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Check RV Tire Pressure EVERY Travel Day (Here’s Why!)

Proper tire pressure is critically important not only to your safety but the life of your tires. Here is why you should check RV tire pressure EVERY travel day…

RV tires are vital to a safe, smooth trip, yet they are often the most overlooked parts of an RV. People know they need to check them, but they don’t realize how often they should check them.

RVers should give a visual inspection of their tires before every travel day. But that’s not all! It may seem tedious, but you should also check your RV tire pressure before you hit the road… every time!

Isn’t that overkill, Mike?! It’s really not, and I’ll tell you why. (Spoiler alert: it’ll save you time, money, and headaches!)

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RV Tires: What You Need to Know

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If you follow our RV Lifestyle YouTube channel, podcast, or blog, you’ll have noticed I’ve been going on a bit of an RV tire rant lately. That’s because I realized I have been severely neglecting the topic up to this point.

In truth, I started to get too lackadaisical about my tire maintenance (like all RVers do from time to time). I needed a kick in my pants to remind me of how important RV tire care and maintenance really is. 

When I got my kick in the pants, I went on our blog to see what posts I had to help our readers that I could update. Too few, it turns out! That spurred me to conduct the above interview and write a series of new blogs. 

So, let’s continue this series and answer why checking RV tire pressure is so important…

Why You Should Check RV Tire Pressure EVERY Travel Day

Checking your RV tire pressure takes less than 5 minutes and makes a big difference in keeping you safe, keeping you off the side of the road, and keeping money in your pocket. 

Let’s begin with the most important benefit: your safety.

The Danger of Underinflated RV Tires

Underinflated RV tires lead to blowouts. It’s as simple (and as dangerous) as that. I hope you’ve never had an RV tire blowout, but if you have, you know how scary it is. 

When your RV tire blows, it can cause serious problems, like loss of steering control, swaying, and even a fire. The debris from the blown tire can cause bouncing and possibly damage your RV, too.

Needless to say, you want to do everything you can to prevent RV tire blowouts. While some causes are out of your control (like debris in the road), tire pressure is something you can properly maintain.

If tire pressure is too low, too much of the tire’s surface area touches the road, which increases friction. Increased friction can cause the tires to overheat, which can lead to premature wear, tread separation, and blowouts.

Let’s talk about premature wear and tread separation now…

Incorrect Tire Pressure Shortens the Lifespan of RV Tires

I recently wrote an article on When to Replace RV Tires (Advice from Real RVers). You’ll notice by the title that I incorporated what REAL RVers say about RV tires, not just what tire dealers and manufacturers recommend. 

You might think that tire dealers and manufacturers try to get you to replace your tires earlier to make more money, but the lifespan of RV tires is truthfully quite short. 

The rule of thumb for changing your RV tires is around 3-5 years. As you can see from the comments if you read the full article, the consensus from RV owners leans to the 5-year end of that estimate. 

However, that rule of thumb only applies to quality tires that have been well taken care of. Underinflated tires can drastically decrease that projected lifespan.

Check RV Tire Pressure EVERY Travel Day (Here’s Why!) 1
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3 Products to Help You Check & Maintain Tire Pressure

Maintaining the correct tire pressure is easy if you have the right tools. I recommend the following (or some comparable version of the following).

1. Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Every RVer should carry a tire pressure gauge. However, there is a better tool. Instead of checking your tire pressure manually, you can monitor it with a TPMS. With this system, you just have to look at the display to check your tire pressure before you leave.

A Tire Pressure Monitoring System does exactly what its name implies. It displays a readout and/or gives you real-time status reports on all of your RV tires.

If a tire gets too low, it alerts you with a sound and flashes a message. Some show you exactly which tire is underinflated, while others just alert you to check your tires.

Some RVs have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) built in, but not all do. If yours doesn’t, you can easily install an after-market system.

The TST 507 is the best Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) on the market, and the only one that includes a color monitor. The flow thru sensor is very popular for those that want the convenience to air up tires without taking the sensor off the valve stem. (Recommended to use with metal valve stems; use the TST cap sensors for rubber valve stems.)

This is the system we have on our 32-foot Fifth Wheel, and I can’t tell you the peace of mind it provides.

Check RV Tire Pressure EVERY Travel Day (Here’s Why!) 2

2. Portable Air Compressor

The air compressor we have is the Viair 40047-400P RV model. The RV means it is made for RVs, and the unit is powered by jumper cables that attach to the battery of your vehicle.

It comes in a sturdy canvas bag and has all the accessories, including a hose, inflators, and a pressure gauge. It is very easy to hook up and operate. 

It’s not the cheapest air compressor but it is considered by many to be the best. If you’d like more options, check out the 5 Best Portable Air Compressors for Your RV.

Check RV Tire Pressure EVERY Travel Day (Here’s Why!) 3

3. Emergency Roadside Kit

No matter what precautions you take, RV blowouts can still happen. So, at the very least, you should carry LED road flares or orange warning triangles.

Better yet, you can carry a whole kit. Here are 5 Emergency Roadside Kit & Products for Your RV.

