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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!

We have had many trailers, motorhomes, and trucks over the years and have had to replace tires on all of them for various reasons. In this article, we will explore the factors that affect the lifespan of RV tires and provide tips on how to maintain and extend their longevity. From proper storage to regular inspections, we will cover everything you need to know to ensure that your RV tires are safe, reliable, and ready for your next adventure.

RV tire replacement
New Tire versus Old Tire. This set actually aged out at 8 years and over 50k miles but you can see the tire had some damage

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 many miles can RV tires last?

As mentioned above, RV tires rarely meet their mileage limits before their age, but in some cases, they can. Smaller trailer tires tend to only get 10-15k miles before they might need replacement. Larger fifth wheels usually get between 20 and 30k out of their tires, but we have had a set last us 50k. Motorhomes with passenger tires (car or light truck) see similar mileage to a car but maybe a bit less due to weight. Usually between 30 and 50k. Large commercial motorhome tires can last upwards of 100k if they are well cared for. These tires have much more tread and are much stronger as they are typically the same tires used on commercial busses and semi-trucks. These tires almost always age out on an RV before they wear out.

All of these numbers of course, are in good condition. If the alignment gets off, tire pressures are wrong or the RV is overloaded, the tires could wear much faster.

Pro Tip: You’ll want to avoid buying the wrong type of tires for your RV. Learn more about the special tires your RV needs.

How Old Is Too Old for RV Tires? 

Although some people say you can run your tires for up to 10 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. 

In general, larger motorhome tires tend to last a little longer than automotive and trailer tires. Manufacturers provide recommended service life for a tire. We will say that 10 years is the absolute maximum we would ever recommend running any tire. We personally change our RV tires at 7 years or sooner depending on the condition.

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 for operation and safety.

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 6 years if you do not have manufacturer data that says otherwise. At the 6-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. Sometimes the code will start with the letters “DOT.” Other times the code is just 4 numbers in an oval. 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, “DOT4020 (or just 4020)” means your tires were made in October 2020.

tire date code chart
These tires were made in October of 2020

Pro Tip: If you discover your RV tires have been slashed, Here’s What to Do.

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 need to check and 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.

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VIAIR 400P-RV - 40047 Tire Inflator Portable Air...
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At the very least, check your tires before and after every road trip with a tire pressure gauge.

Sale
AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge 0-150PSI...
  • 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 valves...

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Installing a tire pressure monitoring system 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.  

Cover Tires

Another way to protect your tires is to minimize the impact of the elements. This means keeping them out of 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.

If possible keeping the RV in a garage when not using it is the best way to help tires last the longest.

Tire Covers to prevent weathering
Tire covers can help prevent premature weathering

Driving Is Good For Tires

Another simple and basically free way to ensure tire safety is to drive. Tires that sit too long can develop flat spots. Oils in the exterior of the rubber get washed off and can cause cracking. Driving the tires helps move the oils around and keep them from failing prematurely. Going for a drive long enough to warm up the tires every few months is very beneficial.

Lots of RV tires
Thats a lot of tires so its best to make them last as long as possible!

Replace Your Tires Before They Cause A Problem

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 6 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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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Gara Dawn Halicky

Tuesday 25th of July 2023

If I bought a 2020 bus but the tires were manufactured in 2017 but not put on the rv until 2019 I have to replace them 3 years after I buy them?

Mortons on the Move

Monday 18th of September 2023

For safety sake yes... That is very frustrating that tires would sit so long before being installed, we always ask for date codes before installing tires.

Ken Duhm

Wednesday 10th of May 2023

Just as tires should be covered for UV protection, tires should be "protected" from the ground - concrete, asphalt, gravel. If I stay for a month or longer, I place a board, styrofoam or a floor mat beneath each tire. Research is available or talk to an antique car collector.

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!