RV Tire Buyer’s Guide

Derrek Sigler
by Derrek Sigler
(Photo by TravellingK)

For many of us, now that spring is starting to show up, it is time to get the RVs out of storage and ready for the camping season. This has been a particularly nasty winter, and that takes a toll on things we often overlook. Your RV’s tires may not be in the best shape, especially if you are thinking it was time to replace them last year. We often think our travel trailer, fifth wheel and other towable RVs will not burn through tires as fast as our vehicles will. This is true for the most part, but they do take a fair amount of wear and tear, especially if they sit out on the ground all winter long. Nothing can ruin a camping trip faster than a flat tire, so if it is time to get new tires just go ahead and do it. Here are some suggestions for new RV tires options to help you along the way.

Carlisle Radial Trail HD Trailer Tire

Chances are really good that the tires that came on your travel trailer when it was rolled off the assembly line were from Carlisle. The company makes more trailer tires than any other company. The Trail HD was designed for even wear and towing heavier loads. Carlisle designed the tread pattern to reduce road noise. These are available from sizes starting out at 175/80/13 up to 235/85/16. This means there is a Carlisle Radial Trail HD tire for just about every kind of trailer out there. It has a low rolling resistance and a high heat resistance, too. This makes it a great all-around RV tire.

Shop for Carlisle Radial Trail HD Tires

Goodyear Endurance Radial Tire

Goodyear is one of the more recognizable RV tire brands thanks in part to the blimp and the wide-spread use of its tires in the automotive and trucking industry. The Endurance trailer tire works well for most travel trailer uses, as it is designed to resist overheating and additional wear from long use and heat damage. The sidewall construction helps deter punctures and damage to that part of the tire, a little added assurance when you’re headed out on a long trip. The construction allows for tire-pressure monitoring systems, if your travel trailer is equipped with one.

Shop for Goodyear Endurance Radial Tires

Trailer King ST Radial Tire

Costing far less than some of the competition, the Trailer King RV tire is a great choice for replacement rubber to go on your travel trailer. These tires have a shoulder that is designed to dissipate heat out to the edge of the tire. Like many of the radial tires in this guide, this tire is steel belted for strength. It also has nylon overlays to give the tire additional strength and load bearing ability without additional excess weight.

Shop for Trailer King ST Radial Tires

Hankook Optimo H724 All-Season Tire

This tire from Hankook is actually a passenger car tire that is also popular as a replacement travel trailer tire. It’s quiet and has low heat built up – all things that make a RV tire. It has long wear, too. What makes it more attractive is the price. It is a long-wearing tire at a price that is really affordable. It has low rolling resistance, too, making it good on fuel economy for your towing rig.

Shop for Hankook Optimo H724 Tires

Free Country Heavy-Duty Trailer Tires

For those who have heavier travel trailers and fifth wheels, it makes sense to replace all four tires at once. These tires are the same diameter as the other options on this list, but these are a heavier duty tire for towing heavy loads. Each tire has a max load rating of 2,910 pounds and they are load range E, 10-ply tires. They’re not light, but for the type of RV they are meant for, the weight is a good thing. They can handle the extreme heavy loads of the bigger RVs. These tires are quiet and dissipate heat, just like you’d expect from a quality RV tire.

Shop for Free Country Heavy-Duty Trailer Tires

When Should I Replace My RV Tires?

Knowing when to replace your RV tires is a little different than knowing when you need to replace your truck tires. Obviously if there is wear and tear on the tires and the wear indicators are showing on the tire, or if you’ve gone past the recommended tread depth, it is time to buy some new ones. Most people don’t put as many miles on the travel trailer as they do the vehicle pulling it, so it can take much longer for the tires to wear out. However, after three years in use, around 33% of a tire’s strength is gone due to many factors. Most trailer tires really don’t last much longer than four or five years before they really need to be replaced for safety.

What Does It Mean When a Tire is Weather Checked?

As an RV tire sits, it is exposed to the elements, but the tire itself settles. This can lead to flat spots that work themselves out as you tow it down the road for the first time in the year, but it also leads to additional tire wear. Weather checking is seen as cracks that form in the rubber compound of the tire and is usually due to UV exposure more so than the elements, although the extreme weather can speed things up tremendously. Inspect your tires often and if you’re keeping you RV in one place for an extended period of time, invest in tire covers.

Shop for Tire Covers

Can Automotive Tires Be Used as Travel Trailer Tires?

Depending on the size of the trailer, automotive tires can be used as trailer tires in some instances. However, you need to be aware of the weight of the trailer and the load range of the tire before making this decision. Keep in mind, however, that most true trailer tires should never be used on a vehicle. There are stresses that a vehicle puts on tires that a trailer tire just cannot handle.

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