Tires are crucial! Make sure to learn more about your tires, especially what’s covered in the “Critical Maintenance”!
Tires are so important they deserve their own section. The number one concern for coach owners is tire safety, and rightfully so. You’ve got upwards of 26,000 pounds traveling down the road with your family and loved ones. Depending on your living style and risk tolerance, many times people are not in a seat belt. The following are things to know about tire safety, albeit not a comprehensive list:
General wear: The tires on your coach are large, heavy duty tires. They are especially made for the weight and use of your coach. There are a few things that cause tires to wear: miles, UV, heat, and turning.
Miles: Just driving down the road wears your tires down. Many coach owners usually need to replace their tires before they’re “worn out”. In a car, we often don’t replace tires until we can see the wear pattern, or until they’re bald. On a coach, however, tires need to be replaced when worn or after 5 years (many manufacturers suggest this timeframe). But miles are good! Tires have chemicals in them that are meant to release and work themselves to the surface through usage. You will replace tires more from neglect than you will from usage.
UV: One of the most harmful things for your tires is the UV rays. As they sit outside, they absorb UV and will begin to crack and fade. This is why when your coach is in storage or stopped for a long period of time, you should put your tire covers on. Many coach owners learn that they need to replace their tires long before they’re “worn out” because of the harmful effects of the environment and UV.
Master Tip: Must buy tire covers!
Heat: Your tires are meant to function when hot. Excessive heat, however, can cause premature failure of the tire. Excessive heat can happen from high usage, hot days, or under-inflating. Many tire pressure monitoring systems monitor the heat as well as the pressure of the tire.
Turning: Turning the front wheels of the coach when not moving will often leave quite a bit of rubber on the ground! You’ll see this in the black marks left behind. It is best to turn the wheel when the coach is moving, even if only a little. Turning the wheel when fully stopped puts added pressure on the steering system and the tires.
Overloading: It’s easy to overload a tire without overloading the coach. Each tire and each axle has a maximum load rating. You must be careful not to exceed this value once you have the coach fully loaded.
Weight balance: Many times people will overload their coach without knowing it. It is easy for one side or one quarter of the coach to significantly outweigh the other. Often, the washer/dryer, fridge, and seating are all on one side of the coach. With chairs, fishing gear, clothing, food, people, water, and everything else you need, it’s easy to be out of balance! It is a best practice to go to a truck stop and weight your coach before a big road trip to determine your load balance, which will in turn determine the air pressure of your tires
Underinflated: One of the main reasons for premature tire failure is underinflated tires. Tires flex when in travel, and this flexing creates heat. If the tires over-flex (from being underinflated), the heat increases and can cause the tire to fail. Most coach tires will be set between 90 psi and 120 psi. Most of us are not used to such high pressures, since our cars and trucks are between 35 psi and maybe 50 psi. Under-inflation will also cause the sides of the tires to wear out prematurely.
Daily maintenance: It is a best practice to check your tire pressure, cold, every day before you drive. Make sure you are inflated to the proper pressure. Visually check your tires at each stop as well.
TPMS: Many coach owners find that the use of a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) aids them in knowing how their tires are doing. This can be a good idea, especially considering that many owners neglect basic tire checking, even as critical as they are.