Purchasing RV tires is not an easy task anymore and can quickly become overwhelming if you are not well-prepared.
You can find a wide range of prices and quality levels, each tire having its characteristics, pros, and cons.
To make this challenging mission easier for you, we did the necessary research and wrote this article to help you understand what you need to know before setting a specific budget for your next set of tires.
Let’s have a closer look at the different elements and characteristics you need to take into consideration when shopping for replacements for your old tires.
It can seem confusing at first, but with a little help, your search will be much more efficient and your final decision much better thought out.
What Determines Motorhome Tire Prices?
You’ll quickly realize that quality comes at a premium price.
Cheaper options often have weaker tread widths, a weaker sidewall strength, less inflation pressure, and a lower load rating.
Class A motorhomes are often the size — and weight — of a bus and therefore require very large wheels.
They can be up to 45 feet in length and usually accommodate at least four passengers.
They’re almost always much bigger than class B or class C motorhomes.
Because of their size and weight (from 15,000 to 50,000 pounds), class A motorhomes require strong and reliable tires which come at a high cost.
Even though prices can start at $60 per tire, the average cost of a good-quality RV tire is likely to be about $300 per tire.
For example, Deestone D902 tires currently cost less than $90 and weigh 43 pounds each, while Yokohama TY303 tires cost more than three times the price (starting at around $300 per tire at the time of writing) and weigh 99 pounds each.
Let’s see how you can prepare and what you need to know in order to find the right tires for your RV.
Starting With The Basics
The best place to start your RV tire research is your owner’s manual.
It contains the manufacturer’s recommendations and other important information regarding the type of tires you should be looking for. This will save you a lot of time and possible mistakes.
A lot of useful information is also indicated on the tire sidewall itself, such as load range/ply rating. For example, the DOT serial number shows that the manufacturer is compliant with the regulations imposed by the Department of Transportation.
If you’re not sure how to read these numbers, the Tire Industry Association has step-by-step guides on how to get the most of these pieces of information.
Choosing The Right Tire
Different types of tires can be purchased for a class A RV.
Each type has a specific purpose, pros and cons, and, of course, different price points.
Passenger Vehicle Tires
You can easily identify passenger vehicle tires as they are marked with a ‘P’ on the tire sidewall.
This is the most common type of tire. They are specifically designed for comfortable driving in different types of climates and roads but are only recommended for light vehicles.
Passenger vehicle tires may be more affordable, but they aren’t built to handle the weight of large vehicles such as RVs and could potentially be dangerous.
Light Truck Tires
Light truck tires have stronger sidewalls as they are built to accommodate vehicles larger than a small pick-up truck.
If you use such tires on your class A motorhome, they’ll keep your RV in good condition, as light truck tires can put up with any rough road you may face during your trip.
To identify these tires, look for ‘LT’ in the serial number on the tire sidewall.
Trailer Special Tires
Trailer tires are specifically designed for trailers that don’t have their own engine and require towing (fifth-wheel campers, toy haulers, travel trailers, pop-up campers, and teardrop campers).
These tires are able to put up with a very large weight and high pressures. They’re also extremely stable, meaning they’ll prevent the trailer from swaying. These are some of the best RV tires you can choose from.
Trailer special tires are made of rubber compounds that can resist UV rays. It’s important to keep in mind that making sudden and sharp turns with these tires is very difficult. To find such tires, look for ‘ST’ on the tire sidewall.
Before purchasing radial tires, make sure your bank account is in good shape as these are some of the most expensive tires on the market!
They are most often installed on luxury recreational vehicles.
These tires are perfect for long trips and full-time RVing.
They are a great solution if your goal is to save fuel. They also allow for better traction, are very stable, and make for a very comfortable ride. You’ll certainly use them for a long period of time.
Bias tires are some of the cheapest tires and for a good reason.
Unlike radial tires (which have a flexible sidewall), bias tires are made of nylon belts which make the sidewalls very strong and able to handle very large weights.
By losing its flexibility, the tire also loses a large piece of its durability.
Bias tires have an average lifespan of 12,000 miles, while radial tires can last up to 40,000 miles.
