You’re likely well aware that the safety of your RV and, more importantly, that of you and your family, are riding (literally) on your RV’s tires. Despite the importance of the topic, RV tire pressure is among the most widely misunderstood aspects of RVing. How is it that the details of such a critical safety consideration are still a mystery to so many RVers?
We’ve talked to an awful lot of RVers who clearly aren’t sure how to determine the correct pressures for their RV’s tires (even some seasoned full-timers who’ve been out here for a long time). So we realized the importance of shedding some additional light on the topic.
When we decided to write a blog post about this incredibly important topic, we quickly realized that there’s too much to cover in one of our regular articles. The topic is far too important to generalize, so we decided to take the time to write a more detailed piece about it. Hence our new eBook: How To Inflate RV Tires Pressures Correctly.
So, this blog post will serve as an introduction to, and overview of, our eBook. Even if you’re a seasoned RVer, we’re confident you’ll likely pick up some additional details about RV tire pressure in the book. So we highly encourage everyone to grab their free copy and follow our step-by-step guide to setting the safe and proper pressures for the tires on your RV. Even if you think you already know what they should be, you might just be surprised!
In an effort to get this important information out to as many RVers as possible, we’re making the book available for FREE right here on our website to all of our subscribers. If you’re already subscribed to our newsletter, you should have received a special e-mail with a link to access the book.
If you’re new to our blog, first of all… Welcome! To access the book, simply subscribe to receive our daily newsletters, and you’ll get immediate access to it. If you haven’t already subscribed using one of the pop-up links on the website, you can click here to subscribe. Of course, we hope you’ll appreciate the information you’ll receive in our daily articles (typically published about 5 times per week), but you can unsubscribe at any time (every email includes an unsubscribe link at the bottom).
Further down in this post, we’ll also tell you about special discounts on our favorite air compressors and tire covers. PLUS, you’ll also find the entry form for our latest RVgeeks Giveaway, where one lucky person will win a top-of-the-line Viair 450P-RVS air compressor valued at over $400!
First, let’s run through an overview of this important topic by answering some common questions related to RV tire pressure.
- 1) Aren’t the Correct RV Tire Pressure Settings For My Rig Stamped Right on the Tires?
- 2) Does Every Tire On the RV Get Inflated to the Same Pressure?
- 3) How Do I Know If I’m Getting an Accurate Reading?
- 4) What Are the Potential Consequences of Setting My RV Tires to the Wrong Pressure?
- 5) Can I Set and Forget My RV Tire Pressures?
- 6) Once I Know My RV’s Safe and Proper Tire Pressures, How Can I Keep My Tires Properly Inflated on the Road?
What Should I Do to Maintain My RV Tires?
- 7.1) Maintain Proper RV Tire Pressure
- 7.2) Use an Infrared Digital Temperature Gun to Check Tire Temperatures
- 7.3) Use High-Quality Tire Covers
- 7.4) Use a Good Quality Tire Cleaner and UV Protectant
- 7.5) Carry a High-Quality Compressor to Keep Tires Properly Inflated At All Times, Temperatures, and Elevations
- 8) Properly Inflating and Maintaining the Tire Pressures on Your RV is Critical
- 9) Enter Our Latest RVgeeks Giveaway!
Aren’t the Correct RV Tire Pressure Settings For My Rig Stamped Right on the Tires?
No! In fact, this is probably the most common of all the many misconceptions about how to correctly set RV tire pressure. That’s the maximum cold inflation pressure a tire is rated for, and may or may not be anywhere near where they should be set. (When tires are hot, pressures will read higher, which is normal, so never let air out based on any PSI reading shown when tires are hot. More about “cold” tire pressure readings below.)
Following are three of the most common misconceptions regarding how to determine the proper pressures for your RV tires:
- Correct tire pressures are stamped into the tire sidewall.
- Correct tire pressures are printed on the placard inside my RV.
- Correct tire pressures are found in the owner’s manual.
It’s likely that none of these are accurate. And these are just a few of the common misconceptions about the correct pressure settings required for your RV’s tires.
How about other RVs that are just like yours? The correct pressures for your RV’s tires aren’t necessarily the same as they are for any other RV. Not even one of the exact same year, make, and model.
