RV Tire Age, Care & Replacement

TheRVgeeks Annual Maintenance, Maintenance, Replacement, RV Tires 52 Comments

Do RV tires really have to be replaced every 5, 6 or 7 years? How can you tell how old your tires are? How can you make them last as long as possible? Here’s how to get the most life and use out of your RV tires.

Unlike car tires, which are usually replaced because the treads are worn out, RVs are often driven far fewer miles each year. Most RV tires have to be replaced due to age long before the tread is worn out and our tires are no exception. Even though there’s plenty of tread left, it’s almost time for new rubber.

We’ll be replacing our original tires soon, because this spring our motorhome will be 10 years old. Now before you start e-mailing to tell us that RV tires can’t be used for more than 5 or 6 or 7 years, watch this entire video. We’ll show you how we’ve safely driven on the same tires for nearly a decade.

NOTE: The DOT manufacture date on a tire’s sidewall may not always be inside a little oval. Also, towables, especially multi axle rigs, have slightly different guidelines, as being towed places different stresses on the tires. Large 5th wheels may need to replace tires as early as 3 to 5 years. Check with your manufacturer to be sure.


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We sometimes receive products for evaluation at no cost, and The RVgeeks are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. But our opinions are our own, you won’t pay an extra penny, and we only link to products we personally use, love and can recommend to friends with complete confidence.


Comments 52

  1. Your video’s are excellent with so much information . I really like the tire covers you use. Could you tell what kind they are? Or where to order them.Thanks

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      Hi Joe! Thanks for your kind words. Our tire covers are an old design by MCD that we bought when our RV was brand new, 13 years ago. Unfortunately, they have long since been discontinued. Ours are getting pretty worn out, and we have a lead on a new type of tire cover that’s supposed to come out this year. We’re waiting for more information and for them to be released, and we’ll of course be sharing anything we find out about them. Sorry we don’t have an exact timeline yet, but if you’re not in a big hurry, we’re hoping to have something to report later this year.

      1. I was wondering if you have any additional information regarding the new tire covers that you mentioned in the reply above. Thank you and thank you for the great and informative videos!

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          Sorry Wil. Nothing yet, but we are staying in touch with the company, and progress is being made. We are very eager for new covers, and they have promised us we will get the first look when they’re ready, and of course we will share.

  2. Hi! Love your videos, I think that they are the best out there! Holding out trying to be your 100th Patreon! Big Fan of the Wynns too! Proud owner of a just customized and re-painted 2001/2 Newmar KSDP 3665. Going to check out the ShadePro products, and hope to get a set to protect brand new tires (and windows). Will try to report back on that experience if I get them. Do you have valve extensions to access the valves on your duals (inner valves and inward facing outer valves)? Having a devil of a time getting at them for maintenance and to install RVi TPMS sensors! Oshkosh EAA 2018, Alaska or Bust 2019!

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      Hi Bob! Thanks for the nice note. We hope your chance to be #100 comes real soon. 😉 Thank you. It’s always great to hear from a fellow Newmar owner. Congratulations on your renovations. We’re familiar with ShadePro tire covers… the only ones we’ve seen that are similar to ours. Our current MCD covers (long since discontinued) are getting very old, but we’re holding off on replacements for the moment, hoping that a lead we have on a new type of tire cover pans out (they’re not out yet). While our MCDs look very cool, they do have some drawbacks, including high cost, and they take more time to put on and remove each time. We’ll see if our hoped-for new covers pan out this year. Our RV tires came with rigid valve stems, easily accessible from the front. We’ve seen lots of different types available out there, including this listing of various types we just found: https://www.rvupgradestore.com/Valve-Extenders-s/187.htm If you Google a bit, there are surely a lot of other options available, too. By the way… EAA? Are you a pilot? One of the things we sold to hit the road (the saddest thing to part with, actually) was our 1974 Bellanca Turbo Viking (photo of us with it here). Haven’t been to Oshkosh in ages. Have fun!

      1. Did it! Became Patreon #100! That did not take long at all!

        Holding out with my fingers crossed for your new tire shade initiative, still have some old ones to make do with in the meantime. Will work with my local trusted tire experts to find a valve extension solution.

