Tire Inflation – Myths and Facts!

PROPER TIRE INFLATION

Myth

You fill your tire pressure to the Max PSI printed on the sidewall of your tire.

Facts

Correct tire inflation is a key component in tire care. The recommended maximum inflation pressures for your tires are indicated on the certification label or in your owner’s manual or B-Pillar, just behind the driver’s seat. Since RVs can be loaded with many different configurations, the load on each tire will vary. For this reason, actual air pressure required should be determined based on the load on each individual tire. Inflation pressure should be adjusted to handle the tire carrying the heaviest load, and all tires on the axle should be adjusted to this standard.

Each manufacturer provides load and inflation tables specific to their products to help you determine the correct tire inflation pressure for your vehicle’s loading. It is important that you DO NOT listen to all the opinions you’ll find online and refer ONLY to the manufacturer’s recommended inflation based on load!

Myth

If I lower my pressure I will get a better ride.

Facts

Underinflation brings a higher risk of susceptibility to damage due to road hazards, reduces casing durability, and causes a loss in fuel economy, plus uneven or irregular tire wear. Severe or prolonged underinflation brings about an increased risk of tread separation.

IMPORTANT: It’s a common practice for RV owners to lower tire pressure in their search for a smoother ride. This is not only dangerous, it’s ineffective, as the difference in ride quality is not significant. When minimum inflation pressure requirements are not met, tire durability and optimum operating conditions are compromised. Tire inflation pressure should always meet at least the minimum guidelines for vehicle weight.

Guidelines

Myth

I only have to check my tire pressure before trips when the temperature changes dramatically.

Facts

Check your tire’s air pressures at least once a month, before each trip and each morning you drive during a trip. Tire pressure should be checked cold, or before you have driven that day, as tire pressure ratings have been designed with typical running heat and pressure buildup in mind. Remember to check the air pressures of the inside tires in dual fitments and make sure the valves and caps are free of dirt and moisture.

  • It may be necessary to inflate your tires at a truck stop in order to achieve adequate pressure for your coach’s needs. Most portable compressors will not be able to reach pressures of 100-105 psi like on some of the larger coach tires.
  • Only permanent air seal metal valve caps should be used, if you have plastic ones, change them.
  • Be safe – if a tire has been run 20% underinflated, it must be dismounted and inspected by a trained professional. It should not be aired up without a full inspection or without using a safety cage. Use a calibrated gauge.
  • Maintain mated duals at equal inflation pressures.
  • Don’t bleed air from warm tires to reduce pressure buildup! When the tire cools, it will be underinflated.
  • Use a calibrated air pressure gauge! Some larger tires and duals will require a double sided truck gauge.
  • Don’t inflate tires to cold PSI rating beyond your rim specifications! Check your inner rim for the rating. This is especially a problem for TTs and 5ers! Many users upgrade their tires beyond the recommended psi allowance for the rims and regret it!
  • Don’t run one dual at low inflation pressure or flat! This can cause rubbing and start a fire!
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Loading

Tire pressure is what enables your RV tire to support loads. Overloading your tires can have serious consequences for passengers and your RV. Too much weight can cause stress on your RV’s suspension system, brake failure, shock absorber damage, handling and steering problems, irregular tire wear and possible tire failure. Excessive loads or underinflation can lead to an excessive amount of heat and tire failure. If you discover that your tires cannot handle the load, lighten the weight of the load or install tires with a higher carrying capacity. Remember to consult your owner’s manual, a tire retailer, or the RV manufacturer for information concerning selection and installation of new tires.

INSPECTING THE CONDITION OF YOUR TIRES

It’s important to check every tire on your RV on a regular basis. Rotate the tires completely and make sure there are no nails or other objects penetrating any of the tires. If you find something, do not drive the RV until you have your tires inspected by an authorized Commercial Tire Dealer. Immediately replace any tires if necessary.

Tire Inspection Tips:
• Check every tire for signs of sidewall cracking
• Avoid using sidewall treatments or dressings, which can actually accelerate cracking
• Look for worn tires that can decrease traction, reduce handling and are more susceptible to punctures
• Replace tires before they reach the tread depth indicator
• You can find tread depth indicators between the tread grooves at locations marked on the sidewall with little triangles

You should run a gloved hand over the entire tire surface, inside and out to feel for defects.

MONITORING TIRES WITH TPMS

Myth

If I have a tire pressure monitoring system I don’t have to physically check my tires.

Facts

You can install a TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) in your RV to electronically monitor the air pressure inside the tires. A TPMS can help you identify a possible slow leak and allow you to take the necessary precautions to repair it before the tire loses more pressure. There are many different brands of TPMS available at different price points. However, you still need to check your tire’s inflation pressure as specified in this guide, regardless of whether or not you have a TPMS installed. Talk to your Commercial Tire Dealer or other qualified RV service center to determine which option is the best fit for your RV.

RV TIRE INFLATION QUICK TIPS

Always check your tire’s inflation pressure before and after trips, and at least once a month while storing your RV.
• Remember to let your RV tires cool before taking a tire pressure reading
• Have all luggage, equipment, fluids (fuel, water, gas, etc.) in your RV before weighing to determine the total gross vehicle weight
• Never exceed the vehicle load capacity found in the RV owner’s manual or the maximum load molded on the tire sidewall
• Make sure to check the inflation pressure of outer and inner tires to ensure even load distribution
• Adjust the inflation pressure on all tires to match the tire that is carrying the heaviest load
• All tires on the same axle should have the same inflation pressure to support the heaviest load

You might want to continue reading on how to do a proper pre trip inspection by following this link!


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