Tire Service and Repair
10/1/2014 – Good Sam Extended Service Plan
Tire service and repair should not be attempted by the amateur; your safety is at risk with less-than-perfect tire repairs. But the do-it-yourselfer can perform two important tasks:
- Regular tire inspections for irregular wear patterns, defects, and inflation pressures.
- Perform tire rotation at 10,000-mile intervals.
Inflation pressures should be checked at least once a month, more often if the vehicle is used on a daily basis. The pressure in your tires should be matched to the load of the vehicle without exceeding the load rating or inflation pressure on the sidewall of the tires.
The best way to determine the load is by weighing your vehicle. Motorhomes often operate at near (and some over) the chassis gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). If, in weighing the vehicle, one determines that a tire is overloaded, a change to a tire of proper load range (the wheel must be rated to handle the capacity of the tire). If the tire is within its capacity rating, inflation should be set to match the load.
Inflation pressures should be checked and/or changed only when the tires are cold. A tire's pressure may climb 5 to 10 psi after driving some distance since heat causes the air to expand. Measuring pressure in a hot tire will give erroneous readings. Never bleed air from a hot tire; it will then be operating in an underinflated condition. Light-truck tires with the LT designation stamped on the sidewall may be overinflated up to 10 psi over the manufacturer's recommendation.
A quick walk-around inspection should be made each day before the vehicle is driven. Check the tires for odd wear patterns, sidewall defects, foreign objects that may be embedded in the tread, abrasions, and any other damage that may have occurred in the previous day's driving. By making this a regular habit, you'll avoid roadside tire failures.
Tire rotation is valuable in maximizing tire life. Different wear patterns develop, depending on the service the tire receives. (Drive tires develop patterns that differ from steering tires.) The rotation pattern will depend on the type of tire with which your RV is equipped. It’s best to consult the owner's manual for your particular vehicle/chassis for specific recommendations regarding tire rotation.
It's important to keep your tires clean and protected from the sun and other harmful elements. Although trailer tires, stamped with an ST, have compounds that protect the rubber from the elements, they should be covered when the trailer/fifth-wheel is in storage or parked in camp for an extended time. The same gold is true for motorhome and tow-vehicle tires. If you are going to use a protectant on the tires, make sure the product does not contain petroleum distillates. Tires covered or treated with a protectant will have a longer service life and resist cracking or crazing. Tires older than seven years should be discarded, regardless of tread condition.
Livingston , B. (2002). RV repair & maintenance manual. (4th ed.). Ripon Printers
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