Purchasing RV tires is not an easy task anymore, and can quickly become overwhelming if you are not prepared.
You can find a wide range of prices and quality, each tire having its own characteristics, pros and cons.
To make this challenging mission easier, here’s what you need to know before setting a specific budget for your next set of RV tires.
Let’s have a closer look at the different elements and characteristics to take into consideration while purchasing RV tires.
It can first seem confusing, 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 will quickly realize that quality comes with a premium price.
Cheaper options often have weaker tread widths, weaker sidewall strength, less inflation pressure, and a lower load rating.
They can be up to 45 feet in length and usually accommodate at least four passengers.
They’re almost always much bigger in size than the class C motorhomes.
Because of their size and weight (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 price for a good quality RV tire is likely to be about $300 per tire.
For example, Deerstone D902 tires currently cost less than $90 and weigh 37 pounds each, while Yokohama TY303s tires cost more than three times the price (over $300 per tire at the time of writing) and weigh 99 pounds each. Let’s have a closer look.
Starting With The Basics
The best place to start your research is by opening your owner’s manual.
It contains the manufacturer’s recommendations and other important information regarding which type of tires you should be looking for. This will save you a lot of time and possible mistakes.
A lot of information is also indicated on the tire sidewall itself.
If you’re not sure how to read these numbers, the Tire Industry Association guides you step by step on how to get the most of the information.
Choosing The Right Tire
Different types of tires can be purchased for a class A motorhomes.
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.
These are the most common type of tires. They are specifically designed for comfort in different types of climate and roads, but are only recommended for light vehicles.
Passenger vehicle tires may be more affordable, but they are not 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.
When used on a class A motorhome, they will 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 light truck tires, look for an ‘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 need to be towed.
These tires are able to put up with a very heavy weight and pressure. They are also extremely stable, which will prevent the trailer from swaying.
Trailer special tires are made of rubber compounds which can resist UV rays. It’s important to keep in mind that sudden and sharp turns are very difficult to make with these tires. Look for ‘ST’ on the sidewall of your tires.
To purchase radial tires, make sure that your bank account is in a good shape as they are one of the most expensive tires on the market!
They are most often installed on luxury recreational vehicles.
Radial tires are best for long trips or when using your RV regularly throughout the year.
They are great to save fuel, allow for better traction, are very stable, and make for a very comfortable ride. You will certainly keep them for a long time.
Bias tires are one of the cheapest tires and for a reason.
Unlike radial tires that have a flexible sidewall, bias tires are made of nylon belts which make the sidewalls very strong and able to handle very heavy weights.
By losing its flexibility, the tire also loses a large piece of its lifespan.
Bias tires have an average lifespan of 12,000 miles, while radial tires can last up to 40,000 miles.
This may be suitable if you’re only planning short trips on rough roads. Just keep in mind that you will need to replace these tires much more often than any other tires.
Trying to save a few dollars by buying tires a bit smaller or larger than you need can be very detrimental for your RV and your safety.
The tire diameter should always match the rim diameter.
Every brand will have its own chart sizes which you can easily refer to and select the exact size you need. For a more accurate tire size, use tire charts from the tire manufacturer rather than from a third party.
Maximum Weight Limits
Your manufacturer’s manual has all the information needed in regards to the maximum weight allowed for your RV. This is also called “load rating.”
The higher the number, the more pressure your tires will be able to handle.
This information is a good indicator, however, it does not 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.
If you purchase tires that are not adequate for your maximum load rating, they will simply not last as long and you will need to change them more often.
Climate & Driving Environment
Just as for regular vehicles, you need to take into consideration the type of climate and environment you will encounter, as these will greatly influence the type of tires you will need.
If you’re planning a road trip to Utah in August, for example, 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 allowing you the best traction in snow.
The main differences between a regular tire and a winter tire are the tread depth (10/32″ to 12/32″ inch for a winter tire), as well as the rubber material itself (higher percentage of natural rubber), which allows a better grip.
Owning a class A motorhome, you will 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 bigger 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 way to find out is online in forums and message boards, where you can gather a wide range of feedback from RV owners.
Where To Shop For Tires
Buying tires is a significant purchase and you want to make sure that you’re getting your new RV tires from a reputable source while still getting the best price.
Unsurprisingly, branded websites sell their products at a higher cost than anywhere else.
Because of this, branded websites are not always the best place you should look to obtain tires.
There are many reputable online options available to acquire RV tires.
One of the best online sources is Amazon, which gathers thousands of reviews from RV owners just like you, and can offer you great deals as well.
Aside from Amazon, here are a few other ideas to get great discounts on RV tires:
- 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 location and the best prices.
- Retailers such as Walmart, Sears, Discount Tire, and others are a good source too, and can often have some interesting discounts.
- Camping World is also good for tires and will have everything you can possibly need.
The Best Tire Brands And Models
Goodyear tires are some of the most reliable tires in the industry.
The Goodyear G614 Unisteel RST Radial Tire is designed to support the heaviest trailers on the hardest road conditions (either dry and wet weather).
It is made using heavy-duty material, improving rib stability, and contains innovative features allowing better performance.
The tires are available in all sizes, will limit the amount of heat created while driving, and ensure even wear patterns. They are pricey, but definitely a good investment.
Michelin is another very well renowned brand in the RV tire industry.
The Michelin XPS RIB Truck Radial Tire has an impressive performance and can accommodate different wheel sizes and vehicle types.
Because stability and traction are great, these tires will help you save fuel while on the road. They are, however, not suitable in icy or snowy road conditions.
If you’re planning to go off-road, your best choice will be 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 compatible with heavy snow conditions.
The Boto Tyres BT926 Radial Tire are probably the best tires 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 your 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 a very smooth drive. The only downside is that this tire is not the best on winding roads.
Proper Tire Maintenance
No matter which tires you have chosen and purchased, they represent an important investment and you will want to keep them for as long as possible.
Here are a few tire maintenance tips, whether your RV is on the road or stored until your next holiday.
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 as well as on the sidewall of the tire. Overinflated tires will wear out much faster and cause a great amount of stress on the RV 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 inform you before anything goes wrong.
- Also known the minimum pressure recommended for your tires. Many RV owners tend to under inflate the tires to allow 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, which can cause the tires to deteriorate prematurely.
- It is easy to surpass the maximum weight allowed, 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 over spinning, and instead slowly go backward and forward until you free the vehicle. Overspinning may cause the tires to suddenly explode, which could result in a lot of damage.
Tire Maintenance During Storage
- Rotate your tires regularly to avoid uneven wear.
- If your trailer is not going to be moved at all for a long period, remove the tires if possible, and store them in a cool and dry place. Tire storage bags are available to protect the tires against UV rays while in storage.
- Store your trailer on wood, concrete, or gravel, and never on dirt or 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 trying to keep your tires off the pressure, doing so can damage the structure of the RV itself and instead of replacing the tires you will 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 period of time, keep the weight off the tires as much as possible by emptying heavy items from your motorhome.
- Move your vehicle every three months, if practical, to avoid “flat spots” on the tires.
When one of your tires blows out, it could severely damage 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 holiday.
Low prices generally mean lower quality and these tires should be avoided with class A motorhomes and 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 in online forums and product reviews.
Your manufacturer’s manual will give you a good source of information in regard to which type of tire you should invest in.
However, it’s up to you to do thorough research in order to select the right tires based on your own RV needs.
Many tires blow out because they are low quality. However, most incidences are caused by conditions 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, which is again avoidable.
I hope this article was helpful and will make your research a much easier and faster process.
Drop us a comment below and share your RV tire experiences!
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