Irrespective of the frequency of use, the life of RV tyres is usually taken as five years from the date of manufacturing but the overall life of RV tyres is determined on the basis of two factors: usage and climatic conditions. For front steered heavy vehicles, passenger busses and recreational vehicles, the pertinent UK laws – promulgated since February 2021 – have recommended the use of tyres for not more than ten years. Protecting the clear date code is the responsibility of the vehicle owners; otherwise, the stakeholders would be penalised. The life expectancy of RV tyres in United Kingdom is more because the climate carries lower temperatures throughout the year.

Do you find yourself an outdoor camping enthusiast? Are you fond of recreational vehicles to enjoy the leisure time with freedom? Are you an advocate of having a motorhome for making outdoor memories? If yes, then the article is a worth reading piece of writing for you. Your RV cruises on tyres which require repair and replacement from time to time. The manuscript mainly discusses two areas.

  • How long do RV tyres last?
  • When to replace travel trailer tyres?

United Kingdom is famous for state-of-the-art motorhome campsites characterised by the scenic beauty of the mighty Nature. When discussed with the CEO of the Campers Trader UK, new facts were revealed regarding replacement of camper tyres: “how long RV tyres last chiefly depend upon the smoothness of the roads you travel through, the amount of temperature and the level of humidity”. Same is the case with the travel trailers: the automotive motorhome like vehicles fitted with all features.

Something about the make and model of RV tyres

These are the tyres that set a recreational vehicle to motion; otherwise, an RV is just comparable to a bedroom in your home. To name a few manufacturers of RV tyres, Cooper Road Master, Samson, Yokohama, Deer Stone, Bridge Stone, and Trailer King excel in terms of quality and reliability. Similarly, Dunlop and Michelin are the famous brands across United Kingdom.

Motorhome tyres are a bit different from travel trailer tyres and small passenger vehicles. As per outer diameter of tyres, the sizes are taken as 33, 36, 37 and 38. The tyre makers understand the quality of material for it is all about the precious lives of the passengers and motorhome enthusiasts. Since RVs are driven only a few miles throughout the season, the owners keep them parked. Their tyres do not show signs of weariness and keep on looking new for years. It does not mean the tyres are reliable. The instructional manuals of the tyre manufacturers advice to use and store tyres with special care. If we keep an RV tyre under the sky for a few months with direct exposure to temperature and moisture, it would erode quickly. So it is not only usage that causes the RV tyres to be replaced, there are other factors too.

First understand how the RV tyres are manufactured!

To have a full knowledge of how long do RV tyres last and when to replace travel trailer tyres, it is essential to have an overview of the making of tyres at industrial level. The thorough mechanism operates under three categories: achieving the rubber latex, processing the raw materials, and manufacturing the tyres. It is equally interesting to know the nitty gritty of tyres before they are assembled with your brand new recreational vehicle or super luxury travel trailer.  

  1. RV tyres manufacturing material

Vehicle tyres are made up of carbon and rubber: natural or synthetic. The manufacturers get natural rubber from the stem of a specialised tree known as Hevea Brasiliensis or generally Sharinga Tree. Latex, a jelly-like liquid, obtain from these trees is then processed with acids and chemicals to bring it to the required composition. The process turns the liquid rubber into a flexible solid to bear more pressure and weight. On the other hand, crude oil becomes the source raw material to turn polymers into synthetic rubber which is further transported to the manufacturers of tyres in the form of sheets. However, around twenty-five types of rubber are used to manufacture vehicle tyres

Fully featured RV tyres

Like other motor vehicles, the RV tyres also carry three main design features: body, tread and beads. We see embossed parts of tyres that come in direct contact with the road. These are treads that look like cracks separated by even distance. Better tread gives stronger grip to the tyres. The left and right sheets constitute the body of the tyres. The main function of the body is to keep the original shape of the tyres. Beads support the tyres to stay fixed with the wheels. These are mostly made up of a cluster of metal wires.

