Read the Writing on the Sidewall
You spent a pretty penny on your RV, so odds are you know that number like the back of your hand. Consider this—there are only four to six tires keeping that monstrous investment from sliding on a curve in rainy weather and ending up stuck on the roadside. So, don’t skimp. Good tires cost money, but great tires cost lots of money.
Press check: Find out when your tires were made.
How do you know when you need new RV tires? No need to spend the money if you don’t really need to, right? Especially if you haven’t been traveling a lot in your RV. The thing is, sometimes a tire can wear out just by sitting in the sun. The first thing you should do is check for stress cracks in the sidewall. If one of your tires has cracks, it’s safe to say your other tires are probably in the same condition.
Manufacturers recommend replacing tires older than seven years, even if you haven’t put many miles on them. If you bought your RV new, you can be fairly sure the tires are new, too. But if you bought it used, then who’s to say how old the tires are? Well, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
There’s a DOT number on every tire that can tell you almost exactly how old the tire is. And by exactly, we mean down to the very week it was pressed. The DOT number is a four-digit number on the sidewall of your tire. It always starts with the letters DOT and ends with a three- or four-digit number. That number is your key. The last two digits are the year your tire was made. The first two digits (or one digit) are the week of that year. So, if the last four digits read 1214, the tire was made in the 12th week of 2014.
Sometimes it’s not age that wears out a tire, but usage. If you travel often with your RV, check the tread wear at least every 90 days. Just use the simple coin test. Grab a quarter or penny and stick it in the grooves of your tires. The coin should stand straight up. If it can’t, the treads are too worn down to continue driving. Also, most tires have wear bars that indicate when the tires need to be replaced.
Get classy about your RV tires.
If you drive a class A, B, or C rig, the tires you need are different than if you tow a travel trailer. For travel trailers, you’ll need special trailer (ST) tires. For class A, B, and C mobile homes, look to buy light truck (LT) tires.
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
LT tires are made for vehicles that weigh significantly more than a small (3/4-ton) pickup truck. As we mentioned, these tires are made for class A, B, and C rigs. Costs can vary per class because of weight differences, and heftier RVs are going to need beefier tires.
Radial or bias tires
Radial tires have steel belts that run at a 90-degree angle. This allows them to get better traction and increased stability. The flexible sidewall enables less rolling resistance, giving these tires extended life and reduced fuel consumption.
Bias tires are less expensive because they have nylon belts that run at a 30- to 45-degree angle. Their sidewalls are stronger, and they can handle more significant weight loads than radial tires, but they don’t last as long.
If you ask us, bias tires should only be used by RV owners with fifth-wheel or travel trailers. Even in that case, they are only for RV owners who take short trips on rough back roads—not long highway hauls.
The average cost of RV tires.
Now that you know more about what makes one tire different than another, let’s review prices for each class (A, B, and C) as well as prices for travel trailer tires.
The average cost for a class A tire is $226.
- Firestone Transforce HT Highway 235/75R15 tire: $125
- Cooper Roadmaster RM253 245/70R19.5 tire: $237
- Goodyear G670 RV ULT LT225/70R19.5 tire: $376
- Michelin XRV 225/70R19.5 tire: $306
- Deestone D902 8.75-16.5 tire: $86
The average cost for a class B tire is $276.
- Goodyear G670 RV MRT 245/75R22.5 tire: $636
- Michelin XPS Rib LT225/75R16 tire: $235
- Power King LT8.75-16.5 Super Highway LT tire: $114
- Hankook AH11 245/70R19.5 tire: $293
- Mastercraft Courser LTR Highway LT225/75R16 tire: $103
The average cost for a class C tire is $110.
- Michelin Energy Saver LTX 265/60R18 tire: $119
- Continental VancoFourSeason 195/70R15C tire: $117
- Power King Towmax STR 35/85R16 tire: $90
- Hankook Dynapro HT RH12 235/85R16 tire: $123
- Goodyear Marathon Radial ST225/75R15 tire: $100
The average cost for a travel trailer tire is $164.
- Goodyear Unisteel G614 RST radial trailer tire: $320
- Maxxis M8008 ST radial trailer tire: $200
- Sailun S637 radial trailer tire: $160
- Carlisle Radial Trail HD radial trailer tire: $75
- Gladiator QR25-TS radial trailer tire: $65
Keep in mind that these costs were found online. The price you pay in a store like Walmart, Discount Tire, or Camping World will probably vary.
Time for a cover-up.
Given that RV tires are built to be much stronger than the tires you put on the family car, they’re going to be a little pricier. If you’re going to spend all that money, you need to take the proper steps to take care of them.
First, keep an eye on the tire pressure. Overinflated tires will wear out sooner. As you travel down the road, heat builds up in your tires and tire pressure increases. Keep a good digital tire gauge in your glove box and check the tires each time you stop for fuel.
Second, get yourself some tire covers. Yes, tire covers. This might sound a little overboard, but covers are an easy way to protect your expensive tires from the heat, cold, and sun. They can be found online for just $20 to $30.
Finally, if you’re not going to use your RV for an extended period (like when you store it for the winter), put your RV up and remove the tires completely. Be sure to store your tires in an indoor environment with no air currents or direct sunlight. The space should also be dry, cool, and clean with no grease, oil, or wetness.
Now that you’re up to speed on what RV tires cost, check out Togo RV’s Tire Buying Guide. It has everything you could possibly want to know about tire safety, wear and tear signs, proper tire pressure, cost, and replacement.