The correct RV tire pressures for your rig are specific to your RV and your RV only. One of the primary factors that determine correct RV tire pressure is weight. But don’t head off to the nearest truck stop to get your rig weighed, since their scales aren’t designed to get the weights needed. That’s right… we said weights. Plural.
Corner (or “Position”) weights need to be taken before the proper RV tire pressures can be determined. It’s not rocket science, but that information is required to correctly determine your tire pressures and is critical for your safety on the road.
Once you have the weights for your RV, you’ll need one other crucial piece of information – the load & inflation table for your specific make, model and size tire. Without that and your weights, you’re mostly shooting in the dark when it comes to setting the correct pressure in your RV’s tires.
Does Every Tire On the RV Get Inflated to the Same Pressure?
This is another widely misunderstood issue. In some cases, the tires might all be set the same. But often some tires can require VERY different pressure settings than other tires on the same RV. (Fun fact… some tires on our RV call for 30 PSI less than others!)
Once you run through the process of determining the appropriate pressures for your RV’s tires, you’ll find that the settings will often be different for each axle. But without going through the proper calculation of correct tire pressure… you simply won’t know!
How Do I Know If I’m Getting an Accurate Reading?
This is another very important question. Of course, you’ll need a reliable air pressure gauge. But the timing of your readings is key. You need to get COLD inflation pressures. It’s the only way to get an accurate reading. But what does “cold” mean?
While driving of course heats tires up, there are more factors in play than simply checking tires before you drive your rig. What are the effects of other causes of tire heating? (Think direct exposure to the sun.) They’re considerable, and we go into detail in the book about how to ensure that your readings are accurate.
What Are the Potential Consequences of Setting My RV Tires to the Wrong Pressure?
There are a number of potential problems that can come from setting your RV’s tires to the wrong pressure, none of which you want to experience.
Some of the possible consequences of driving/towing your RV with incorrect pressure include:
- Uneven Tire Wear
- Poor Handling
- Reduced Ride Quality
- Lower Fuel Economy
- A Blowout! 😱
Some of these are the result of tire pressures that are set too high, but the most serious risks come from pressures that are too low.
Can I Set and Forget My RV Tire Pressures?
No. Besides the obvious reduction in pressure that’s due to a slow leak, tire pressures are affected by both ambient temperature and elevation. So, depending on where and when you’re RVing, your tire pressures are likely to fluctuate to some degree. And again, that means the cold pressure fluctuates.
Also, tire pressure requirements can change on the same RV over time, depending on how the rig is loaded… or if you make modifications. Since pressure settings are directly related to weight, that means that adding, removing, or rearranging things in your rig can change the pressure requirements on the same RV.
Remember – the weight of your RV is a key factor in setting the proper tire pressures. And we’re not talking about a general weight such as that which you might get at a truck stop weigh station. Again, the corner/position weights of your RV are required.
Once you’ve determined your corner/position weights, unless you make dramatic weight changes (such as adding a new appliance, furniture, solar panels, etc.), then external changes such as ambient temperature or elevation may be the primary factors that affect cold inflation pressure. That is, assuming a tire hasn’t developed a slow leak. And you know what they say about assuming.
Once I Know My RV’s Safe and Proper Tire Pressures, How Can I Keep My Tires Properly Inflated on the Road?
When we hit the road in our first RV nearly 20 years ago, we’d never been in an RV before. So we didn’t know much of anything about it. We figured we’d just head to a gas station and fill the tires to the PSI stamped on the tire sidewall.
Not only were we planning to add far more pressure than our rig required (we thought, incorrectly, that the 120 PSI on the tire sidewall was the way to go), but little did we know that most gas stations don’t have an air compressor that can come close to filling large RV tires like ours. And that would have been true even if we hadn’t been planning to over-inflate them.
Like the air pressure requirements on our first rig (and we do mean the correct settings), the tires on our current RV require far higher pressures than most gas station air compressors can supply.
You might think this problem is unique to owners of big Class A diesel pushers like ours. But one of our best friends has the exact same issue with her Class B Roadtrek, whose tires require up to 80 PSI. Just like our early experience, she drove to a local gas station and found that the compressor there didn’t stand a chance. Like us, she ended up letting air out!