        No not a pilot yet. Have had a few lessons, but a long way to go, but do not want to kick the bucket with that one still near the top of the bucket list! Loved the picture of you guys with the airplane! Would love to hear stories of your adventures in Zero One Bravo! What a great N number!

        Joined EAA as a Lifetime member last year and immediately volunteered at my first AirVenture, and am helping to re-launch Chapter 753. Plan to keep going back for years to come. Hope to meet you in Oshkosh, if not in 2018, maybe 2019?! Will have to try to post a photo of the better than new Newmar Coach all set up in Camp Scholler!

        Godspeed!

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          Thanks so much, Bob! And congratulations on becoming our 100th Patron! Can’t thank you enough for your generous support. So great that you are flying. I haven’t been up in years, and do miss it sometimes. I’ve got about 750 hours, most of it in 01B (we loved that tail #, too!).

          Looking forward to seeing you somewhere down the road…or in the air. ;-)

          Safe Travels,
          Peter & John

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      Hi Scott! We’d heard from friends that they’d seen tire covers very similar to our discontinued MCD covers, and we’re pretty sure this is the company. They do indeed look like ours, but we don’t know much else about them. Ours have a clever design at the bottom that allows them to adjust to the correct height off the ground, pretty much regardless of how high the rig is jacked up. Not sure if these have anything like that, and if not, how they get the height right for all levels.

      We also don’t know anything about the quality or value for the money. We just checked, and we paid $1,020 for our windshield screens, and all four of our tire covers (two single-axle covers for the fronts, and two double-axle covers for the rear dual/tag axles). We don’t know what the breakdown is for the windshield vs tire covers, since we bought them all at once. If we had to guess how much of that was the cost of tire covers, the $776 price listed for the four ShadePro covers that would directly replace the four we have now doesn’t seem especially out of line, especially considering that we bought ours over 12 years ago. That is, of course, if the ShadePro covers are as high-quality, as durable, and as adjustable as our MCDs. If you come across anyone (in person or online) that has first-hand experience with the SharePros, we be interested to know what you hear. Thanks so much.

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      Hi Mark! Sorry to report that those covers (which were made by MCD) were discontinued years ago, and we’ve never seen any others like them. Ours our getting very old (12 years) and we’ve been scoping out possible replacements. We do have a potential new product on the horizon which, while not the same as our current ones, promises to be better than anything else out there. We’re hoping to have more info on this yet-to-be-released new product, and will of course share details here as soon as we know more. ;-)

  3. Hi Guys! I’ve seen shots of your tire “Blinds”/covers and were wondering who what and where you found them.

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      Hi Daniel! We get that question an awful lot, but we’re sorry to report that the company (MCD) hasn’t made them in years, and we’ve never seen them anywhere else. Ours are 12 years old and getting very long in the tooth, and we’ve been wondering what we’d do when they finally wear out. The good news is that we’ve recently gotten a tip that there is a new type of tire/wheel cover about to come out. It’s not the same as ours, but we’re expecting it to be very interesting. We’re hoping to have something to report in a video about it over the next few months. Stay tuned! ;-)

  4. Pingback: Towbar Unbound! "How It's Made" - RV Edition! - TheRVgeeks

  5. This article is directed to Class A RV not travel trailers. There is no way a 205 75 15 tire would safely last much over 5 years. I have had two blowouts with this size tires, each at 5 years. Trailer was lightly loaded, pressure was correct and I was below 65 mph. Owners of travel trailer RVs should follow your advice on tire care, but not expect to get 10 years out of those tires.

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  6. You mention having tires inspected annually by a trained professional. The first thing that comes to mind is a tire shop who has a vested interest in selling me new tires. How do I locate such a professional?

