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How Often Should You Change Your RV Tires?

When to replace your RV tires

Your tires are one of the most important parts of your RV. Without them, you’re not going anywhere. And if you don’t replace them when they wear out, you put yourself at risk for an accident.

But when exactly should you replace your tires? Let’s take a look at how long RV tires last and the factors that affect when to replace them.

As a general rule of thumb, RV tires should be replaced about every five to six years. This is the point where most tires stop functioning optimally. Of course, not all tires are created equal, nor are all RVs. 

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The classic penny test helps you check when your tire tread has worn down too far. Simply slot the side of a penny into your tire tread; if the tread doesn’t cover the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for a replacement. 

While every five to six years is a good rule of thumb, you need to pay attention to your tires to really know when to replace them. Worn-down tread, cracks, and deformities are all signs that your camper’s tires need to be replaced.

How frequently you should replace your tires depends on a lot of factors. You might need tire changes more or less frequently than this.

RV on the road
How often you drive, where you drive, and many other factors affect how often to replace your tires.

What factors affect how often you should replace your tires?

There are a lot of factors that affect how often you need to replace your RV’s tires.

How often you drive your RV

Simply put, the more miles you drive, the faster your RV tires will wear down. If you use your RV as a daily driver or otherwise drive it frequently, you’ll need to replace the tires sooner.

Conversely, if you only take your RV out on weekends, your tires will last longer. 

The terrain you drive on

Where you drive your RV also affects the tires. For example, off-road conditions put more strain on your tires than on a highway. If you use special off-road tires, these tend to wear out faster than standard tires as well. 

Poor road conditions can also wear down your tires. Potholes and other damage to the road put stress on the tire, and can even cause a flat or blowout. 

How old your tires are

Even if you don’t drive your RV much, time will take its toll on your tires. Temperature fluctuations, UV rays from the sun, and inclement weather all damage your RV tires over time. Even if you keep your RV out of the elements, the rubber in them will naturally degrade over time. 

If you’re unsure how old your tires are, you can find the manufacture date on the tire itself. The date is included in the “DOT number.” 

A tire’s DOT number
The four numbers circled on the right tell you the week and year the tire was made.

The DOT number code starts with DOT (for Department of Transportation), followed by a series of numbers and letters. At the end are four digits that indicate the week and year the tire was made. For example, “0322” would mean the third week of 2022, “5020” would mean the 50th week of 2020, and so on. 

What does the manufacturer recommend?

Your tire manufacturer will have their own recommendations for how often to replace your tires. For example, Michelin recommends replacing tires after a maximum of 10 years, plus regular tire inspection after five years. They’re the experts, so it’s smart to follow this recommendation. 

If the tires haven’t been replaced 10 years after their date of manufacture, as a precaution, Michelin recommends replacing them with new tires.

Michelin

The best place to find manufacturer recommendation information is on the manufacturer’s website. 

Change your tires regularly for optimal performance

Keeping your tires in good shape and replacing them regularly ensures your RV gives you peak performance. How often to replace them depends on a number of factors, but generally speaking, you should replace RV tires every six years. Don’t get caught on the road with old tires!

Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.

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