One of the scariest aspects of towing or driving an RV is the dreaded RV tire blowout. Maybe you’ve heard horror stories about RVs running off the road. Or perhaps you’ve experienced a blowout yourself and never want it to happen again.
Although nothing is 100% guaranteed, there are some ways to avoid having an RV tire blowout on drive days. Let’s look at how to prevent such a delay, as well as what to do if you have to change out a blown tire.
Table of Contents
- What Causes RV Tire Blowouts?
- Avoiding an RV Tire Blowout
- Recovering From an RV Tire Blowout
- Fixing an RV Tire Blowout
- Does Insurance Cover RV Tire Blowouts?
- How Badly Will a Tire Blowout Damage Your RV?
- Keep an Eye on Your RV Tires
What Causes RV Tire Blowouts?
Sometimes RV tire blowouts happen. You do everything you can to prevent them and still have to deal with this problem. Thankfully, these instances are rare. More often, RV tire blowouts occur because of under-inflated, cheap, and worn-out tires, as well as overloaded trailers.
Regardless of why it happens, it never occurs at a convenient time. You’re enjoying a drive day, expecting to arrive at your next destination at a particular time, when BOOM! Your day is now ruined, delayed, and expensive.
Tire blowouts are particularly dangerous when they happen on the steer (front) tires of any vehicle. This is because they are more likely to cause loss of control.
Avoiding an RV Tire Blowout
As just mentioned, RV tire blowouts usually don’t happen randomly. RV tire blowouts happen more frequently to owners who don’t watch their tire pressure, don’t take care of their tires, and overload their RVs.
Let’s look more closely at some RV safety tips, so you can avoid a potential delay in your travels at the very least or a severe accident at the very worst.
Keep an Eye on Your Tire Pressure
Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) monitor the tire pressure and temperature as you drive. They’ll alert you if you have a sudden increase or decrease. The hope is that you have enough time to slow down, get to the side of the road, and check out the tire before experiencing a blowout.
These aren’t fail-proof. They don’t prevent 100% of tire failures. However, even the owners who have a TPMS and still endured an RV tire blowout usually recommend all RVers install one.
When the tire pressure is too low, the sidewalls begin to flex excessively. This can quickly overheat a tire and cause the rubber to break down leading to an explosive loss of pressure. This is also why it’s essential to check your tire pressure before driving. Always check every tire before traveling and continue to check as you go along.
If you stop at a truck stop, check the tire pressure before leaving. When you stop and grab lunch, check the tire pressure before getting back on the road. If one tire is significantly lower than the others, it’s a pretty good sign that something is wrong with that tire.
Replace Tires When Needed
There are a couple of times when tires need replacing. Most RVers will suggest immediately replacing tires when you purchase an RV. The standard tires on a travel trailer or fifth wheel are often cheap. It’s worth installing new, quality tires rated for heavy loads.
Pro Tip: Choosing the correct tires for your RV is key to a safe and successful journey. Here’s how to Avoid Buying the Wrong Type for Your Camper.
Another time you’ll need to replace your tires is when you notice significant wear and tear. Don’t put off getting new tires. When tires are old, they don’t hold up as well. The traction isn’t as good.
Please pay attention to the dates on your tires and replace them when needed. It’s expensive to install good RV tires, but it’s worth it to travel safely down the road.
Watch Your Weight
Another critical factor is the weight you put on the tires. RV tires are rated differently. Their weight limit is on the outside of the tire, so it’s easy to find. If each tire can handle 3,400 lbs, don’t put 4,000 lbs of weight on them. Your cargo-carrying capacity may be 1,700 lbs, but if you add that weight to the dry weight of your RV, make sure the tires can carry that load.
Also know your weight! Get your RV weighed at a commercial scale at a truck stop. It’s fast and easy and you will know quickly if your tires are overloaded.
This is also why it’s a good idea to install new tires from a quality tire company after purchasing your RV. You can choose to spend more to make sure the tires on your rig can easily carry your weight.