So, this is a very common issue, and it’s the reason why we (and our friend) carry a Viair portable air compressor. This way, wherever we are, we can take a COLD pressure reading using our digital tire pressure gauge, and inflate as needed without even moving the RV.
If you’re interested in carrying a digital tire pressure gauge, we’ve had this one for years and just love it. (We keep a second one in our toad’s glove compartment.)
- [ HEAVY DUTY + REPLACEMENT VALVE CAPS ] Heavy duty construction, rugged design and includes 4 valve caps.
- [ PATENTED ERGONOMIC DESIGN ] Angled head and rubber coated handle for easy gripping.
And we can’t rave enough about our Viair 450P-RVS. Stay tuned, and down below we’ll show you how to enter for a chance to win one absolutely free (a value of over $400) in our latest RVgeeks Giveaway!
What Should I Do to Maintain My RV Tires?
It’s so important to maintain your RV’s tires. Safety is the most important reason, of course, but RV tires can also be very expensive. So we do whatever we can to take good care of them, helping reduce the frequency with which they need to be replaced.
When it does come time to replace your tires, we suggest taking advantage of the Escapees Tire Discounts. What? You’re not a member? (We’ll pretend we didn’t hear that.) We highly recommend joining Escapees. And while you’re at it, you should use our affiliate link to sign up. That’s because we donate 100% of the proceeds to the Escapees CARE Center, an incredibly worthwhile charity that helps RVers in need.
Following are five key things you can do to optimally maintain your RV tires:
Maintain Proper RV Tire Pressure
The number one most critical action you can take to keep your tires in optimal condition is to learn how to determine the correct air pressure for all of your RV’s tires and then monitor and maintain it.
We cover all the details about exactly how to do that in our eBook (signup to receive our newsletters to get your copy). Regardless of what type of RV you have (towable or motorized), we provide a step-by-step guide showing you how to identify and set the correct tire pressures for your RV. We also answer some additional common questions and explain how to optimally maintain your RV’s tire pressures.
Use an Infrared Digital Temperature Gun to Check Tire Temperatures
Among its many uses, a digital temperature gun allows you to keep an eye on the temperatures of your RV tires, even as you’re traveling. When you stop for fuel, or a rest break, give your tires a quick check. An abnormal tire temperature may alert you to pending trouble before it happens. There are so many other uses for it that you’ll love having one around your RV.
- Wide Temperature Range: Measure an upgraded temperature range from -58°–1130°F / -50°–610°C and get your result in 500 ms; The display will...
- Professional EMS Mode: The Lasergrip 1080 Infrared Thermometer has an emissivity range of 0.1–1.0 for precise readings across different surfaces and...
Use High-Quality Tire Covers
You may have read our post about why we love our new RV tire covers and which ones are our favorites. A good quality tire cover extends the life of your RV tires and this alone makes them well worth the investment.
We consider RV tire covers to be an essential piece of RV gear. In fact, we love our new tire covers so much that we even made a video about them.
SnapRing TireSavers by Covercraft are hands down the best RV tire covers we’ve had in our two decades of RVing. Heck, they’re the best we’ve ever seen… by a lot!
Not only do they offer excellent protection for our very expensive RV tires, but they’re a snap to use (hence the name). And the easier a piece of gear is to use, the more likely we are to use it, even for shorter stays. And, thanks to our friends over at Covercraft, you can now save 10% on SnapRing TireSavers when you order direct from their website using the following discount code:
TireSavers make protecting your tires a "SNAP". The exclusive spring-steel ring design holds the TireSavers in place and eliminates the hassle of crawling around on the ground to secure straps...Show More
TireSavers make protecting your tires a "SNAP". The exclusive spring-steel ring design holds the TireSavers in place and eliminates the hassle of crawling around on the ground to secure straps, bungee cords, and/or other hardware.
Now, you can save 10% by ordering direct from Covercraft's website when you use the Promo Code "RVGEEKS"
Watch our video about our SnapRing TireSavers
TireSavers come in a range of sizes (from 19" up to 42") designed to provide snug, complete protection for your RV's tires, whatever size they are.Show Less
Use a Good Quality Tire Cleaner and UV Protectant
We love 303 products for our RV tires. The tire cleaner makes road grime and brake dust run right off like nothing you’ve ever seen. Seriously! And the protectant provides superior UV protection that helps prevent fading and cracking while repelling dust and dirt. And it leaves just the right amount of shiny, which is to say “not too much!”
