RV tires can be somewhat misleading since they nearly always look good. After all, you typically only put a fews miles on them each year. So, when do RV tires need replaced? Answer: when they are six (6) years old. At that age, all “little-used” tires are losing their resiliency due to non-use. They lose their “flexibility” or ability to bounce. Consider my analogy of a rubber band. If you put a rubber band around something and don’t touch it again for a long time, when you do stretch it, it nearly falls apart and almost always breaks. However, if you use the rubber band regularly, it stays in good shape longer. Rubber items last longer if they are used and not just sitting. Most RVs sit. Therefore, the tires are going bad while the tread is looking great. This creates a situation that is dangerous and your only safeguard is to trust the manufacturer’s date stamped on every tire.
We usually drive about 15,000-16,000 annually in our motorhome because we fulltime and meander all over North America. Our tires do NOT fall under this “6-year rule” because we use them. We drive on them regularly and like using that rubber band, the flex literally increases the life of the tire. Yes, we need to change tires when the tread is nearly gone but we should be able to safely use them past that magic 6-year mark. However, if you DON’T use that RV very much, you will have to get new tires and the old ones will still look great! Just don’t trust in looks alone.
How do you find the age of your tires? It looks like this…
Blame either the tire manufacturer or the government for making this date difficult to read but it works like this. The first two digits are the WEEK the tire was made. The last two digits are the YEAR it was made. Here, you see 3009 and that would translate to the 30th Week (about the end of July) in the year 2009. The last two digits, “09” on the tire corresponds to the year.
If you can’t find the tire code, it may be that the tire was mounted on the rim so that date is on the inside of the mounted tire, facing underneath the vehicle. The code is on EVERY tire.
Finally, when you shop for RV tires, tell your tire dealer that you want fresh tires. I recommend nothing older than three (3) months old. If they can’t get them, try another dealer.