How Long Do Trailer Tires Last?

cracked tires

cracked tires

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.

Here is a video detailing a good routine for checking your tires regularly.

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.

 

How Do You De-Winterize A Trailer?

2013 PALOMINO SABRE 293 RBSS AT WESTLAND CAMPING

2013 PALOMINO SABRE 293 RBSS

With the coming of the warm weather, our thoughts inevitably turn to the camping season.  With that time of year, we all need to perform the task known simply as “DE-WINTERIZING”.  This mysterious term means different things to different people.  Usually it refers to just flushing out the water system of antifreeze from the fall, but there is a whole lot more to it than that.  De-winterizing is really the best opportunity you will have to also do a major and thorough inspection and cleaning of the unit to make sure it is safe and ready to go well before your first trip.  There is nothing more frustrating than finding a problem the night before you leave chipping away at your valuable vacation time.  Here are the main areas that you should focus on:

Water System

If you properly winterized your trailer last fall, then to start de-winterizing, follow these steps to get it back to regular operation.

Locate and open the low-point drains underneath the trailer, go inside the unit and open all of the faucets to break the vacuum and allow the antifreeze in your plumbing lines to drain out.

Close the faucets and low-point drains and fill your fresh water tank with fresh water.

Make sure (if equipped) your winterizing pump diverter is set to draw water from the fresh water tank, and turn the water pump on, and wait until it builds pressure and shuts off.  Then go to each faucet and turn on hot and cold water lines one at a time and run water until all pink is gone and the water runs clear.  Don’t forget the toilet and outside shower.

Install the Anode rod or drain plug on your water heater, and open the bypass valves to allow water into your water heater, and use the pump to fill it up making sure to bleed the air out of it so it is actually full.

Let the pump sit under pressure and listen for it to be turning on and off, this can be an indicator that there is a water leak, and the pressure is not holding.  If so, trace the plumbing lines until you find it, and fix it.  Don’t let it wait; water leaks can do a lot of damage in time.

Now is also a great time to sanitize your water system, and for more about that, watch this video.

Appliances

Once you have the water system filled and sitting under pressure, use compressed air and blow out all of the appliance access areas like the fridge and water heaters.

Then go inside and fire up all of the appliances to make sure they are working correctly.  If there is a problem, now is the time to address it, not when you are counting on the furnace at the campground…

After you check all of them, go ahead and drain all your fresh water, including your water heater.  You really don’t want to let that water sit in there.

 Exterior

Wash and wax the unit (if you are a wax person), and remove any stains or black streaks on the outside.  While doing that, wash the roof and thoroughly inspect all seals, and touch up as necessary.  For more on checking for water leaks, click here.

Also make sure you check out your tires, they are a very important component to your trailer, and many times we don’t look at them until it is too late…

 Cleaning

Go over every inch of the trailer to make sure it is sparkly clean, taking time to clean off all those things you forget to clean during regular cleaning during the season.  Click here to see a video about cleaning your fantastic fan, and here is a video about how to thoroughly clean your A/C unit.

 

Now your trailer is sparkling clean and ready to use.  Remember, the work you put into your camper today, can save you a LOT of time and money tomorrow.