The tires on your RV are one of the most important, and widely overlooked pieces of equipment. For those that plan to travel during the winter, knowing what your tires are capable of is essential to getting to your destination safely.
There are some strategies you can use with your tires to tow a travel trailer in the snow and ice. Using the right kind of tires and chains in the right situations can prevent you from sliding off the road. When you are storing your coach, there is some RV tire care you can do to extend the life of them.
Before starting any winter adventure, make sure to give them a check-up first. Make sure the air pressure is at the optimum level. To avoid sliding, make sure you still have enough tread on the tires. Look for flat spots, rot, nails, and other possible damage. Dealing with flats is bad enough during the year.
Passenger Tires on Your Travel Trailer
To the average person, a tire is a rubber wheel that may have some other materials built into it. The reality is that there is so much more engineering that goes into it. Tire engineers focus on flexibility, weight tolerance, vulnerability, and grip strength on various road conditions. The factors your RV tires face are very different than what your passenger vehicle tackle.
According to tire experts, using passenger car tires on your travel trailers can create more problems than its worth. It all starts with the flexibility of the sidewalls of the tires. For your tow vehicle, you want them to flex to enhance traction and help smooth out the ride. On a trailer, you need stiff sidewalls to help with heavy load weights and minimize sway issues.
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Trailer tires are also designed to work in concert with trailer suspensions. Travel trailers and fifth wheels generally have less sophisticated suspension systems than passenger vehicles. This means that the tires are going to get a real workout. Having SUV or truck tires on your travel trailer can increase the chances for blowouts due to higher than rated stress on the tires.
When you are looking for RV winter tires, your best solution is to stick with tires designed for your trailer. Winter tires on motorhomes are possible since many of their chassis use a commercial truck or bus tires.
Snow and All-Terrain Tires
Snow tires are designed out of a softer rubber compound. They have many gripping patterns built in to help get through the snow and ice. All-terrain tires have wider and deeper treads to help with gripping in wet, dry, and snowy conditions. They are best used off-road and resist tears and chipping.
Finding snow tires for travel trailers is very difficult. Most tire makers don’t even make them. With the popularity of off-road camping, all-terrain tires are becoming more common. With towable RVs, all-terrain tires are all that you really need.
The best combination for winter travel would be putting snow tires on your tow vehicle for the grip strength and enhancing your pulling power on the drive axle. All-terrain tires on your trailer will still give you the traction you need to stay on the road. Tires can’t do it all. You will still have to drive appropriately for the road conditions.
If you are looking for the right set of tires, make sure you know your tire size. For example, on a Class A Motorhome that uses a Ford F 53 chassis, one of the tire sizes used is 245/70r19.5. It has a load range of G. You can find yours either on the sidewalls of your tires or in your owner’s manual.
To use our example, the 245 stands for the tire’s width. 70 represents the percentage ratio of height to width. In our case, the height of our example tire is 70% of the width. The 19.5 means that the tire is 19.5 inches in diameter. The load range of G stands for the classification of weight and PSI the tires can hold. The higher the letter, the more they can handle.
Once you know this information, you can go online or to your RV dealer to find the correct size of tire you need. Pricing on RV tires are different than passenger vehicles. Be prepared for higher prices. Especially with motorhomes. For some perspective, on the date this article was written, our example tire price range was between $380 – $400 per tire.
Chains and Socks
You can equip your travel trailer with snow chains. Tire chains give you the best gripping power in snow and icy conditions. The chains themselves have metal spikes that punch into the road surface. The drawback is the destruction they can leave behind in pavement and dirt roads.
This is why you must be familiar with each state’s laws concerning when and if you are allowed to use RV snow chains. There are alternate versions that use steel cable, rubber, and heavy-duty plastics. Another alternative product is an autosock that uses textile materials and is legal in every state.
For those states that allow snow chains, you can expect different things. Some areas require chains during winter months. Others allow it only when posted. Under certain valid conditions, municipal areas allow drivers to use chains at their own discretion. It’s recommended to have a set available, but make sure you know what the regulations are before you put them on.
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Tire Care While in Storage
If you are storing your RV for the winter, the key is to keep your tires off the ground, lessening the weight on them, and reduce their exposure to the sun. The ideal situation is to use jacks on the axles to relieve the weight off the tires. Place tire covers over each tire to block UV access. Storing your RV in a cool, dry, interior storage space would be the perfect situation.
Outdoor storage isn’t much of a problem if you do it right. Use wood, or plastic leveling blocks to get it off of the ground. Pavement and dirt have deteriorating agents on them. While very slow, this constant exposure can create flat spots or tire rot. Make sure the tires don’t hang over the blocks.
Giving your tires a good cleaning is like brushing your teeth. It keeps the bad elements from rotting the rubber. All you need is some automotive soap and water. Once clean, you can pick up some tire covers to block the sun.
Reducing your RV’s overall weight gives your tires a break while not in active use. Especially if it’s not moving for a while. The tires are rated for a certain pressure, but if you can reduce it, this can extend the life of your RV tires.
Product data was last updated on 2020-01-29 at 00:57.