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      Hi Walt. Wow. That’s a tough one. Finding a good tire professional that you trust isn’t really any different than finding a good mechanic or electrician or repairman. It takes some research (online or asking friends, etc) and some “gut instinct” to find someone you feel comfortable with. And while it’s true that you’d assume that someone with a vested interest in selling new tires would skew toward that side of the equation, we have to say we’ve had pretty good luck in this arena. We’ve stuck with reputable, large tire service locations and have never once felt that they were trying to sell us new tires we didn’t really need. They’ve been thorough, helpful and (usually) surprised at the condition our tires were in (as of this year, we’ve got brand new ones… but the ones we replaced were 10 years old!). Guess they’ve seen lots of badly cracked/rotted RV tires in the past.

      You could check on http://rvservicereviews.com to see if any tire service locations in your area have been reviewed. Or try posting in the forums on iRV2.com (it’s free) and see if anyone has any specific recommendations. Barring that, you could start by calling (or going to the website of) your tire manufacturer and see if they have a service center they’d recommend in your area.

      Sorry we can’t be more specific on this one… but hope these ideas get you started on the right path.

  7. Thanks for the informative info about tires and degradation. It seems some of the latest information about tire life apart from correct pressures and weights and wheel alignments is the use of nitrogen in tires. The removal of moisture when using 100 percent nitrogen will slow down the aging affect and cracking of the sidewalls and will keep the tire pressures more stable. Something to consider. Once again, thanks for the great insights into the RV life.

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  8. Just read the comments after writing the below about the MCD covers….I have a friend who is a fabricator. But now see it’s patent protected. We have four beautiful tire covers….guess we may have to sell them!

    We found you thru the Wynnes. So we’ve looked around a lot. Our current issue is that we just suffered a front passenger tire blow out. We were doing all your suggestions. But things happen. Happily, we survived with minor damage. The worst is that one of the GlideTrac for our MCD tire covers was destroyed. We see you have the same ones. We’ve contacted the factory and they are no help. Perhaps you could give us a lead.

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      Sorry to hear about your mishap, Debbie, but glad to hear it was not more serious. Recently, another viewer of ours who is looking to fabricate his own MCD-style wheel covers came across something called flex-a-rail. We have no idea if it will work, but at least it’s a start, and a hope that maybe something exists out there that might do the job. Here’s a link to it: http://www.sailrite.com/Flex-A-Rail-White-45?gclid=CjwKEAiAuKy1BRCY5bTuvPeopXcSJAAq4OVsCbfbXkodeFhTw4AYOMLzd6x9LY3MBGrD4dhDOZpx9xoCSkrw_wcB#

      Hope this helps a bit. Please let us know how you make out.

  9. I’d like to order a set of the tire covers that you have but I can’t find them anywhere on the internet. Who makes them?

    Craig

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      So sorry to report that MCD no longer makes those covers, Craig. They discontinued them years ago to focus on RV window shades, and no one else that we know of makes anything like it. We’ll be sure to announce if we ever find a new manufacturer, and you please so the same!

      1. Darn! I thought it was MCD, but I couldn’t find anything on their website. That’s what I get for putting it off. I have the traditional type of tire covers and it’s a fight to get them on if I forget to slip them on before I deflate my airbags. I usually end up getting quite dirty in the process. The only other alternative that I’ve found are “Tire Shades” made by ShadePro. They don’t look nearly as nice as the MCD’s and I don’t like the fact that the installation requires affixing twist fasteners to the fenders.

  10. I just replaced my front tires today and they were goodyear tires they were 13 years old and 11 years old from the manufacturer of a 2005 hurricane I bought cooper tires made in usa I refuse to buy china tires which would a been half as much or more but I wouldn’t have trusted him from day 1 I feel that the rear tires well last me given there are no weather cracks and always covered I was tempted not to replace the fronts but I figured that was the safest way to go.

