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Should You Use RV Tire Covers While Camping?

| Updated Oct 11, 2023

We all know you should cover your tires when your RV is in storage, but what about while you're camping?…

In a recent post in our RV Lifestyle group, a member named Terry asked, “Why do people cover their camper tires at a paved location if they're just staying a week?”

The post garnered more than 300 comments that explained or decried this practice and some recommended products that can help protect your tires.

We've written many articles on RV tires because it is SO IMPORTANT to care for them properly. (We'll link to those articles throughout this one.) In this article, we talk about the benefits of RV tire covers in the long term and short term.

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Understanding the Importance of RV Tires

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of tire covers, let's take a moment to appreciate the vital role that tires play in the overall performance of your RV. Your tires support the weight of the vehicle, providing stability and traction on the road.

Tires are the only thing between your RV and the ever-changing terrain beneath you. So, it's safe to say that keeping your tires in top shape is crucial for a smooth and safe RV experience.

It's worth noting (as Vince points out in the comments) that the fastest way for RV tires to deteriorate is to sit too long (whether covered or not). So, while it's a good idea to cover your tires when your RV sits for an extended time, it's also a good idea to travel as much as possible! (Hooray!)

Common Tire Issues Faced by RV Owners

Should You Use RV Tire Covers While Camping?

As RV owners, we face some unique challenges when it comes to tire maintenance. Prolonged exposure to sunlight and extreme weather conditions can wreak havoc on those rubber companions.

Ever heard of dry rot? It's an RV tire nightmare that occurs when the rubber starts deteriorating due to the elements. Not fun.

We must also deal with sidewall cracking, tread wear, and the dreaded blowouts. Yikes! But fear not my friends; there's a solution: RV tire covers!

(PSST! Here's How to Survive an RV Tire Blowout. << This article could save your life.)

The Benefits of Using RV Tire Covers

RV tire covers serve a mighty purpose: protecting your tires from the damaging effects of the sun and other environmental nastiness. First and foremost, tire covers shield your tires from harmful UV rays, preventing cracks and dry rot. That means longer tire life and fewer headaches on the road.

But wait, there's more! Tire covers act as thermal insulation, helping to regulate tire temperature and reduce the risk of damage caused by extreme temperature fluctuations.

If that's not enough, using tire covers can save you some serious moolah! By protecting your tires from unnecessary wear and tear, you're avoiding costly tire replacements and repairs.

But Should You Use RV Tire Covers While Camping?

There's an overwhelming consensus that RV tires should be covered whenever you put your RV in storage. But what Terry was essentially asking in the Facebook post is whether it's worth covering them while camping for a week or more.

There was some debate in the comments over this.

Many RVers said that if it's sitting for more than a week, you might as well cover them especially if you're camping in a hot climate or parked on asphalt or in direct sunlight. Michael summed up this opinion nicely:

“What would happen to your skin unprotected for a week out in the sun? The sun has the same effect on rubber, why not protect it if you can? Easy enough to put the covers on and take them off.”

Luke also made a point worth considering: “Well, if you pay $1000 for new tires and never cover them cause “you’re only in one place for a week”, you ultimately end up with tires that are always exposed to the sun. Which is not unlike leaving your rig parked in one spot for the whole year uncovered.”

Other commentators said the practice is excessive, pointing out that you don't see people covering their car tires when parked in their driveways for a few days. Jon, who works in trucking, took this perspective one step further by saying:

“Drive by a Trucking company and see if they cover their tires? I will tell you no we do not.”

Overall, we say that it depends on your situation. It depends on how long you're camping for, how long your entire trip is, and what temperatures and sun exposure your RV is sitting in. In short, the longer your RV is sitting in the sun, the more you should consider putting RV tire covers on.

RV Tires Can't Do It All

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Now that we've explained the benefits of tire covers for RVs, let's not forget some other essential aspects of RV tire care. There's a real danger of underinflated RV tires, and we strongly suggest checking your tire pressure EVERY travel day (here's why).

Regular tire rotations and alignments for even wear are also very important. And it's IMPERATIVE that you know when to replace your RV tires. Otherwise, you can be driving on ticking time bombs.

