We have a range of old and new motorhomes visit us here each year at Horton Common. As you would imagine after running a popular campsite for quite a few years now our guests have discussed several topics with me. For instance, we had a guest last years who had purchased a used motorhome. They were pretty happy with the deal they had secured and noted even the tyres had lots of tread left on them. The motorhome was over ten years old so I asked how old the tyres were? The guest had a bemused look on their face. They questioned why the age of the tyres was important if there was sufficient tread depth remaining. Now, I’m willing to bet most people would actually think the same. Therefore, with this post, I’ll discuss motorhome tyre safety. In other words, how long do motorhome tyres last and when should you change them?
I’ve written quite a few posts around the subject of tow car/leisure vehicle tyres and tyre safety. For instance, I recently wrote about the best tow car tyres currently available which I think are Michelin CrossClimates. However, I’ve also written several posts around caravan tyres such as how long caravan tyres last and caravan tyre pressures. Its also why I’m writing this post on motorhome tyre safety. Tyres may not be the most interesting topic to write about for most people. However, I believe tyre safety for tow cars, caravans and motorhomes isn’t discussed enough. The condition, age and pressure within your tyres is really something you should be checking regularly.
Introduction to Motorhome Tyre Safety and Replacements
So to get straight to it, for motorhomes its recommended to change your tyres every 6 years. This is presuming of course that the tyres are not damaged before this point and require early replacement. Its actually similar to the recommended rule for caravans, but for caravan tyres its actually recommended to change them every 5 years. Please note, the 6 year replacement period for motorhome tyres is not dependant on remaining tread depth. When it comes to true tyre safety, tread depth is only one consideration of when a motorhome tyre needs replacing.
Motorhome Tyre Pressures and Inspections
With this post, I’m going to discuss a couple of different aspects of motorhome tyre safety. The first topic to discuss is correct motorhome tyre pressures. Now, your motorhome manufacturer within the manual for the vehicle will probably have stated a recommended inflation pressure. You may even find the recommended tyre pressures close to the weight plate. However, that will typically be based on the motorhome at a specific weight, either fully laden or unladen. The best means to find out the correct pressure for your motorhome tyres is to weigh the motorhome to find out the weight on each axle. Then contact your tyre manufacturer and provide them with that weight and they will state the correct inflation pressure. Obviously its also worth checking their website. Alternatively, you could visit the Tyre Safe website:
I personally would advise getting in contact with the tyre manufacturer if you can to double-check the figure presented to you by the Tyre Safe calculator. As motorhome tyres are inflated to a much higher pressure than standard car tyres you will need a tyre pressure gauge which can read up to 100 PSI.
You can now get 12V present digital tyre inflators which are suitable up to 100 PSI: Image – Amazon
When it comes to inspecting the condition of you motorhome tyres you want to give the sidewall of each tyre a thorough inspection. If you can see deep cracks, bulges or chunks of rubber missing you need to get the tyre changed. Tyre sidewall damage is a vulnerability which could potentially lead to a blowout. With regards to tread depth, the current legal minimum is 1.6mm. However, once the tyres go below 3mm the performance of the tyre (handling and braking) is effected. With only minimal tread remaining the tyre cannot evacuate water effectively. In some cases, this can lead to aquaplaning in very wet conditions. All of these factors are discussed in the video below from Practical Motorhome and Diamond Dave.
How to Check the Age of Motorhome Tyres
As discussed above, industry advice is to change motorhome tyres every 6 years. After this age, the rubber is less malleable, with a higher risk of tyre sidewall/cracking and blowouts. But how do you know how old your motorhome tyres actually are? Well if you have watched the video above you will know the answer. Every tyre has embossed on them a 4 digit number close to the wheel rim. In the video above the tyre states 1714, which means it was made in the 17th week of the year 2014. Therefore, you base the 6-year replacement date on this 4 digit number.
Motorhome Tyre Tread Inspections
As stated above, tread depth is one indicator of when a motorhome tyre should be replaced. However, as discussed the condition of the tyre and its age are equally important. Its very difficult to properly inspect a tyre completely when its fitted to the motorhome. For instance, while you can easily inspect the exterior tyre wall condition its not so easy to insect the interior sidewall. Furthermore, if you only inspect the tread depth and condition of the tyre when the wheel is fitted to the motorhome you may miss some serious damage to the tyre. The second video below from Practical Motorhome provides an example of such a scenario. A motorhome tyre which on first impressions while fitted to the vehicle may seem fine hides some serious damage.
As Dave states in the video above, the owner of that particular motorhome is extremely lucky that tyre damage did not result in a serious accident. With extensive tread damage such as this, you would normally feel steering wobble. Driving over something sharp would typically be responsible for such damage to the tyre tread. What this example illustrates though is from time to time its a good idea to remove each wheel on a motorhome to properly inspect the tyres over the whole surface.
How to Remove a Motorhome Tyre and Dealing With Punctures
Removing a wheel from a motorhome is obviously very similar to that of a car. Therefore, if you are familiar with the procedure no need to watch the video below. However, if you have never changed a wheel before the video below should be of some use. Something I will note however which is not referenced in the video below is wheel locking nuts. If you have alloy wheels on your motorhome, to deter theft they may be fitted with locking nuts. Now, somewhere in the motorhome either in the glove box or with the jack should be the wheel lock key. If you have never looked for that locking nut key I would encourage you to do it now. Otherwise, when the times comes when you or the breakdown service needs to remove a wheel you will be stuck.
Conclusions on Motorhome Tyre Life/Age and When To Replace Them
Hopefully from the above information, its clear you can not judge when a motorhome tyre is safe purely by measuring the tread depth. Other factors such as tyre sidewall cracking and tyre tread damage are equally important. Therefore, the recommended age to change motorhome tyres is every 6 years. As motorhomes are commonly and infrequently used as leisure vehicles its more likely you will need to change your motorhome tyres due to their age than a low tread depth. I would also encourage you to read my post on the best tyre pressure monitors.
Below I’ve placed a banner for ASDA tyres who I’m an affiliate for. However, shop around and compare prices. If you are only to put one set of tyres on your motorhome I would encourage you to consider a good set of all-season tyres. I personally rate the Michelin CrossClimate, however they may not be available for your motorhome if its particularly heavy. The tyre calculator on the ASDA tyres website will show if they are available for your motorhome.
I also hope at some point in the near future you consider coming to visit us here at Horton Common to experience our fully serviced pitches and amazing views. 🙂