Bias tires may be suitable if you’re only planning on going on short trips on rough roads. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to replace these tires much more often than any other tires.
Trying to save a few dollars by buying tires that are a bit smaller or larger than the ones you actually need can be detrimental to your RV and your safety.
The tire diameter should always match the rim diameter.
Every brand will have its own size chart which you can easily refer to and select the exact size you need. For a more accurate tire size, use tire charts from your preferred tire manufacturer rather than tire charts from third parties.
Maximum Weight Limits
Your manufacturer’s manual has all the information you need regarding the maximum weight allowed for your RV. This is also called load or weight rating.
The higher this number, the more pressure your tires will be able to handle.
Although this information is a good indicator, it doesn’t necessarily take into consideration the weight you are adding to your motorhome in terms of appliances, equipment, clothes, and food.
It’s best to include that extra weight into your assessment and choose tires that exceed the limits you need to follow.
If you purchase tires that aren’t adequate for your maximum load rating, they simply won’t last as long and you’ll need to change them more often.
Climate & Driving Environment
Just like with regular vehicles, you need to take into account the type of climate and environment you’ll encounter during your RV trips, as these will greatly influence the type of tires you’ll need to buy.
If, for example, you’re planning a road trip to Utah or some other state in the western United States in August, look for heat-resistant tires (heat causes rapid tread wear).
If you’re hoping to pay a visit to Yellowstone National Park in January, choose tires that’ll provide you with the best traction on snowy roads.
The main differences between a regular tire and a winter tire are the tread depths (from 10/32” to 12/32” for a winter tire) and the rubber material (a higher percentage of natural rubber in winter tires which allows for a better grip).
Owning a class A RV, you’ll need a strong tire with a durable and strong sidewall.
The stronger the sidewall, the more weight the tires will be able to carry.
As you start adding up miles, what didn’t seem like a big deal in the first few hours of driving might suddenly become a serious problem after several days of driving.
Quality differs from one brand to another and some have more bounce and vibration resistance than others.
This can be subjective as everyone has a different level of tolerance.
The best place to inform yourself about this is online, i.e. by visiting forums and message boards where you can gather helpful feedback from a large number of RVers.
Where To Shop For new RV Tires
Buying new tires is a significant investment, which is why you want to make sure you’re getting your trailer tires from a reputable source while getting the best price.
Unsurprisingly, branded websites sell their products at a higher cost than other stores.
Because of this, branded websites aren’t always the best place you should visit to obtain tires.
There are many reputable online options for buying RV tires.
One of the best online sources is without any doubt Amazon, which gathers thousands of reviews from RV owners just like you and can offer you great deals.
Aside from Amazon, you can get great discounts on trailer tires from the following sellers as well:
- Costco has an entire tire department ready to give you some advice and provide you with your needed tires. You will, however, need to purchase a yearly Costco membership.
- Truck Tire Dealers usually have a very wide selection of RV tires as well. Call and inquire about the nearest store and the best prices.
- Retailers such as Walmart, Sears, Discount Tire, and others are a good source as well and often offer some interesting discounts.
- Camping World is yet another good place for tires and will often have everything you could possibly need.
The Best Tire Brands And Models
Goodyear Tires are some of the most reliable tires on the market.
The Goodyear G614 Unisteel RST Radial Tire is designed to support the heaviest trailers in the harshest road conditions (either dry or wet weather).
It’s made of heavy-duty material, improves rib stability, and contains innovative features that allow for better performance.
These tires are available in all sizes, will limit the amount of heat created while driving, and ensure even wear patterns. They are pricy, but a good investment.
Michelin is another very well renowned brand in the RV tire industry.
The Michelin XPS RIB Truck Radial Tire performs impressively and can accommodate different wheel sizes and vehicle types.
Since stability and traction are great, these tires will help you save fuel when on the road. However, they’re not suitable for icy or snowy roads.
Another awesome tire model for RVs is the Michelin XRV LRG 255/80R22.5. Its speed rating is L and its load index rating is 135.
If you’re planning to drive off-road, your best choice will be the Bridgestone Duravis M700 Radial Tire.
These tires offer a very high level of traction and can handle both dry and wet conditions.