Using products like these helps to extend the life of your tires and keeps them in optimal condition across the miles.
- Watch dirt and grime dissolve quickly and easily with our color changing foam formula
- Prevents and removes tire browning, tire blossoming, and dry rot
- ULTIMATE PROTECTION – 303 Aerospace Protectant provides superior protection against the sun's damaging UV rays. This protector spray repels dust,...
- NON-GREASY – This restoration product dries to a smooth, matte finish with no oily or greasy residue. When treating your outdoor furniture, spa and...
Carry a High-Quality Compressor to Keep Tires Properly Inflated At All Times, Temperatures, and Elevations
Again, our air compressor brand of choice is Viair. We love ours and wouldn’t be without it for a number of reasons.
The 400P-RVS and 450P-RVS, Viair’s top-of-the-line compressors, are designed specifically with RVers in mind. The 450 has a 100% duty cycle which makes it the perfect compressor for RVers to carry because you don’t need to let it rest while filling tires.
That’s especially helpful for off-road enthusiasts. When you air down your Jeep tires for a trip into the sand, you need to be able to run your compressor for a long time to fill them back up for road driving. That’s where the 100% duty cycle comes in really handy.
Whether you’re airing up after an off-road adventure, or just topping up your tires on a cold morning, a compressor like our Viair 450P-RVS does the job quickly and efficiently. It also comes with extra-long hoses for the longest RVs, and an attachment that lets us fill our tires while standing up, which is a real knee-saver!
We’ve also used a Viair compressor to winterize our RV. Overall, it’s one of our favorite pieces of RV gear.
After all the years we’ve been waxing poetic about Viair, we’re happy to announce that for the very first time, we’re able to offer a special discount on their best compressors. We’ve partnered with Viair, MobileMustHave and TechnoRV to offer a 5% discount.
Use the discount/promo code RVGEEKS at either of the following links to save 5% on your own Viair compressor (not to mention all the other great RV gear they both sell. The RVGEEKS code is good for 5% off your entire order at both stores)!
TechnoRV.com is a supplier of leading RV technology products that are designed to enhance your RV lifestyle. That includes items like LevelMatePRO, Viair portable air compressors, connectivity...Show More
TechnoRV.com is a supplier of leading RV technology products that are designed to enhance your RV lifestyle. That includes items like LevelMatePRO, Viair portable air compressors, connectivity equipment, and more!
Use the Promo Code "RVGEEKS" to save 5% on your entire order at TechnoRV.Show Less
Thanks to the latest additions to our RV internet arsenal from MobileMustHave, we're able to stay connected more reliably... and more remotely... than we ever could before. We couldn't be happier...Show More
Thanks to the latest additions to our RV internet arsenal from MobileMustHave, we're able to stay connected more reliably... and more remotely... than we ever could before. We couldn't be happier with the equipment we now have!
Upgrade your RV internet connectivity with great products from Peplink, WeBoost, Parsec, Poynting, Mobile Mark, and more. And while you're there, look at other great products like Viair Compressors!
Watch our video about our RV internet connectivity solutions for 2021
Save 5% on your equipment order at MobileMustHave.com when you click the button on this deal or use discount code "RVGEEKS" at checkout!Show Less
Properly Inflating and Maintaining the Tire Pressures on Your RV is Critical
Again, because this topic is too much to cover in a short blog post, we took the time to write an entire eBook about it. We hope that we might contribute to the safety of as many RVers as possible.
Properly inflating and maintaining the tire pressures on your RV is so important that we highly encourage you to sign up to receive your copy of our FREE eBook right now — How To Inflate RV Tires Pressures Correctly.
Every RVer needs to understand this information and put it into practice. If you’re already a subscriber to our newsletter, you should already have received a special invitation to access your free copy of the book.