Tips for Choosing and Using RV Tire Covers

When choosing the perfect tire covers for your RV, consider size and material. You want covers that fit snugly, protecting every inch of those precious tires. Here's an article on RV Tire Sizes that can help.

Opt for durable and weather-resistant materials to ensure your covers can withstand the elements. And don't forget to follow the instructions for installation and maintenance.

RV Tire Cover

There are many types of RV tire covers on Amazon – here is one that has a lot of extra information about RV tire covers on their page. And if you scroll down on that page, you'll see many more types ranked by 4 stars and up – which is a good place to start your search.

Should You Use RV Tire Covers While Camping?

RV Tire Cover Alternatives

Though RV tire covers are quite easy to put on and take off, some RVers still consider it too much of a hassle when camping. So, we have a couple of alternatives for you to consider.

First is using an aircraft-grade tire protectant spray. Some commentators recommended tire protectant spray, in general, but many of those sprays are more about making them shiny and pretty than actually protecting them. The Aero Cosmetics spray we just linked to is more promising in providing real protection.

Our second alternative is a clever DIY RV tire cover hack shared by one of our Facebook members. Jan shared:

“…we did see a cool thing in Laughlin Nevada: instead of wrestling with the tire cover, this guy had a service where he essentially applied a velcro strip on the outside, above the wheel wells, and attached a heavy waterproof black curtain to keep the sun off the tires. When you're ready to leave, you just take the curtain off. Looked very simple and a lot more convenient and fast!”

As Jan said, it's a simple solution that's quicker and cheaper than using actual RV tire covers. Seems worth considering!

9 Neat & Funny RV SPARE TIRE Covers

Most RV tire covers focus on function over “fashion”, but you can have some more fun with SPARE RV TIRE COVERS!

If your RV has a spare tire that's mounted on the outside (not all do!), you should check out these 9 Neat & Funny RV Spare Tire Covers…

Explore our 7 Day Adventure Guide to Colorado

Should You Use RV Tire Covers While Camping? 1

When Jennifer and I first went to Colorado, I felt like I finally understood what John Denver meant by his song: I've now been Rocky Mountain High.

And like Denver, exploring all that Colorado has to offer made me want to sing, too.

This is a fully designed and edited guide that you can download and start reading immediately on your phone, tablet, computer or e-reader.

Explore our 7 Day Adventure Guide to Colorado



Should You Use RV Tire Covers While Camping? 2
Mike and Jennifer Wendland

Curious about the gear, gadgets, accessories, and RV products Mike & Jennifer use and recommend?

On this RV Lifestyle Travel blog, our RV Podcast and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel, we mention all sorts of RV-related products and gear that we use, So we created a special page that links to them. We update this all the time.  CLICK HERE to go to it directly. Have you caught one of our Amazon LIVE events yet? Just go here and Follow us – to be notified every time we go live.


Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-07-22

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

4 Responses to “Should You Use RV Tire Covers While Camping?”

October 09, 2023at5:41 pm, Vince Thompson said:

Mike, you repeated what has been said in just about any RV blog, forums, social media, and newsletters and much of it is bunk.
What you didn’t point out is the real reason for premature RV tire decline is lack of movement or rolling down the road . This is important to distribute the oils and emollients tires are made with. Truck tires don’t suffer the same effects 😂 je cracking and dry rot because they are always moving. Just like your car tires. RVs in general average may put less than 5K miles per year, they sit! Again, compare to trailer tires designated ST because the tire makers realized trailers tend to sit more than move so they add more oils and UV protection to their tires.
I enjoy some of your articles, but as a journalist some more research may be needed.

Reply

July 22, 2023at1:48 pm, Herbert Dornbush said:

Your article shows several instances of black tire covers. According to what I have read, black tire covers are no better than no cover and may be worse as they trap heat in which also deteriorates tires. All of my tire covers are white.

Reply

July 22, 2023at11:25 am, Barbara Longeway said:

We use protective tire covers from MagnaShades.com. They are custom made for the specific tire size. The design is a simple round “donut” style cover secured with bungee type bands. So, they’re much easier to put on and take off than the “shower cap” style tire covers. The covers are stored “folded” much like popup hampers and kept in a small bag.

Reply

July 26, 2023at1:50 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thanks for sharing, Barbara! Team RV Lifestyle

Reply

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