The Ultimate RV Tire Buying Guide

Apr 2, 2021 | Maintenance & Mods

The Ultimate RV Tire Buying Guide

Buying RV tires is not as easy as buying car tires. Here’s how to know when to replace your RV tires, how to purchase them, and what costs to expect.

By Rob Cochran

Buying tires for your RV is a little more complicated than buying tires for a family car. From knowing if you need LT or ST tires to understanding the weight rating and making sure you’re getting the right price, it can be confusing. The type of tire you need will depend on what kind of RVing you do, how much cargo you bring, where you travel, and how often.

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How Do You Know When You Need New RV Tires? 

A good place to start is knowing when you need to buy new tires for your rig. An obvious way is to find out that one of your tires has gone flat while in storage and you can’t seem to get it pumped up again. A slightly less obvious sign that your tire or tires should be replaced is cracking in the sidewall. Any time you see cracks in your sidewall, the tire needs to be replaced—and keep in mind that if one tire has cracks, the others most likely do as well. 

Your tire’s age will also indicate if it needs to be replaced. If you bought your RV new, don’t assume the tires are new too. If you bought it used, you might not know the age of the tires. You can verify by the four-digit DOT number located on your tires’ sidewalls can tell you almost exactly how old they are.

DOT number on the side of an RV tire

The DOT number always starts with the letters DOT and then ends with either a three- or four-digit number. The last two digits will be the year your tires were made and the first one or two will tell you the week of that year. So, if the last four digits read “1815,” that means the tire was made in the 18th week of 2015. If your tires are older than five years, it’s time to replace them.

Usage also plays a role in when to replace your RV tires. If you travel often with your RV, you should check the tread wear at least every 90 days with a simple coin test. Using a quarter or penny, fit it into the grooves of your tires. The coin should stand straight up. If it doesn’t, the treads are too worn down to be safe on the road.

Factors to Consider When Buying New Tires

Tires for an RV can be expensive. They need to support a lot more weight than a car, so they’re built to be extra strong. And because of that weight, they tend to heat up more than car tires when traveling down the road. As with many purchases related to your RV, you get what you pay for. Two important factors to consider when you’re buying new RV tires are tire type and tire weight rating.

Measuring tread on an RV tire

Tire Type

Special Trailer (ST) Tires

ST tires are specially built to handle the extra weight of a travel trailer. These tires have a stronger sidewall than other car or truck tires.

Light Truck (LT) Tires

These tires are made for class A, B, and C rigs. Costs can vary per class because of weight differences, and larger RVs are going to need beefier tires.

Radial Tires

A radial (or radial-ply) tire has steel belts (cord plies) that run at a 90-degree angle to the direction your vehicle is traveling. The radial-ply belt construction is what gives your radial sidewalls that slightly bulging look. It also makes your tire more durable, extends its life, and gives you better fuel economy.

A radial tire’s ability to provide a softer ride makes it the best option for RV drivers who want to take longer trips or plan to use their RVs more often. However, they’re often more expensive.

Bias Tires

Bias (or bias-ply) tires are less expensive, though that does come with a cost. Their belt construction consists of nylon belts that run at a 30- to 45-degree angle. This makes their sidewalls stronger and capable of handling more significant weight loads than radial tires. However, this greater strength reduces the flexing ability of the tire. That means it has a shorter lifespan than a radial tire.

A bias tire’s average lifespan is around 12,000 miles, where you can expect a radial tire to last upwards of 40,000 miles. In other words, a bias tire is better at handling the pressure of heavier loads, but you’ll need to replace it more often than a radial.

Many RV owners who tow large fifth wheels or trailers have bias tires, especially those who take shorter trips or adventure on rough back roads.

Tire Weight Rating

It’s important that the tires you buy can handle the weight you’re going to carry. If you buy a tire that isn’t rated for the weight you’re going to be putting on it, it’s not only going to wear out faster, it also has a greater chance of blowing out.

