Tire Care & Maintenance Tips
Most RV owners neglect to pay attention to the tires on their travel trailer. The tires are the only point of contact that you have with the road. Ignoring your tires can result in damage and put your life, as well as others in danger.
One of the first things is tire pressure, it should be checked before every trip. Driving with incorrect tire pressures can affect the handling and braking and even cause a blowout. Before your trip, be sure to use a tire pressure gauge to check each tire, don’t forget about the spare tire. Filling your tires with Nitrogen instead of air is a good option as it maintains consistent tire pressure. Nitrogen is also less likely to lose pressure as the temperature changes. Underinflation or overinflation of tires can also cause uneven tread wear. If your tires are overinflated the center of the tread will wear out first, underinflated tires will wear on the sides faster.
The age of your trailer tires is an extremely important factor to consider before traveling. While tires may still have tread left, over time the rubber will begin to crack and eventually the tread will start to separate. Tires are typically rated to last 4-6 years depending on how they are cared for. To determine the age of your tires, look for the four-digit DOT code on the sidewall. The first two numbers are the week in which the tire was made and the last two represent the year.
It is important to inspect the tread wear on your tires. Worn tires have less traction and don’t shed water as well when driving on wet roads. A simple way to check if your tire tread is too low is to insert a quarter into a tread groove with the top of Washington’s head facing down. If you can see above the top of Washington’s head it is time to start shopping for new tires. You can also measure tread depth and should be no less than 2/32 of an inch.
Even when you’re not on the road, it’s important to take care of your tires. The best place to store your trailer is in a clean, cool, dry, sunless area. If your trailer is parked in direct sunlight during storage sustained UV exposure can cause the rubber to age faster. Tire covers can be used to protect from the sun and help extend the life of the tires. It is also important to move the trailer at least every three months to prevent the tires from cracking as well as flat-spotting.