If you’re not already a subscriber, sign up today! Not only will you receive our free eBook, but also our daily RVing articles in your inbox. We cover a wide variety of topics for all sorts of RVers. So whether you’re part-time or full-time, towing or driving your rig, highly seasoned or a newbie (or even a soon-to-be or wanna-be), we know our articles will help you get the most out of RVing.
All you’ll need to sign up is your email address. We’ll never share or use it for any purpose other than to send you our free eBook and our daily RVing articles. And of course, you can unsubscribe at any time.
If you’re wondering how to find scales that can provide corner/position weights, the Escapees SmartWeigh program is fantastic, as is the RV Safety & Education Foundation.
WATCH OUR NEWEST VIDEO RIGHT HERE TO SEE US EXUDE MORE TIRE EXCITEMENT!!
Enter Our Latest RVgeeks Giveaway!
We’re also excited to announce that we’re giving away a brand new Viair 450P-RVS to one lucky winner in our latest RVgeeks Giveaway!
Use the form below to enter for your chance to win. This great Viair air compressor has a value of over $400, and is one of our favorite giveaway prizes because we love ours so much.
The winner will be selected at random on Memorial Day, May 30, 2022, just in time to kick off the summer camping season!
If you’re reading this blog post after the giveaway has ended, be sure to take advantage of the RVGEEKS discount at either MobileMustHave or TechnoRV. Simply use the discount/promo code RVGEEKS at checkout to save 5% on your entire order. (If you can’t wait until Memorial Day to air up your tires, we’d certainly understand if you ordered a compressor today!)
Thanks to everyone who entered! The giveaway has now ended.
Congratulations to our winner, Patrick A. who will be putting his new Viair compressor to great use on his 25′ Outdoors RV travel trailer.
Geek Out With Us Every Week
Join our newsletter to learn about all things RV-related. Every week we offer free tips, tricks, product reviews, and more to our online community of RVers. So, whether this is your first time on the road or you’re a seasoned expert, we’d love for you to geek out with us!
Wednesday 1st of February 2023
Ok, WTH? I get an email saying you are celebrating 20 years and to enter a giveaway only to find out the email is a year old? That's kind of unfair.
Wednesday 1st of February 2023
The new Giveaway started today. The announcement you received went out less than an hour ago and over 300 people have successfully entered already, so it’s up and working. There’s a bold red banner at the top of every page on our website with a link to it, as well as a “Giveaway” tab in the navigation. We’re sure it’s there if you look for any of those.
Tuesday 31st of January 2023
Hello! Firstly, thank you for the many informative articles you create. I've been watching your YouTube videos for quite some time and have fairly recently subscribed to your awesome newsletters. I'd like to download your eBook on how to correctly inflate RV tires, but cannot find a link to download the entire book as opposed to the individual chapters above. I may simply be missing the link location, however, would appreciate if you could provide the link. Thank you kindly, Best regards to you both. Steve in BC
Wednesday 1st of February 2023
Hi Steve! First off, thank you so much for your kind words. You really made our day. Second, it's always great to hear from a fellow Canuck, especially a fellow BC resident. When we published our eBook last year, we made it readily available online, but non-downloadable to protect our copyrighted material. The good news is that it's available to view in its entirety (as opposed to individual chapters), and also that it automatically formats to be easily readable on any device - computers, tablets and phones. If you use the link to the book from any device, you should be able to read the entire book easily. Sorry for any inconvenience. Please let us know if you have any trouble accessing it online. Cheers — Peter & John
Wednesday 15th of June 2022
Love the Tire Pressure eBook! Very good information and advice. One question: I've heard a lot about the Crossfire Dual Tire Pressure Equalization Monitoring System which links your dual tires together. I'm wondering if you have thoughts on using a product like that and how does that affect or not affect how you approach tire pressure? Do you recommend that product? Thanks, Larry
Thursday 16th of June 2022
Hi Larry! We've heard of these types of systems, but have no experience with them, so we don't consider ourselves qualified to render a valuable opinion. We've never felt the need to do anything other than monitor each tire independently with a TPMS.