5 Emergency Roadside Kit & Products for Your RV

FAQs about tires

Why should tires NOT be underinflated?

Underinflated tires can negatively affect a vehicle’s performance in several ways. For one, underinflation can reduce a tire’s load-carrying capacity, which means the tire is more likely to fail when carrying heavy loads. This can be especially dangerous when driving on highways or other roads where high speeds are common.

Underinflated tires can also reduce a vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Because underinflated tires have a larger contact patch with the road, they create more rolling resistance, which means the vehicle’s engine has to work harder to maintain the same speed. This can result in reduced fuel efficiency and increased fuel consumption.

Finally, underinflated tires can also cause a vehicle to handle poorly. Because the tire’s contact patch with the road is larger, the vehicle is less stable and more likely to hydroplane or lose traction in wet or slippery conditions. This can increase the risk of accidents, especially on roads with poor visibility or other hazardous conditions.

What’s the best way to check tire inflation?

The best way to check tire inflation is to use a tire pressure gauge. A tire pressure gauge is a small tool that measures the air pressure in a tire and displays the reading on a dial or digital display. To use a tire pressure gauge, you simply remove the valve cap from the tire’s valve stem and press the gauge onto the stem. The gauge will then display the tire’s air pressure, allowing you to determine if the tire is properly inflated.

It’s important to check your tire pressure regularly, as it can fluctuate due to changes in temperature and other factors. Most tire manufacturers recommend checking the tire pressure at least once a month, and before long road trips. Additionally, you should always check your tire pressure before driving after your vehicle has been parked for an extended period of time, as this can cause the tire pressure to drop.

When checking your tire pressure, it’s important to use a reliable tire pressure gauge and to check the pressure when the tires are cold, as driving can cause the tire pressure to increase. It’s also a good idea to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual to find out the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle. This will help ensure that your tires are properly inflated and operating at their optimal level.

How many accidents are caused by tire problems?

It’s difficult to say exactly how many accidents are caused by tire problems, as tire-related issues are not always the primary cause of accidents. However, tire failure can certainly contribute to accidents, and it’s important to properly maintain your tires to help prevent accidents and ensure safe driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tire failure is a contributing factor in approximately 11,000 car accidents each year in the United States. These accidents can range from minor incidents with no injuries to serious accidents that result in fatalities.

To help prevent tire-related accidents, it’s important to properly maintain your tires and regularly check their inflation and tread depth. You should also inspect your tires for any signs of damage or wear, and replace them when necessary. By taking these simple steps, you can help ensure that your tires are in good condition and reduce the risk of accidents.

How are RV tires different than motor vehicle tires?

RV tires are specifically designed for use on recreational vehicles (RVs), such as motorhomes, travel trailers, and camper vans. These tires are typically larger and more heavy-duty than regular passenger vehicle tires, as RVs tend to be larger and heavier than most cars and trucks.

One of the key differences between RV tires and regular tires is their load-carrying capacity. RV tires are designed to support the weight of the vehicle and its contents, which can be much greater than the weight of a passenger vehicle. As a result, RV tires are typically larger and have stronger construction than regular tires.

Another difference between RV tires and regular tires is their tread pattern. RV tires are designed to provide good traction on a variety of road surfaces, including wet and slippery roads. They often have a more aggressive tread pattern than regular tires, which helps improve traction and reduce the risk of hydroplaning.

Additionally, RV tires are typically designed to withstand the unique demands of long road trips. This means they are often made from special compounds that resist heat, wear, and punctures, which helps extend their lifespan and improve their performance over long distances.

Overall, RV tires are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of recreational vehicles, and are typically larger, more durable, and more specialized than regular passenger vehicle tires.

How do I know when a tire is bad?

There are a few signs that a tire may be bad and in need of replacement. One of the most obvious signs is if the tire has a visible bulge or blister on the sidewall. This can be a sign of a serious issue with the tire’s structure and can cause a sudden failure while driving.

Additionally, if the tread on the tire is worn down to less than 1/16 of an inch, it is likely time to replace the tire.

Another way to tell if a tire is bad is if it is showing signs of age, such as cracking on the sidewall or tread. It is generally recommended to replace tires every six years, even if they still have tread on them.

RV Lifestyle recommends the RV Tech Course

Check RV Tire Pressure EVERY Travel Day (Here’s Why!) 4

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Every time you move your RV it’s like driving through a hurricane during an earthquake. Parts break and many items need to be maintained, this program will show you how you can save time and money by gaining the confidence to take on the majority of the issues you’ll come across. Don’t get caught with your RV in the shop! Learn how you can maintain and repair your RV at your own pace and at the most convenient time for you! This course is produced by the National RV Training Academy.


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2 Responses to “Check RV Tire Pressure EVERY Travel Day (Here’s Why!)”

December 12, 2022at8:43 am, Roger Bohnke said:

The best way to check tire pressure is to have a good TPMS like the TST products that check and display it constantly. You’ll have instantaneous alerts as well if the pressure or temperature goes outside set limits.

Reply

December 12, 2022at10:19 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thanks for sharing, Ron! Team RV Lifestyle

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