The processes and procedures

The modern age computerised systems have changed the way of manufacturing tyres. From design to composition, everything passes through rigorous computer-based tests with least plausibility of error. The rubber manufacturers supply required types of rubber to the manufacturers in the form of sheets. They first cut these sheets to fit into the design of tyres to be manufactured. Once rubber is manufactured, it comes in a compact form whose sheets are then processed to make tyres. Specialised tyre-building machinery is inducted to achieve the manufacturing goals. Initially, the rubber layers are fabricated in the form of a tyre called Green Tyre. Carbon traces give the tyres black colour. Huge mixers, cutters, irons and hangers are employed to get the final form by rolling, squeezing, flattening and heating at various stages. Notably, the tyre manufacturing is achieved in batches. Numerous RV tyres are made under one batch.  

Final finishing of RV tyres

The metal wires clusters keep the tyres in their original designs. By now, the main body of the tyre is achieved. A minimum of four piles or layers of rubber and special fabric are glued together to enable the RV tyres to bear more pressure, temperature and friction. The beads and treads are embossed during the finishing phase. After curing stage, the tyres are cooled and tested.

Here the RV tyres are ready to be transported to the RV manufacturers and dealers! Usually, the camper lovers keep a pair of extra tyres stocked. Taking care timely is far better than curing later on.

How to calculate the age of tyres?

In order to cater to the human safety needs, the RV tyres now come with clear description of the week and year of manufacturing – DOT Code. This allows the users to calculate the age of tyres. According to the RV manufacturers and maintenance specialists, the RVs could not be driven for more than five years of the manufacturing of tyres. If you are used to drive to the roughest landforms, you might go for the replacement before five years. Life is the most precious thing on Earth!

Let’s try to understand DOT Code with the help of an example. Suppose the outer or inner wall of a pair of tyres shows the number 1620. The scheme indicates that the tyres were manufactured during the 16th week of year 2020. It means the tyres would fully depreciate by the 16th week of 2025.

How does weather affect the vehicle tyres?

How long RV tyres do last is not independent of the weather conditions: temperature, ultraviolet rays, moisture, humidity and the speed of wind. Excessive temperature softens the rubber which again solidifies by natural atmospheric cooling. The phenomenon deteriorates the tyres to a great extent causing rubber cracking. Tyres in UK, Canada and other colder geographies of the world usually last longer and need to be replaced after a chunk of ten years.

Small tips to enhance the life of RV tyres

  • Inflating the tyres to the prescribed level of pressure is important. According to the British Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (BTMA), twenty-five percent of vehicles go with at least one tyre underinflated.
  • Every RV accompanies some spare tyres. Keep on changing the position of the RV tyres while not in use. Let the air cross through depth of tread.
  • RV tyres are very sensitive to moisture too. The small pores in tyres are meant to absorb water. Make sure the motorhome pitch or your personal parking lot is fully dried up of water.
  • Clean your tyres with water at room temperature and some weaker detergent. Avoid using strong chemicals while washing the tyres; otherwise, their surface may erode soon.
  • It is a good decision to remove the tyres and place under prescribed temperature if you intend to pitch your RV for longer period of time.
  • How to make your RV tyres last longer is a considerate subject for the RV lovers. Regularly inspect the condition of your RV tyres. Immediately replace the one which has gone through many repairs and patches. Never compromise on the strength of tyres under any circumstances.
  • Carrying the Tyre Air Pressure Checker (a small device) with your RV is a wise decision which could save you from worries while traveling.
  • Go for successive wheel balancing and wheel alignment. Unaligned and imbalanced wheels depreciate the tyres very soon. It is risky too!

Since carbon black is constituted in the raw materials, tyres moving on the roads are a constant risk to the environment. They pollute the air in some way. It is therefore recommendable to use high quality, tested RV tyres to keep the environment safe.