No matter is you have a travel trailer, 5th wheel or pop up camper, spring is a really great time to go over everything on the trailer and do a thorough cleaning and checking of all the appliances. One of the most overlooked components of your trailer are the tires.
Hardly a week goes by without somebody asking us how long trailer tires last. Trailer tires are different from automobile tires, and to really understand the differences, think about the life these tires live. Automobile tires tend to run every day, and have direct attention. Trailer tires on the other hand spend 90% of their lives in one spot, sitting in mud puddles, and losing air pressure.
How Long Do They Last?
The harsh truth is, after three years, you should really start looking closely at them and checking for cracks, uneven wear in the treads, bulging, or any other abnormality. After 5 years, go ahead and start planning the funds to replace them, even if they still look ok. If you have gone 6-7 years, now is the time to just go ahead and replace them, again, even if they don’t look bad, you are probably living on borrowed time. If you aren’t sure how old your tires are, know that there is a code stamped in every tire made in the last decade or so that gives an exact date. Here is a great article I ran across that breaks down the tire code so that you can be sure.
How can I Get More Life Out Of My Tires?
As with all of the other parts of your RV, UV light can be the worst thing for your trailer tires. Over time, the plastic parts of the trailer will yellow, or become brittle and prone to cracking. Tires, being black, tend to absorb even more rays, which can leech life from the tires, and cause them to dry out and start cracking.
The best way to help combat this is to use a tire cover over each tire that helps keep the damaging UV rays off the tire. This is not a sure-fire solution but it will help minimize the damage, and prolong the life of the tire.
The other main issue is tire pressure. You want to check your tire pressures regularly, and make sure it is sitting at the max pressure when cold. Especially when towing. Running the tires while low can lead to “cupping”, which means that the tire is running on it’s outer edges, leading to uneven tire wear. The opposite is also true, over-inflating your tires will make the middle portion of the treads to wear out more quickly.
Do not forget your tires, they are the only thing between your trailer and the road; and a blowout is a very good way to cost money and raise your insurance rates.