Monday 2nd of May 2022
What product do you recommend to protect a fiberglass roof. I would like to put a protective coating on the entire roof. Thanks, Jeff
Monday 2nd of May 2022
Hi Jeff. We've never done anything to treat our fiberglass roof and it's still holding up great after 17 years. We just keep it cleaning, washing it with the same automotive wash we use on the rest of the RV (we're big fans of Meguiar's products and use their Gold Class Car Wash). Other than that, you CAN also WAX your fiberglass roof, as that will help to seal it (which helps road grime, tar, bugs, and sap wash off easier) as well as provide some additional UV protection. The only downside is that a waxed fiberglass roof can be QUITE slippery when wet... which is why we DON'T wax ours, since it seems like we're up there too often and don't relish the idea of slipping off.
If you've got age damage from sun exposure on your fiberglass roof, you could check out the Dicor product specifically for RV roofs that we listed in our article about RV roof coatings. It's not likely something you'd want to do as a "protective" measure, though. It's more of a repair/rehab solution.
Hope that helps!
Sunday 1st of May 2022
Read this article, read your e-book. Lots of good information, especially about the importance of weighing each corner of your rig. But I have questions:
1> Impact of uneven solar heating. Have noticed that my outer dual tire when hit by the sun in the AM will quickly go up several PSI over it's inner dual mate (always shaded). So especially when driving in 1 direction (say East --> West), where one side of the rig may be in sun while the other is not - there will be an immediate, and constant PSI differential not only between the dually pair, but between the tires on both sides of the axle, as well as on the front tires. The front tire in the sun can easily be 5-10 PSI higher than the tire on the other side in the shade. What is one to do??
2> Impact of barometric changes. I have noticed that there can be significant PSI differences day - day even when just parked and not driven. The only variable I can ascertain are barometric changes to due weather hi pressure/low pressure fronts. Same issue with altitude changes causing air pressure differences.
3> As to tire care - have learned that it is important that all tires be spun balanced and that there are good shocks. If not a bad shock will allow that wheel to bounce, causing flat spots and uneven wear. Also important that all tires are balanced for the same reason. After discovering a severe flat spot on one of my front Michelins on our Class A I replaced both front with new Toyos, upgrade to Konis, installed Sumo springs on the front, and installed a pair of Centramatic Bead balancers which will automatically balance the tire while driving.
So the point of 1&2 above is that I learned long ago that one can never achieve perfect PSI in all conditions - even hour to hour - because there are constantly changing variables. So as you suggested for keeping all tires on an axle the same PSI - I simply set all tires to my max weighted PSI in the AM when cold and then just let nature affect all tire PSI as it will - because I cannot stop and try to constantly adjust pressures all day long due to passing clouds, changing weather fronts, or going up and down mountains.
As you suggest the best protection is to ensure that tire pressures are maintained high enough to help prevent them from overflexing and overheating. Hence - a good TPMS is very valuable. But I also have to mention that I almost Never witness most other RVers checking their tire pressures before leaving camp. They just get in and go. While some might obviously have a TPMS I think most do not (especially 5th wheels), and they are putting themselves and all other traffic out there at risk.
Thanks for promoting RV tire safety as I know this is one of the most important safety items for all RVers to know about - and to follow.
Sunday 1st of May 2022
On question #1 - It's only the COLD pressure that matters. So once you've checked tire pressure before driving, and before direct sunlight hits the tires, anything after that doesn't matter. The sun, and driving, will elevate the pressures. But since they were correct when cold, they're fine, so nothing to worry about while driving or in sunlight.
#2 - To our knowledge, the only atmospheric changes that will change the cold pressures to any noticeable degree are elevation. Either way, the same rule applies — check and set cold pressures, and you should be good to go.
#3 - We've never had our rear tires balanced (every tire shop we've had tires installed at has told us it's not needed on our rig), and it's never seemed to matter at all. Of course, that's not likely the case for other classes of RV (Class B, travel trailers., etc?)
In the 17 years we've had our current RV, we've made only a single change to the suspension/ride — We upgraded our two front shocks to Konis, and WHAT a great improvement!
Again, as far as stopping during travel to check/adjust pressures... that cannot, and should not be done! COLD is all that matters. Once they're hot, they will read high, but that's the way it's supposed to be! As far as checking them every day, before we had TPMS, we checked them about once a week, or if we'd experienced a considerable change in ambient temperature or elevation. Now they're checked automatically every morning when we fire up the TPMS (which we try to do before the sun comes out)!