Keep Your Tires Out of the Heat
Finally, another way to avoid an RV tire blowout is to protect your tires when stationary. The psi changes with every 10 degrees of temperature increase. If you’re parked on a cement slab for a month with little to no shade, you’ll need to put on tire covers to protect them from the sun.
Not only does heat affect the tire pressure, but it also affects the life of your tires. Sun damage is real. Tires become weaker and are more prone to disintegrating when you’re driving down the road at high speeds. Protect your tires, so you don’t have to deal with an RV tire blowout.
Install Rettrobands on Your Motorhome
Rettrobands are products you can have installed on your motorhome’s steering tires (the front tires). While this product doesn’t prevent an RV tire blowout, it can help you avoid the catastrophic effects of one. If your tire were to blow with a Rettroband installed, the motorhome would safely ride on the polyurethane band instead of the rim. This helps stabilize the RV and prevent a loss of control.
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Recovering From an RV Tire Blowout
Even if you follow these suggestions, there’s still a chance you might experience a blowout. Perhaps you left a rest area 30 minutes prior and checked the tire pressure before you headed back out on the interstate. And yet, you hear a loud pop and see pieces of tire strewn all over the highway.
First, don’t panic and don’t slam on the brakes. Rather, lift your foot off the gas pedal, then slow down and pull over as far as you can to a safe distance off the road.
Its important not to hit the brakes because a tire rim has no traction and will lock up quickly. A locked-up rim on a blown-out tire will cause the rig to pull violently to one side and can cause a crash. Instead, focus on steering and come to a stop slowly.
Once you’ve safely parked, get out and survey the damage. If it’s minor with no significant damage to the rig, change out the tire. If it’s more severe and you can’t continue driving even with the spare tire, call for roadside assistance.
Fixing an RV Tire Blowout
If you can replace the blown tire with your camper’s spare tire, go ahead and do this. Use a jack to prop up your RV, remove the lug nuts, and carefully take off the blown tire. Wear gloves because the interior of a tire is sharp and will cut you if you aren’t careful.
Replace the tire with a spare tire and secure the lug nuts. Lower the jack and put the blown tire in the back of your truck or other location so you can properly dispose of it later.
Depending on the level of damage and how rattled you may be, you might want to find a tire center and replace all of the tires immediately. Or you might want to get another spare before driving much farther down the road.
If you don’t have an emergency roadside kit, you should get one. It’s always a good idea to put out reflective warning triangles behind your RV. This alerts drivers, especially semi-truck drivers, of a hazard ahead and gives them time to try to move over. You’ll also want to travel with a jack, spare tire, and a four-way lug wrench.
Does Insurance Cover RV Tire Blowouts?
This will depend on the type of insurance you have, but most insurance companies cover RV tire blowouts. Once you file a claim, an inspector will come out to survey your rig and create an estimate.
From there, some insurance companies will send you money for repairs, while others will have the repair company send them the bill. Still, some insurance companies will reimburse the owner after getting the repairs done.
Keep in mind, however, most will not pay for the new tires. You’ll be on the hook for those.
How Badly Will a Tire Blowout Damage Your RV?
The damage an RV tire blowout will cause is dependent on several factors. The speed at which you’re traveling, the tire location, the way the tire blows, and the direction the pieces are thrown will affect how much damage your RV sustains.
Some RVers have blowouts, replace the tire, and never get anything repaired. Others suffer severe damage that puts their RV in the shop for weeks or months. Most often, an RV tire blowout will cause some damage to the underbelly and siding.
Keep an Eye on Your RV Tires
It’s essential to keep an eye on your tires. It’s not just about cost but safety. An RV tire blowout could cause a severe accident or run your RV off the road.
Installing good, quality tires and adequately maintaining and checking your tires will help prevent these disasters. There’s no guarantee you’ll never experience a blowout, but your chances significantly decrease if you follow the suggestions above.
Knowing the age of your tires and how long they’re supposed to last is critical for your safety on the road. Here’s what you need to know: How Long Do RV Tires Last? A Simple Explanation
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