An RV is a heavy vehicle that often stands motionless for long periods of time while being exposed to the elements. As one can imagine, the vehicle’s weight constantly on one location of the tires, and that exposure to the elements is not great for the tires. Here are 8 steps to take to help you extend your RV tires’ life and prevent them from dry rotting.
The natural elements can take their toll on many components of your RV. The RV parts where you will notice this damage the quickest is on the tires. Dry rot of the tires is not only a problem in that it can cost you money, but it also presents a safety issue for your RV. So let’s see how to identify dry rot and the details on preventing it.
How To Prevent Dry Rot In RV Tires
Dry rot in RV tires can be a nasty complication that can delay your trip in your RV or potentially make the trip a disastrous one. Dry rot is a problem that creeps upon you, and as luck would have it, you generally only notice it when you are busy packing your bags into the vehicle to head out on a trip!
This tire problem can be the bane of RV owner’s lives, but if you include our 8 simple tips into your RV routine, you will help prevent this problem from becoming a costly factor of RV ownership.
1. Don’t Use Tire Shine Products
Avoid using tire shine products on your RV tires. You may be tempted to use these products on your RV tires to keep them looking nice and shiny to impress the neighbors, but you are doing yourself no favors.
These types of products all contain petrochemical ingredients as well as silicone. These chemical ingredients will breakdown and destroy the wax protective coating and antioxidant coating that the manufacturer puts on the tire.
When your tire no longer has this protective coating, it will hasten the onset of dry rot in your RV tires when they are exposed to the elements.
2. Prevent Lengthy Storage Of The RV And Tires
RVs are heavy vehicles that put a lot of pressure on the tires that are in contact with the ground. The constant pressure on the tires on one spot can cause the dry rot to start on that location of the tire because of the constant stress that it is under.
Moving your RV around a little will help move the impression location on the tire surface and prevent one rubber location from constantly bearing the vehicle’s weight. This can be as basic a task as rolling the vehicle slightly forward or slightly backward to change the tire’s section that contacts the ground.
3. Prevent Exposure To UV Radiation
Because RV’s generally don’t move much of the year, other than in the holiday season, they are often exposed to long hours of direct sunlight during the day.
Many RV owners park their RV under a carport that has a roof and one or two sides. This can be adequate protection for the RV, but if you look at an RV park in this kind of structure, you will notice that the tires still get exposed to the sun, even if it is only on one side of the vehicle.
The UV radiation from direct sunlight is a major contributor to the start of dry rot in your RV tires. You can get accessories for your RV, covering the tires to protect them from long-term exposure to sunlight.
You can also use your DIY skills to craft your own wheel covers from canvas or other materials to protect your RV tires from the sun.
4. Proper Tire Inflation
Air can leak out of tires that stand for long periods of time, resulting in the tires bulging under the weight of the RV.
This will cause stresses in the tires’ rubber that will allow the other factors that cause dry rot to act faster on the stressed rubber and hasten the onset of dry rot.
5. Avoid High-Temperature Storage
Sustained high temperatures, especially over the hot summer months, will cause the rubber’s chemical compounds to degrade faster. The higher temperatures will also result in the protective coatings that the manufacturer placed on the tires breaking down and no longer effectively protect the tires.
Tires do best in a cool, dry environment, where they will not be continually exposed to high temperatures. Storing the RV on asphalt is not a good idea for this very reason. The asphalt heats up in the sun, transfers the heat to the tires, and keeps the tires hot for longer due to the asphalt’s heat retention.
6. Avoid Fluctuations In Temperature
Fluctuations in temperature where the temperatures go from very cold to very warm can be very detrimental to tires and cause them to degrade faster.
For this potential tire rot cause, it is best to park your RV where the daily temperature will not fluctuate widely to cause your tires’ problems and lead to dry rot setting in.
Also, be careful not to park your RV near an ozone source since the ozone breaks down the rubber compounds. Ozone-generating appliances in the home can be sump pumps, welding machines, electric motors, and furnaces, which all generate ozone when they are operating.
7. Prevent overloading
Regular overloading of your RV is not only unsafe for driving, but it places an excessive amount of strain on the rubber of the tires.
The tires will need to flex and stretch and be stressed to their limits to cope with the additional weight. Doing this regularly will wear the tires out faster, especially on the sidewalls, which is the location that normally suffers first when dry rot starts to take hold on the tire.
8. Drive Your Vehicle.
Tires are items that benefit from being used for their intended purpose, and inactivity only hastens their demise! So the solution to this tire dry rot problem is to drive your RV often.
This will evenly distribute the natural oils in the rubber and the wax coating on the tires to protect them from the elements and ozone damage and keep the rubber in the tires supple.
You should at least try to take your RV out for a drive once a month to keep those wheels turning!
How To Identify Dry Rot In RV Tires
Dry rot in tires is sometimes referred to as sidewall cracking, but this can mislead people into thinking that it only occurs on the tire’s sidewall.
Dry rot can also appear on the tire’s tread surface, especially in the valleys in between the raised treads of the tire. However, the sidewall is where you would normally notice the problem first off.
Dry rot makes itself known by the appearance of small cracks on the surface of the rubber. These may start as small cracks, but as the dry rot progresses, the cracks become longer and extend deeper into the RV tire’s rubber.
What Are The Effects Of Dry Rot In Tires?
Dry rot in tires can be a major safety issue, especially in an RV. This is because dry rot weakens the rubber in the tire, and the additional weight of the vehicle makes it more likely that the tire will fail if it has sustained damage from dry rot.
At the very least, dry rot can result in the leaking of air from the tire, which will cause the tire to need constant inflation to maintain the right pressure.
In the worst case, dry rot in your RV tire can result in a blowout of the tire. A blowout is when the tire’s structural integrity is compromised, and it can no longer contain the pressure of the air within the tire. This essentially causes the tire to burst outwards at the weak-point where the tire rot is the worst.
This will cause a sudden and dramatic deflation when the tire fails, and if this happens at speed when you are on the highway, it can result in a deadly accident.
If you notice dry rot starting on your RV tires, the best solution is to replace the tires on your RV before planning your next trip.
Dry rot is a common problem on RV tires because of how the vehicles are stores and the general low usage that these vehicles see throughout the year.
If you follow our simple 8 steps to help prevent the onset of dry rot in your RV tires, your tires will last a lot longer, and you will be safer when you are out on the road enjoying your vacation!
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