Keep in mind, however, that the wheels are not included and that these tires are not suitable for heavy snow conditions.
The Boto Tyres BT926 Tire is probably the best selection when it comes to price and quality.
These tires are resistant to heat, have noise reduction abilities, and their stability and performance make them the ideal tire for everyday use.
Dunlop is one of the top manufacturers of high-quality tires, producing over 22 million tires every year.
The Dunlop Grandtrek AT20 All-Season Tire is very affordable and can be used in all weather conditions.
It’s also very quiet and stable which allows for a very smooth drive. The only downside is that this tire doesn’t perform well on winding roads.
Proper Tire Maintenance
No matter which tires you’ve decided on and purchased, they represent an important investment and you’ll want to keep them in good condition for as long as possible.
You need to take good care of your recreational vehicle’s tires regardless of whether the RV is currently on the road or stored until your next adventure. Here are a few maintenance tips for each situation.
Tire Maintenance While On The Road
- Know the maximum pressure limit for your RV tire. This information can be found both in the manufacturer’s manual and on the sidewall of the tire. Overinflated tires will wear out much faster and cause a great amount of stress on the RV’s suspension system. It’s important to do a pressure check at least once a month. Electronic devices (tire pressure monitoring systems) can display each tire’s pressure and temperature and can alarm you before anything goes wrong.
- You need to pay attention to the minimum pressure recommended for your tires as well. Many RV owners tend to under-inflate the tires to allow for a smoother ride. Not only is this mainly ineffective, but it can also be very dangerous and will wear out the tires much faster.
- Wash your tires regularly, but only use water and soap or a tire cleaner. Avoid harsh chemicals because they can cause the tires to deteriorate prematurely.
- It’s easy to surpass the maximum allowed weight, so be conscious of the weight you’re carrying and distribute it as evenly as possible. Before your trip, visit a truck stop (fuel and water tanks full) to check the weight.
- If your vehicle is stuck in snow, ice, mud, or sand, avoid overspinning. Instead, slowly go backward and forward until you free it. Overspinning may cause the tires to explode, which could result in a lot of damage.
Tire Maintenance During Storage
- Rotate your tires regularly to avoid uneven wear.
- If your trailer isn’t going to be moved at all for a long period, remove the tires if possible, and store them in a cool and dry place. There are tire storage bags that can protect your tires against UV rays while in storage.
- Store your trailer on wood, concrete, or gravel; never on dirt or a frozen ground as they can cause the tires to crack.
- Avoid parking on petroleum-based (black asphalt) or reflective surfaces (sand or snow).
- Cover your tires while in storage to prevent UV damage.
- Never lift your trailer in an attempt to keep your tires off the pressure — doing so can damage the structure of the RV itself and instead of replacing the tires, you’ll find yourself having to replace the entire trailer.
- Always keep your tires inflated to the recommended pressure plus 25 percent, and adjust the inflation back to the normal pressure levels before the next use.
- If you’re not planning to use your trailer for a long time, keep the weight off the tires as much as possible by removing heavy items from your motorhome.
- If practical, move your vehicle every three months to avoid “flat spots” on the tires or completely flat tires.
When one of your tires blows out, it could severely damage the electrical lines and propane located near the wheel wells, which can lead to catastrophic fires.
This is without taking into account the stress related to the experience of getting stuck on the road with a flat or exploded tire.
Investing in high-quality tires from a reputable source is a must for a safe and worry-free trip.
Low prices generally mean lower quality and such tires should be avoided with class A RVs.
A simple piece of advice is to buy the best you can afford.
With prices ranging from less than $60 to over $300, start looking at mid-range and check what other RVers say about them on online forums as well as in product reviews.
Your manufacturer’s manual is a good source of information concerning which type of tire you should invest in.
However, it’s up to you to do thorough research to select the right tires based on your own RV needs.
Many tires blow out because they are low-quality. However, most incidents are caused by factors within the RV owner’s control — overloading, over or under-inflation, or incorrect alignment.
Not replacing worn or damaged tires also carries a major risk, but it too is avoidable.
We hope this article was helpful and will make your research a much easier and faster task.
Drop us a comment below and share your RV tire experiences with us!