Norton Seal White, small recreational vehicle parked facing the camera at a desert campground in the Southwestern United States

Hobby & Recreational Vehicles

RV Tire Maintenance and Blowout Prevention Tips

Before you get on the open road with your RV, there’s a lot of work to be done. And there are few things more important than making sure your tires are in great shape to prevent blowouts and save you from major headaches in the months ahead.

As the weather warms up, so do the roads. And the heat from friction that your recreational vehicle’s tires experience on hot days can be enough to blow it out, and throw a wrench in your carefully-planned summer adventure. Take a look at these helpful RV tire maintenance tips to help ensure your wheels will have what it takes to whether the roads all season long.

How to Verify Your RV Tire Size and Check the Tire’s Tread

Here are a few ways to verify that the tires you’ve got on your rig are ready for the road. You’ll need to know that they’re inflated correctly and that they’ve got tread enough to get you where you’re going safely.

Review the info on the driver’s side door sticker. Somewhere in the threshold of your door you’ll find a sticker, sometimes called the “VIN (vehicle identification number) sticker” or the “yellow sticker” that lists details on the tire size and required PSI (pounds per square inch). Review these details carefully and verify that your RV tire size matches those specified on the sticker.

This is good advice when shopping for a used RV. Think twice about purchasing an RV that’s not been well-maintained. If the tires don’t match the manufacturer-recommended tire size, ask about it.

Keep details on tire purchase history. It’s a best practice to swap out your RV tires every five years, so be sure that you have receipts on hand that list the installation dates for all tires.

Measure the depth of the treads. Take a quarter or nickel and place it in the valley of several treads on each tire, after they’ve cooled off completely. As a rule of thumb, the tread should cover part of the Washington’s head on the quarter. Take a more accurate approach and a look up the minimum recommended tread length for your tire on the manufacturer’s website.

How to Inspect Your Recreational Vehicle’s Tires

Make a habit of walking around your rig before starting the engine up. Carefully look at the condition of your tires and don’t be afraid to grab a flashlight and inspect the interior side of the wheels as well. Here are a few other tips on how to perform RV tire inspections to help keep you safe on your next adventure.

Look at both sidewalls of each tire for signs of cracking. Older tires, or tires on RVs that have been stored outside, can age quicker than those that winter inside. Take a close look at the sidewalls for bumps or fissures too. Take these signs seriously if you find them, and get your tires serviced or replaced before they blowout.

Rotate and balance the tires on a regular basis. Proper RV tire maintenance means investing time and effort to rotate the rear tires to the front and get them rebalanced at regular intervals. Consult with your tire manufacturer for details on frequency.

Check your RV tire’s air pressure. The importance of inflating tires to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI is key. Because both overinflated and underinflated tires can lead to blowouts, keeping your tires properly inflated makes a big difference. Be sure your tires are completely cooled when checking the pressure.

It’s recommended that you purchase an RV with an onboard tire pressure monitoring system and accompanying valve stems in each tire on your RV. That way, you can get a notification when a tire’s pressure extends either above or below the manufacturer’s recommended PSI.

It’s a Good Idea to Know How Much Your RV Weighs

When stocking up your RV for an extended road trip, it’s important that you know the weight limits for your RV. If overloaded, you could be risking a blowout. Here’s how to you can help ensure you’re not overtaxing your RV tires:

Check the yellow sticker for your load rating and weight limit. A great resource for information, that yellow sticker also tells you your payload capacity. Look for the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) data on the sticker. In addition to helping prevent blowouts, staying within the limits of your GVWR helps ensure you’re able to safely operate the RV as well.

Prevent tire failure by balancing your load across all axels. If you’ve got heavy supplies in storage or on board, be sure that you’re distributing the weight evenly across the RV. That way, each axel — and their wheels —takes on the load evenly.

Stop by a weighing station before hitting the road. Found in many larger truck stops, you can weigh your RV for a small fee. Now that you know your GVWR, you can make adjustments and offload extra items if you’re overweight.

How to Deal with an RV Tire Blowout

Knowing what to do when an RV tire blows out can help you to keep the rig under control and bring it safely to a stop. Here’s important advice on how to handle an RV blowout:

Always keep your hands on the steering wheel. If you don’t have a firm grip on your steering wheel and you blowout a front tire you could lose control. The vehicle may quickly lurch in the direction of the failed tire.

Accelerate to gain control of the vehicle after a blowout. Because the friction of the blowout will drastically slow down the RV, accelerating helps to keep you in control. The forces encountered when the tire rim meets the road can pull the RV to the side, and giving the engine extra gas can help keep you in your lane.

Maintain control and exit the road safely. Look in your mirrors carefully before changing lanes. Turn on your flashers after you’ve entered the shoulder and pull over safely.

Pick up Road Side Assistance Insurance

This optional roadside coverage is really important for several reasons. Firstly, if your motor home breaks down, a tech will be dispatched to check out your RV and do their best to get you back on the road. Here are other important reasons why roadside assistance is so critical:

We’ll change the flat tire or tow you to a mechanic. With a simple call to 1-800-MYAMFAM (692-6326) anywhere, anytime, we’ll help get you back on the road.*

Battery charging and jumping services are included. If your battery dies get in touch and we’ll dispatch a technician to get your engine running again.

As you’re preparing your RV for another road trip, remember to stop by your American Family Insurance agency. Our agents can help you secure discounts on your RV insurance by enrolling you in safe driver programs and the safety equipment on your rig may also qualify you for other ways to save. With the right coverage, you’ll be able to relax on the road ahead, knowing that your big investments are insured carefully.

*For campers, these coverages may extend from the towing vehicle's policy. Check your towing vehicle's policy for exact details, coverages, and exclusions, or better yet, let your agent get the answer for you.

How would you rate this article?

Related Topics: RV