Take into consideration how much your RV weighs as well as your cargo weight. The tires need to support this combined overall weight. 

Tire Traction

Now think about how much traction you’re going to need. Where are you headed on your travels? Do you do mostly highway driving? Are you a boondocker? Are you headed up into the mountains, where the roads tend to be curvier? Are you going to be using your RV all year long? If so, you will probably encounter inclement weather, possibly even snow and ice, and that means you’re going to need an all-season tire. 

Tread pattern can help with traction, but so can the compound the tire is made from. Carbon black and silica fillers help with improved wear performance and traction while silica fillers improve rolling resistance.

RV tire in the snow

Where to Buy RV Tires

There are plenty of places you can look to buy RV tires, which is why the Togo RV Tire Discount Program helps streamline the shopping process and let you compare prices.  

RV Rallies: Tire vendors often attend RV rallies since RV tires tend to get worn more quickly than other tires. Here, you can easily go from one to the next to compare prices.

Truck Tire Dealers: Generally, truck tire shops have the widest selection of tires that will work with RVs, since trucks and RVs tend to use the same kinds of tires. This is especially true for light truck (LT) tires.

Large Retailers: Shops like Walmart, Sears, Discount Tire, and others may be worth checking out as well. Members-only stores like Costco or Sam’s Club also sell RV tires. Camping World sells RV tires, but not at all locations.

RV tires with close-up on tread

Popular RV Tire Brands

When it comes to brands that sell RV tires, you’ll hear some pretty familiar names, including Bridgestone, Dunlop, Goodyear, and Michelin. There are also tire companies that specialize in RV tires, including Carlisle, Continental, Cooper Roadmaster, Deestone, Gladiator, Hankook, Hartland, Maxxis, Taskmaster, Trailer King, Toyo, Sailun, Samson, and Yokohama. While these companies specialize in RV tires, that doesn’t necessarily mean their tires are superior to tires from the other companies listed. It just means it’s a category these companies like to serve more than the others.

Here are some popular RV tires to buy for your motor coach (Class A, B, or C) as well as recommendations for travel trailers.

Top Light Truck (LT) Tires

Boto Tyres BT926 Radial Tire

This tire provides a noise-free environment along with complete control and stability. Its tread pattern makes sure the tire’s performance doesn’t suffer in a rainstorm, and it offers reliable mileage for both short- and long-haul applications. 

Goodyear Wrangler Fortitude HT All-Season Radial Tire

This tire’s tread keeps noise down, offers lower rolling resistance to enhance fuel-efficiency, and provides a high degree of comfort. It also offers excellent traction at an affordable price. Its downsides are that it comes in a limited range of sizes and it’s not great on snow and ice. 

Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armor Pro Radial Tire

At an affordable price, this tire is excellent on snowy, wet roads. Its thick treads and sidewalls add toughness and reduce road noise, while the rim protector helps reduce accidental curb damage. The Durawall technology on its sidewall helps reduce tears and punctures. Depending on the type of your RV, it can be a bumpy ride. 

Goodyear G614 Unisteel RST Radial Tire

If you’re looking to invest in an outstanding RV tire, consider this Goodyear option. Made with heavy-duty materials, it incorporates innovative features designed to improve performance and prolong its life. With reinforced rubber compounds, lateral grooves, and rib edge sipes, it provides excellent traction in both dry and wet conditions. 

Michelin XPS RIB Truck Radial Tire

The strong, durable steel casing on this tire helps provide a longer wear life, and its steel-reinforced construction makes it durable and sturdy. The low rolling resistance helps with fuel economy, and the tread design provides both stability and traction. However, it doesn’t get very good grades on snow and ice. 

Hankook AH12 Radial Tire

The grooves in this tire’s tread help expel water to enhance the tire’s grip and prevent hydroplaning during rainstorms. The sipes incorporated in the tire help improve all-weather traction, and the belt structure reduces heat generation. Additionally, the optimized carcass structure ensures better handling. While this is an outstanding tire, it comes with a higher cost. 

