We know that our motorhome has four of them, we know some motorhomes have six. we’re not counting the spare spare, because many don’t have one. In it’s place they have a little puncture repair kit in the event of a flat. But what do we really know about those black rubber things that we kick every now and again?
Our motorhome might have computer controlled engines and braking systems but, and I know it’s a bit of a cliche; We depend entirely upon a tiny area of rubber in contact with the road as our tyres have one of the most important functions on our motorhome. If tyres fail; the results can be catastrophic. Optimum braking, steering and cornering ability are all utterly dependent on this much neglected bit of rubber.
You should get in the habit of giving your tyres a good once over at least every month. Maybe every time you wash and polish, take a good look at the tyres. Look at each one in turn, look for proper inflation and check the wear is even as it should be, pay careful attention to the sidewalls, look out for cracks
Motorhome tyre Pressures and loading
Correct inflation is the absolute key to tyre care and safety. Your handbook should give you an inflation and load table but this might not reflect the actual axle loading. Use the manufacturers inflation pressures, as a starting point, but ideally you should get your axles weighed and then get a precise optimum pressure from the tyre manufacturer. All of the big tyre makers will happily give you this information. When you get your axle weights ensure that the maximum loading of your tyres is not being exceeded. Overloading is very dangerous and won’t do your motorhome any good as it will stress your suspension and brake systems.
Check your pressures monthly and before each trip when the tyres are cold. Don’t rely on gauges attached to pumps purchase a good quality gauge and look after it. You hear the odd story on forums about how some lower pressures so they might achieve a smoother or softer ride. Its debatable whether the ride is better on lowered pressure, but all the experts agree that it is bad for your tyres and poses a saftey risk. Tyres should always meet the minimum pressure suggested. The amount of air in the tyre determines the load that the tyre can withstand so lowering the pressure will reduce your carrying capacity.
Motorhome tyre wear and replacement
No matter how keen a motorhomer you are, if your wheel are properly balanced and tracked then you are unlikely to ever wear your tyres out. Tyres have a finite life; they start deteriorating from the moment they are made. Nearly everyone agrees that tyres should be changed when they are 5 years old. Everyone agrees that 7 is too old. This can come around quickly, especially as the tyres on your new motorhome might already be 18 months old when you buy. Some unlucky people have bought new tyres only to find they are “out of date” before they are even fitted.
It is generally accepted that UV light will accelerate the deterioration of your tyres which is why you see may motorhomers protecting their tyres from the Sun’s rays when parked up. Some tyre makers say the built in UV protectors are enough. There have been some reports that keeping wheel covers on in wet winter weather can cause trouble by keeping brakes in a wet and rust inducing environment. Given the high cost of a good set of tyres; my advice is that protecting them when you are abroad and in hot sun has to be a good thing.
Tyres carry a date code, they provide the date that the tyre was made. Up until the year 2000 this was a group of three digits giving the month and year of manufacture, if yours has three digits then it’s a dinosaur in tyre terms, so change it ASAP. Since the year 2000 the date code has been made up of four digits so a code of 2409 depicts a tyre made in week 42 of 2009
Motorhome Tyre Tread Depth
To ensure that you do not fall foul of regulation across Europe you should ensure you have a MINIMUM of 1.6mm across the full tread width. Should you notice any uneven wear then you should investigate immediately.