Sales rack full of brand-new RV tires

Could This 1 Thing Stop All RV Travel?

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Growing shortages and supply chain issues across the globe are making things tough for everyone, especially RVers. Shortages of gasoline and diesel, empty shelves at stores, and other issues are making travel tough. And now, there’s a new shortage arriving – could this shortage stop all RV travel?

A looming global shortage of rubber and its raw materials is causing issues with supplies of tires and other goods. But what’s causing the shortage? And how will it affect you as an RVer?

The Looming Rubber Shortage

Natural rubber is produced from the sap of the rubber tree, also known as the Pará rubber tree. Natural rubber is essential for producing tires and numerous other products like shoes and rubber bands. Now, due to a number of factors, the world is facing a shortage of raw materials for natural rubber.

Flooding and rubber tree diseases are major factors causing the shortage. Plus, a shortage of migrant workers in Thailand, one of the major producers of rubber, is also contributing.

Another issue is that rubber trees take a long time to grow. You have to wait up to 7 years before you can use a rubber tree to make rubber. So when trees die, it takes a long time to replace them. 

All of this combined with ongoing worldwide supply chain issues, shortages of rubber products (like RV tires) are looking likely. This means higher prices for tires and a harder time finding them.

Is There an RV Tire Shortage?

Some people are already reporting issues finding tires. One example comes from Charity at Grateful Glamper.

Charity and her family found themselves in need of new tires in the Detroit area. They called all over looking for tires for their Class A motorhome, a 2000 Fleetwood Pace Arrow. Every shop told them the same thing: they didn’t have any tires in the right size! Thankfully, they found a tire center that was able to source tires from across the country. Those tires were the last six tires of that size in the whole country!

If these shortages continue, it could have a huge impact on RV travel. It’s not hard to see why: without tires, you’re not going anywhere! But it’s not all doom and gloom. Many experts believe that there’s no need to panic about tire shortages. At least so far, major tire manufacturers like Goodyear and Bridgestone are reporting that they’re having no issues.

It’s also common for rubber supplies to experience cyclical prices. This means that rubber goes through a cycle where rubber trees mature, causing an excess of rubber supply. This leads to a drop in rubber prices, resulting in fewer trees getting planted. Over time, this causes rubber supplies to decrease, and prices to increase, incentivizing planting more trees. When the trees mature, supplies increase, and the cycle repeats. 

So, while we may be seeing some decreases in rubber supply, it’s far from a “rubber apocalypse.” Plus, many manufacturers are already working on solutions such as rubber derived from other plants. Plus, natural rubber isn’t the only kind of rubber. Synthetic rubber is an oil-based product and isn’t affected by the shortage. 

How Will an RV Tire Shortage Affect You?

If tire shortages continue to develop or worsen, there are a couple of effects that you could see. 

The most noticeable will likely be price increases. As rubber supplies get tighter, manufacturers pay more for materials. This leads to increases in the cost of the final cost of the tires that are paid by the consumer – a.k.a you. It’s impossible to know just how much RV tire prices would increase in this scenario. However, it may be smart to set aside a bit more in your budget for tire changes. 

If things get really serious, it may become more difficult to get tires at all. Especially with ongoing supply chain issues, you may begin to see more and more tire centers out of stock. If you’re worried about this scenario, being vigilant with tire maintenance and monitoring can help you push off a replacement. 

There May be a Rubber Shortage, But There’s No Need to Panic

It’s true that there are currently some issues with natural rubber supplies. This is on top of problems with the supply chain that are affecting all kinds of goods. And although this shortage isn’t too serious yet, some are already reporting issues. If the situation continues to worsen, we’ll see prices increase. And if it gets really bad, it may become increasingly difficult to find tires at all.

Thankfully, major tire manufacturers say that, for right now, everything is proceeding as usual. They’re working on solutions to stave off future shortages, like new sources of natural rubber. So, at least for now, there’s no need to panic about an RV tire shortage. 

26 thoughts on “Could This 1 Thing Stop All RV Travel?”

  1. Just bought 2 new Michelin X2 Energy tires from Pete”s RV Tire Service, Santa Ana, CA. Because I am an FMCA member and qualify for a large tire price discount, Pete’s gave me the same price: $576 for each tire, plus applicable tax and mounting. They had 92 of the same tire/size, 275R8022.5. bje, Garden Grove, CA

  2. Just one more reason we like our Class B Winnebago Travato. On a RAM Promaster, it uses the same tires many small trucks and most UPS/Fedex delivery vans use.

  3. Last summer we needed to rep.ace the tires on our 2015 Allegro Bus. Calls to Tiffin and several tire suppliers left us with the disappointing news that Michelins were not a ailable for our RV. Luckily a tire supplier in Ocala, FL had Goodyear tires that would fit the bill. Our RV got it’s tires

  4. In a newer change with a mostly national tire supplier that I have found to be pretty good in 40 years of using them and that is Discount Tire is now doing 19.5’s. My truck came with 17’s. I have a camper on the back and pull a 10,000# trailer. I had a problem of breaking wheels in the mountains. I put on 19.5’s 4 years ago and with the 1000# extra load cap per wheel, no more problems. In stopping and checking with Discount over the years I was always told no, to heavy & need different machine. Putting tires on a trailer travelling through CO last summer there was a F550 in the shop, I inquired and yes they now do 19.5’s I was told. I returned to AZ and needed rears on the truck. They brought in from OH a nice Continental that is working fine. They are a good company, I have no problem recommending them.