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      Hi Thomas. Be sure to follow your manufacturer’s recommendations. Michelin, for example, states that tires cannot be safely used beyond 10 years from the manufacture date, no matter what. You’re wise to have replaced your front tires, since a front blow-out can easily cause a loss of control or even a rollover. A rear blow-out isn’t necessarily as dangerous as a front, but the damage it can cause to your RV and toad (and anyone behind you) can be serious. If your rear tires are as old as your fronts were, you should check with Goodyear on this, because it’s very unlikely that 11 to 13-year-old tires in ANY condition are truly safe to drive on, no matter what they look like. New Chinese tires are probably safer than old American ones! ;-)

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    We knew there’d be lots of discussion about this topic, and sure enough there is! Our video was posted on an RV owner’s club discussion forum yesterday, and the following comment reflected our own experience and was very gratifying to read:

    “If one takes good care of your tires, as outlined in this video, 5 years is about the half-way point in a RV tires life. I used to work tires for a living. Several different shops in fact. I have developed my opinions based on what I saw instead of what I imagine could go wrong. I can state equivocally that the number one cause of premature tire failure (not counting road damage) is running them under pressure. Hands down. Nothing else even comes close. If a tire is treated with respect, 10 years is very doable. If they are routinely exposed to sunlight, then that number shrinks considerably. As in the video, I am a religious user of 303 Aerospace Protectant on my tires (and my vinyl awning). It flat works. Given the incredible propensity for Americans to sue companies when things go wrong with a product, and given the huge exposure that product liability cases present in the media (AKA GM right now) that the tire companies are themselves saying 10 years is doable, then that speaks volumes about their confidence in their products lasting that long with proper care and inspection. One last thing: In all of my years tearing down tires, I never once saw a tire that was deteriorated on the inside, without the outside looking far worse. Tire degradation definitely starts on the outside and works in.”

    Thanks to Mark for the great comment!

  12. I checked both volume adjustments right away when I was trying to listen. That’s not the problem. Other videos sound fine. May be a job for the Geek Squad. It’s time they start earning their fees!

    Sounds like your tire stuff is the good stuff. Again, was not implying otherwise.

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      No worries Bill! Aerospace 303 may not be a magic bullet, but when tires cost a grand apiece, we’ll take every little advantage we can get! We double checked the video and volume is working (almost 800 views and no other volume reports), so you’d better get the Geek Squad on the horn! LOL

  13. Unfortunately, the sound for the video was barely audible on my computer. Oh. well. Anyway, years ago (10, maybe more) I read an article on tires In FMCA’s publication. It was pretty much in line with what you have said, but, the article claimed that the true or main culprit in tire deterioration was ozone rather than UV. (not that UV doesn’t do it’s share of damage) The article said ozone rotted the tires from the inside out eventually causing tread separation. The article said that like fruit, anything organic will rot but tires rot at a slower rate and begin the rotting process the day they are born. Hence the DOT date code requirement. It went on to say that tire shades and tire dressings do little to slow the ravages of ozone. Comments?

    I seem to remember them discouraging the use of any petroleum based dressings. (I am not suggesting that what you use is petroleum based as I have no idea what all is in it) Thanks

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      Hi Bill! If the volume on your computer was okay, but the video was too quiet, check to be sure the volume control on the video player is all the way up, as well as the volume ion your computer. Too bad it was too low for you to hear the part where we talked about Aerospace 303 being perfect, as it contains no petroleum distillates, alcohol or silicone. Ozone is bad, but the heat and UV from the sun is bad too… and easier to deal with, since you don’t have to drive to a cleaner environment to block it. lol

  14. Very interesting video, after watching I went out and check my tires on my 1998 Newmar Mountain Aire MH. They were the original tires. I bought her in December cause she looked brand new. Had 54,000 miles on her Andean like a top. But sixteen years is way to long for tires. Shopping right now.

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  15. I don’t know much about tire covers but was impressed with the ones on your coach. Would you mind sharing what brand they are and possibly where you purchased them. Thanks for the great info.

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      Hi John. Our tire covers were made by MCD, but I am very sorry to report that they were discontinued several years ago. MCD also made our windshield screens, but has discontinued them as well. They have put all of their focus on making day/night window shades for many of the major RV manufacturers. We contacted them recently to see about getting a replacement track for one of our wheel wells, but they are completely out of stock and will no longer be making them either. They supposedly own the patent or trademark on the design and we’re pretty sure that nobody else makes anything like it. Very sad, as we really love them and don’t know what we’ll do when they finally wear out. :(

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      Hi Jeff. We’re not tire experts, but our understanding is that the petrochemicals in asphalt and the moisture from the ground are bad for storing tires. We’d suggest that if your RV stays parked on any surface other than concrete for fairly long periods of time, we’d use a synthetic barrier. One inexpensive way we’ve heard of for creating a barrier is to use cutting boards, maybe like this kind of thing: http://amzn.to/2nIeBCO. Hope this helps.

