think of them as the shoes of the RV. They support and carry your rig (a.k.a. a small house) down the road, so they do a lot of work. If not properly maintained, they can be one of the biggest safety risks.

Considering how large and heavy an RV is, the thought of a blowout at high speeds is downright terrifying. It could total your RV and kill you and others if the worst were to happen. It is scary stuff, but it is so important to keep in mind.

Tire blow on Highway

Because the tires become much less safe with age, we recommend replacing the tires at 5 years if you do not have manufacturer data that says otherwise. At the 5-year point, you get plenty of use out of your tires while maximizing safety.    

Source: americastire.com

Your RV tires may last a shorter amount of time if you drive frequently and wear them out. If they have a lot of wear or any sidewall damage or bulges, replace them immediately. A few hundred dollars isn’t worth the astronomical costs of life and property that can result from having bad tires.  

Weather Damage

Another factor in how long RV tires last is related to hidden dangers. You may see some of these, but others can easily escape notice.

RV tires frequently spend a lot of time exposed to the elements both at RV parks and in storage. All this time outside exposed to the elements can lead to UV damage and/or dry rot. Both are recipes for disaster when you hit the next bump in the road.  

We highly recommend that RV tires be covered to keep direct sun off them when not being used. UV light from the sun breaks down compounds in the rubber and will age your tires even faster. 

How to Find Out How Old Your RV Tires Are

If you bought your RV 3 years ago, that doesn’t necessarily mean your RV tires are only 3 years old. So how on earth are you supposed to know how long your RV tires will last?! Luckily, there is a pretty simple trick for determining tire age.

Your tires will have a code on the side that gives you this information if you know how to read it. The code will start with the letters “DOT.” After that, there are 4 numbers. At first glance, these numbers may appear to mean nothing, but these are the key to knowing your tire’s exact age.

Here’s how to read them: The first 2 numbers are the week that your RV tires were made. If it says 32, that means they were made in the 32nd week of the year or the beginning of August. And the second 2 numbers tell you the year. So, if it says 18, they were made in 2018. Therefore, “DOT3218” means your tires were made in August 2018.

RV Tire Safety Tips

Besides replacing your tires every 5 to 10 years, there are some other simple things you can do to stay safe. Upon departure and arrival of any road trip, thoroughly inspect all your tires. Make sure the tread is good, and there are no bulges or gouges in the side walls.

Proper RV Tire Inflation

Another RV tire safety tip is to ensure proper inflation. You need to inflate your tires to the appropriate PSI without being under or over-inflated. Both extremes can cause a host of issues.

To ensure proper tire pressure, you may need to inflate or deflate your tires even over the course of a trip. This is especially true if you experience dramatic temperature or elevation changes. We highly recommend getting a portable air compressor made by Viair. These are very rugged and reliable systems, specially designed for RVs.

Viair 400P - 40047 RV Automatic Portable...
  • Thermal Overload Protector
  • Automatic Shut-Off Function
  • Primary & Extension Air Hoses

At the very least, check your tires before and after every road trip with a tire pressure gauge.

Sale
AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge 150 PSI 4...
  • ▲Check out our VIDEO on the left side and take a quick tour of...
  • Designed to maintain correct tire pressure, reduce tire wear and...
  • Nozzle easily forms a seal with the valve stem on schrader...

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Installing a tire pressure monitor is also a smart choice. That way you know the exact PSI of your RV tires at all times, even while driving. If you puncture a tire while driving, you can sometimes save it if you don’t drive too far on it. However, if you don’t know you are getting a flat, you can end up destroying the tire completely. Or, if you are getting a flat on a dual tire axle, it could cause a blowout on the second tire.  

— Insert links to TPMS. 

Another way to protect your tires is to minimize the impact of the elements. This means keeping them out of freezing or extremely hot temperatures. As mentioned earlier, you can also protect your RV tires to make them last longer by using a tire cover to block out damaging UV rays.

Another simple and basically free way to ensure tire safety is to clean your tires. Using soap and water to wipe off dirt and debris will help you see any issues that may be hiding under the grime. You should do this at the end of each trip and before you put your RV into storage for the season.

So how long do RV tires last? Well, it depends. But we recommend following the manufacturer’s recommendation or changing out your RV tires at least every 5 years (and sooner if needed). This gives you the most bang for your buck while keeping you safe. Following some simple safety practices will also help your tires stay safe for longer. When the fate of your RV rests squarely on your tires, it is worth the time and effort to do things right. 

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Cyrus Juliet

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

An RV tire should last around 6 years before needing to be replaced. However, regardless of its condition, you should change your tire at least once every 5 to 8 years. In this manner, you can keep your mind at ease while driving.

Whitney Broussard

Tuesday 24th of August 2021

Michelin says 10 years max so I change out my steer tires every 5years then put those tire after 5 years as the tag. That way my steer and tags are new every 5 and I drive the others up to 10 depending on my inspections as if one of those 4 blow it's not as catastrophic as the steer

Mortons on the Move

Wednesday 25th of August 2021

Smart plan! As you point out, the important thing is to inspect the tires reasonably often.

Glen Taylor

Saturday 21st of August 2021

It's also been a while since I've changed the tires, after checking it was fine but just to be sure I found out how long the RV tires can be used. Your article is very helpful for me.

Mortons on the Move

Saturday 21st of August 2021

Glad you found the article helpful!

Jay Schwartz

Sunday 4th of April 2021

Watching the video of the tire blowout, I wonder why the RV was in the fast lane (#1). Aren't RVs limited to 55 mph and therefore should be in the slow lane? Also, it was very interesting to watch all the cars slowing down, yet only one vehicle stopped to help. It appears everyone else was too busy to be a Good Samaritan.

Mortons on the Move

Monday 5th of April 2021

It depends on the state what the speed for an RV is, but most states don't have a limit. Personally, we don't drive faster than 65 but some trailer tires are only rated at 55. Speed is almost always your enemy with an RV.

Tsippi

Sunday 4th of April 2021

When I first bought my motorhome, I was in a Covid-related huge hurry to hit the road and get to my elderly mother's house. I thus had 3,000 miles on the rig before I finally had Borg stems and valve extensions and a TST TPMS system installed. In retrospect, that was a huge mistake. I should have postponed my departure for a week and taken care of everything. Driving through 120 degree temps in mid-July with no easy way to check my tire pressure or temperature was plain stupid. I encourage people to take care of ensuring they can check their tire pressure easily and monitor their tire pressure and temperature while en route prior to hitting the road in their new RVs. Incidentally, I have a very inexpensive motorhome, but I have spared no expense in after-puchase safety upgrades. I would encourage people to budget for those upgrades before they make their purchase.

Mortons on the Move

Monday 5th of April 2021

We couldn't agree more! Taking a little extra time and budgeting for safety measures at the outset is so important. As the old saying goes, "it's better to be safe than sorry."

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