  5. Why report this non issue?
    The title of your article could cause a major run on the supply that could, in fact, cause a shortage!
    FACT: most people won’t read all the way down to the last section of your article where it mentions there is really not a problem.

  6. So this article is more of a find a problem when there isn’t one than anything else. The last sentence in the last paragraph says it all, “there’s no need to panic about an RV tire shortage. ” Was it a slow news day?

  7. Nice scare headline with an article that equivocates about whether or not there is something to the scare. Essentially no information that is of any use is presented. This was a waste of time.

  8. Only about 20 % of natural rubber used in tires the remaining components are synthetic rubber oil fillets and wire. Everyone is about panic anymore come back in a year I doubt anyone will be effected by this.

  9. The one thing there is no shortage of is people in the news media, on the internet, and on every form of social media, PREACHING DOOM & GLOOM about everything.

  10. I’m sorry, but there is so much misleading information in this article, I had to comment. I am in the rubber molding industry. RV tires are NOT made from natural rubber on which much of the article focused. They are made from styrene/butadiene or SBR, which is a synthetic rubber. Yes, natural rubber is in great demand, but supply chain issues are a problem for ALL types of rubber; especially silicone, Viton and EPDM. The main point is that natural rubber shortages will have nothing to do with RV tires….but synthetic rubber is ALSO experiencing high demand, long leads times, allotments and shortages….and yes, the situation is very bad and optimistically, will likely not see relief until 2nd QTR of 2022. If there is good news, it is that the automotive and tire industries have the most clout and will always be first in line to get their allotments, with other industries fighting for what is left over. I’m not trying to minimize the good intentions of the article, but please do better research and clarify your facts.

  11. Such click bait! A panicky headline over an article that ultimately says, “no need to panic.”

  12. Some vehicles, like mining trucks, have their tires filled with foam – NOT the type of foam you get from Home Depot. This is a special foam, and not cheap, but it keeps your tires round. I saw a photo of a tire with a piece of rebar running through it, and another photo of a tire worn down so much, it had a large hole in it, with the foam showing, and was running on the foam. Now you see one reason it is not cheap. Of course mining vehicles can operate without tread, which is very unsafe driving on a paved road. That is one option, but as I said, not cheap.

  13. When shopping for tires, especially if they are hard to find, odd sized, etc, be sure and check the manufacture date, when it was made.

  14. “Thankfully, major tire manufacturers say that, for right now, everything is proceeding as usual. They’re working on solutions to stave off future shortages, like new sources of natural rubber. So, at least for now, there’s no need to panic about an RV tire shortage. “

    Not until you posted this article. Especially after quoting Charity saying there where no more tires the size they needed found in the entire country. I’m sure the tire companies are happy with the upcoming run on sales and price increases. Thanks for the heads up about no need to panic.

  15. You, dear lady, are part of the problem, not the solution. Same as yelling ‘FIRE’ in a theatre when there is none.

  16. I ordered Goodyear Endurance tires for my 5er from E-Trailer on November 2nd. And was told that I would receive them the 2nd week of February.

  17. It would be good to know what size tires that 2000 Fleetwood uses.
    I had a Dodge with 16.5″ rims. There was only one manufacturer still making my size.
    If I had gone to a franchise tire store, they might have told me that the tires weren’t available.

  18. What a stupid, click-bait article.
    It talks about tire shortages, reduced rubber supplies, flooding??? (Really?) – –
    but then ends by saying “there is no need to panic.” If that is so then what was the point of this article? Seems to me the only point was to create stress and build fear in the uneducated majority of people who actually believe this kind of written nonsense.
    I recently bought tires – had no problem getting the size needed, and the tire shop was grateful for my business.

  19. What is the purpose and point of this meaningless article? It’s like saying the sky is falling and it’s not. All this does is create a false sense to cause hording. Do you not have any other stores to report? Stop making up these false stories to scare people. There is no tire shortage!!!!!!

  20. I was able to get Toyos from two different dealers. I’m having them installed tomorrow on my Pace Arrow 05 36 ft. It took me 6 months to get the ones from a Tire Dealer who specializes in Semi’s, Rv’s, large trailers. So I just asked my local mechanic and in two days he had the Toyos in for me. And I saved $650 on them. Good Deal. Just shop around. Of course. I could have gotten cheaper tires. But I wasn’t taking a chance.

  21. Headline says it all. Typical of any media outlet to take you down a rabbit hole only to find out you were actually in a fox hole and the rabbit is in the fox mouth. Anything written today on the net is pure garbage. The comments are more interesting then the article. If there is this “tire shortage” then that is the real reason all the airlines canceled flights over the holiday’s. “The truth will set you free”

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