The Answer Might Surprise You
One essential tool that doesn’t get discussed too much in the RV world is the wheel chock. Despite the lack of conversation around wheel chocks, there is one thing we think you should know – do RV wheel chocks expire? The answer might surprise you.
What are RV Wheel Chocks?
Wheel chocks are an essential piece of equipment designed to keep your RV or trailer fully stationary when parked at a campground – or anywhere else for that matter. This is especially important when positioned on an incline or decline. Chocks should also be used whenever your RV is not in use. Basically, wheel chocks help prevent your rig from rolling away unintended or slipping off a jack.
Properly setting up your wheel chocks is a matter of safety. Putting them into the correct position should be your first step when setting up camp. Inversely, removing them should be your last step before leaving. While chocks may be one of the least expensive tools you should buy for your RV, they are definitely one of the most important.
The most basic chocks that many campers start with are sometimes called “bulk chocks”. They are typically made of plastic and are relatively inexpensive. There are also options for wheel stops, rubber chocks, and x-chocks.
Do RV Wheel Chocks Expire
What many people don’t realize (or even refuse to accept, according to Jason from RV Miles), is that common plastic wheel chocks actually come with an expiration date. But why would a hunk of plastic expire?
Parents might be quicker to understand this, as it’s the same concept for car seats. The plastic these wheel chocks are made of will start to break down with time, even if they’re not constantly in use. Many factors can contribute to this like:
- Cold weather or freezing temperatures
- Direct sunlight
- Normal wear and tear
- Incorrect usage
Continuing to use plastic wheel chocks after they expire can lead to some dangerous situations. Chocks may slip out of their proper positioning, rendering them useless when it comes to keeping your RV in place. They could also shatter when you put them in place.
Bottom line: while expired chocks may seem like they’re still functioning correctly, they can become a liability.
How to Figure Out When Your Wheel Chocks Expire
The good news is that it’s super easy to tell when your plastic chocks expire. Manufacturers will imprint the expiration date right on the chocks themselves. It may say something such as “expires on” or “replace after,” along with a date. So if you’ve been using the same plastic chocks for years on end, it’s a good idea to check them for an expiration date.
On top of keeping an eye out for the date, check your chocks regularly to make sure they’re still in good condition. Check for hairline cracks, chalking, or any other signs of deterioration.
Plastic wheel chocks are inexpensive to replace, and it’s always a good idea to exercise caution.
Plastic vs. Rubber. vs. Aluminum Chocks – Which Lasts Longer?
Plastic RV Chocks
The most commonly used are plastic chocks. These are typically the cheapest and most readily available chocks but may not always be the best option.
Plastic chocks have weight and size restrictions. Those RVers driving a big rig should consult manufacturers’ instructions before using them.
Some manufacturers say plastic chocks last around four years.
Rubber chocks are also available and have become popular for those with large RVs like fifth wheels. Typically, these have fewer limitations when it comes to wheel size restrictions.
Made from heavy-duty rubber, rubber chocks are known to be:
- More sturdy
- Have better grip
- Withstand all climates
- Last longer than their plastic counterparts
Aluminum Tire Chocks
Lastly, there are aluminum chocks – which are common with fire trucks and semi-trucks. They will keep their shape despite putting extremely high pressure on them. While they may be overkill for everyday RVs, they offer the best grip and can potentially last the longest.
Bottom Line: Always Check with the Manufacturer
Whatever wheel chocks you end up choosing for your rig, the most important thing is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. This includes regulations on size and weight, as well as if and when the wheel chocks expire.
When it comes to the safety of you, your family, and those around you, it’s always better to stay cautious.
Did you know that your RV wheel chocks have the potential to expire?