Tire Safety – A Brief Overview from TireMinder
When driving a standard vehicle, it’s important to incorporate a quick tire check in your daily routine, such as checking your tread depth, looking for uneven wear, and making sure you have the right amount of air in your tires. As an RVer, a daily tire check is exponentially more important.
We’ve all seen what can happen when a tire blowout occurs on a trailer or motorized RV. It’s not pretty and can be life threating… and that’s just from the initial blowout. Tire blowouts can also start a fire inside your RV, which unfortunately happens more often than you’d think. Therefore, it’s extremely important to take tire safety seriously!
Check Your Tire’s Manufacturing Date
The first thing to do before taking a trip is to check your tire’s manufacturing date. Tire manufacturer’s place the date the tire is constructed on the outer wall of the tire. The reason for the date is, over time, the tires will degrade internally (also known as internal tire rot). This can cause sudden blowouts and other related tire failures. Even if your tire looks brand new, you should replace your tire if the date on the tire is older than 5-6 years. When you’re buying a new tire, make sure it is at least less than a year old. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of your tire date you can easily refer to before hitting the road. For a detailed look at what all the markings on your tire mean, please see the image below.
Check the Tread Depth
Checking your tread depth is best done by using a tread depth gauge. This is best done before and after a trip. When has a tire lost too much tread? When the tire repair shop states they’re legally not allowed to let you leave without signing a paper – it’s time to replace the tire! In a serious note, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Section 570.62(a): The tread shall be not less than four thirty-seconds of an inch deep on each front tire of any vehicle other than a trailer and not less than two thirty-seconds of an inch on all other tires. Best to leave it to the DOT but believe me it never hurts to be on the side of caution. More tread is going to provide more stability while driving.
Weigh Your RV
Improper weight and distribution of weight can cause uneven tire wear, increasing the chances of a tire failure, as well as cause premature wear on other components. Having your RV weighed on a per-tire basis allows you to without-a-doubt know what pressure your tires should be set at. Your RV should be fully loaded at the time of weighing, this includes passengers, food, clothing, water, fuel, supplies, any towed vehicles behind a motorhome, and the tow vehicle for an RV trailer. Each tire manufacturer supplies a load and inflation table to find the exact tire pressure. These tables can be found at your local tire shop, online through the respective manufacturer’s website or by visiting: www.tireminder.com/load-tables. Below, you’ll find an example of a load and inflation table which Michelin provided for their XZE tire.
Check Your Tire Pressure Every Month While in Storage
If a single tire goes low or flat in storage, this can put strain on all your remaining tire positions and decrease their lifespan. If your RV is in storage, you should check your tire pressure at least once a month. For ease, you can use a tire pressure monitoring system to quickly check all your tire pressures. Please keep in mind that most TPMS systems take between 4 to 30 minutes to receive updated (new) readings from all your rigs tire positions. Some systems, such as the ones from TireMinder, include a feature where you can press a button and receive all updated tire pressures.