  16. Thanks much for this information as it was timely for me. I have five year old tires on a rig that has sat in covered storage for two years (I don’t know what on), the tread looks great of course. But I’m starting out on a 2000 mile virgin voyage in my ‘new to me’ 34′ 1998 Winnebago itasca and am considering new tires simply because I don’t know the actual history outside of the last invoice and what widow of prior owner could tell me. I’ve taken curb weight and will weigh it full and front to back and sides too soon. I check pressure regularly too. And will now add weekly cleaning and parking barrier pads to maintenance.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for me short of having each tire inspected?

    Thanks again, I follow you guys faithfully and have purchased several of your recommended products with good results, keep up the great work and I would value your opinion of my tire situation!

    Dianna M

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      Hi Dianna. Congratulations on your new RV! You’ve hit the nail right on the head with your tires: the tread “of course” looks great (due to long storage / little driving) and you “don’t know the actual history.” After checking the DOT date on EVERY tire, the first thing I’d do is get my hands on the owner’s manual, which is likely available on the manufacturer’s website. Read anything you can find from the manufacturer about service life, weight ratings, etc. If they are still within the manufacturer’s allowable date range, you MUST still have them professionally inspected before embarking on your epic trip. The tread depth is the least important factor and can look brand new on tires that are unsafe to use. It’s great that you’re getting your RV weighed… so important. If a professional gives your tires a clean bill of health, then follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and the care tips we outlined in the video and have an awesome trip! Thanks so much for your comment, and glad we’ve been able to help out. :)

  17. Have to disagree with you RVgeeks. We have more rotten tires from sitting on concrete than on dirt. Been proven over and over out here that you need a barrier on concrete.

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      Being full-timers, we don’t have much experience with tire storage, so on this one we’re passing along information we’ve learned from the experts. Gary Bunzer, The RV Doctor, says that it’s the petrochemicals in asphalt that are the big problem: http://www.rvdoctor.com/2012/11/why-synthetic-blocks-under-tires.html. Roger Marble of RV Tire Safety, says that concrete is the only surface that DOESN’T require a barrier, citing asphalt and moisture as the dangers: http://www.rvtiresafety.com/2012/11/long-term-parking.html. As we suggested, always using a barrier is the highest level of caution, and if your experience has borne that out with concrete, we sure do appreciate your input. Thanks!

  18. Where is this law written in az? I just helped friends find a pop up and the tires are older then 4 years. My m.h. tires are older then that and in the process of a possible trade in, no body has said anything. So can you please show this law to me so I know where to look when I go to buy again, if I buy in az.

  19. We just had a new concrete pad poured for our motorhome. Should a barrier be used between our tires and the new concrete. Also, when parked over the winter, is it a good idea to take some weight off the tires by using the leveling jacks?

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      While a lot of people think that a barrier must always be used, our understanding is that concrete is no problem at all, as it’s the petroleum-based components in asphalt and the moisture in dirt and grass that is the problem. That said, it can’t hurt to use them if you want to be overly cautious. Using the jacks to remove weight from the tires for a long period can be a double-edged sword. It definitely helps the tires to carry a lighter load, but jacks left extended very far for a long period can stretch out the springs. We’d suggest taking as much cargo out of the RV as reasonably possible, and maybe extending the jacks part way to unweight the RV a little bit. The best thing you can do, if you can, is to take the RV out for a half hour to one hour drive once a month. But we know that that is not always a reasonable or even possible option when in cold storage in a cold climate.

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      This is definitely the type of thing we were referring to…. doing some research and looking at all factors before making a decision. We’d be interested to know what the law is (if any) about how long you can USE a travel trailer tire in Arizona! Thanks for the info.

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