Bridgestone Duravis M700 Radial Tire

This tire has excellent traction on and off road in dry, wet, and wintery conditions, making it ideal for boondockers. Reviews note the beefy structure of the tire, which uses twin steel belts and spirally wound nylon for its reinforcements. These boost the tire’s ability to resist punctures and bruises. 

Person shopping for RV tires with help from salesperson

Top Special Trailer (ST) Tires

Hankook Vantra Trailer TH31 Tire

Ideal for heavy loads and variable road conditions, this tire was designed for maximum stability, durability, and performance. The high stiffness pattern block and decoupling grooves assist in the heavy-duty performance. The TH31 is designed with a zig-zag groove for maximum traction. It’s the first specialty travel trailer tire Hankook has offered.

Sailun S637 Trailer Radial Tire

This tire’s wide tread face offers better stability and handling. It also provides better fuel efficiency due to low rolling resistance. The tire offers excellent traction in wet conditions, and the multi-sipes help keep the tire’s temperature low, which promotes longer life. The sidewall does bulge out in some cases. 

Goodyear Unisteel G614 RST Radial Tire

This tire can withstand the pressure of even the most significant, demanding trailer applications. It comes in a wide variety of sizes, and the shallow tread pattern helps reduce the risk of heat damage. It’s also great in driving conditions such as rain or snow, but does come at a cost. 

Trailer King ST Radial Trailer Tire

The center groove on this tire allows it to track and remain consistently stable. It also provides a smooth ride that can handle just about any weather condition. Its strength and durability ensure that it can withstand adverse driving conditions, and the shoulder design helps dissipate heat exceptionally well. However, with heavier loads, it can wear out faster.

Carlisle Radial Trail HD Trailer Tire

This tire works with a wide range of applications, and its distinctive tread pattern encourages even wear and tear. It offers a long tire life, reliable performance, and limited road noise. It also provides added defense against heat with built-in weathering and ozone protection. On certain RVs, it can be difficult to install. 

Freestar M-108 Radial Trailer Tire

For an affordable price, this tire offers a complex rubber compound, making it stronger and more durable than most. It has a refined tread and cooling layout with deep grooves to help expel water. It also gives outstanding traction and grip. The downside is that the tire’s sidewall has been known to bulge. 

Maxxis M8008 Radial Trailer Tire

Reviewers of this RV trailer tire found its overall build most impressive, offering long-hauling capacity. This means you can enjoy long tread life as well as a smooth ride. With its advanced tread compound and belted construction, it’s capable of hauling even the heaviest loads. It’s got a low rolling resistance, which improves its life as well as its fuel efficiency. Note that the wheel is not included with the tire purchase. 

Gladiator 20575R15 ST 205/75R15 REINFORCED Trailer Truck Tire

This 8-ply RV tire from Gladiator is built to be really heavy-duty. The steel-belted design and construction make it appropriate for use in even the most demanding situations.

RV Tire Prices

Generally, prices for a solid RV tire can run from around $100 per tire all the way up to almost $375 per tire for Class A, B, and C motorhomes, with Class C’s average cost being less. If you have a really big rig or are pulling a lot of weight, expect to pay upwards of $600 each for large RV tires. Prices are lower for trailer tires, which can run from around $60 per tire to $200 or more per tire. 


When selecting RV tires, remember that you’re making a purchase to protect your rig and ensure the safety of you and others: A blown tire can cause an accident as well as do a lot of damage to your rig’s wheel well. So, spend some time researching your RV tire purchase. You can find an affordable tire and still make an informed and safe decision.

 

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Rob Cochran

Rob Cochran is the Head of RV Service at Togo RV. With over 30 years in the RV service industry, he’s passionate about making life better for RV owners and technicians. He’s an RV Industry Association Master Certified RV Technician and the Education Chairman for the Florida RV Trade Association. In addition to working in the industry, Rob has been RVing since 1993, which is when he purchased his first camper.

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