This winter has been a harsh one, there’s no doubting that, and with all sorts of snow, ice and rain taking its toll on our roads, the bad surfaces have, in turn, taken their toll on our motorhome tyres. Your tyres probably have more of an impact on the way your motorhome rides, handles and how long it’s able to last than any other mechanical part; they have exclusive contact with the road and support the entire weight of your motorhome.
Now we’re coming into summer, you need to make sure your tyres are still doing the job they were designed to do and a full maintenance check is well advised. Below is our guide to making your tyres are still doing their bit for your motorhome.
For your motorhome to pass its MOT and for you to be able to buy motorhome insurance or tax, there are some legal limits that you just can’t breach. The law states that your tyre tread needs to hit at least 1.6mm on the central three-quarters of your tyre. Of course, measuring that practically isn’t especially easy, so we suggest you take a point towards the edge of your tyre and look for 2mm of tread. This will ensure that you’re complying with what is legally necessary.
Along with checking the legal status of your tyre, you should have a good look to see if you have suffered any damage while your motorhome has been in storage for the winter. One of the most common signs of damage is UV-cracking where sunlight has worn down the rubber of your tyre. This will show as an often grey-faded area which looks extremely dry and could increase the chance of your tyre blowing out on the road.
The rubber on your motorhome tyres is prone to picking up dirt and grit and it’s quite natural that your tyres will be dirty and show signs of trapped rubble. However, you should also inspect your tyres for foreign objects that you may have picked up over the winter. Small rocks, plastic, glass or even screws and nails are all quite common finds. If you do find something, it’s worth just ensuring it hasn’t punctured your tyre. This can be done by inflating the tyre and checking the loss after, say, a day. It should only be minimal.
Everyone knows that your tyres need to be properly inflated to the recommended limit, but it’s not so well known that even an unused motorhome can leak air during storage periods. If you had your tyres properly inflated when you stored your motorhome, it’s almost certain that they’ve lost a little air by now. Tyre inflation should be done just before travel; it’s the only way to ensure your tyres are in fact at the right level.
Finding a Replacement
If you’ve found that your tyre does in fact need to be replaced, you have several options. The best way by far is to replace all four tyres at once; this will ensure that your grip levels remain consistent and your motorhome handles properly. If this isn’t possible, replacing either the rear tyres or the front tyres together is a better option. Replacing a single tyre isn’t advisable, but it will serve as a temporary replacement.
Don’t Forget the Spare
You shouldn’t forget that your motorhome actually has five tyres, four fitted to the wheels and one spare! You don’t need to worry about keeping the spare too precisely inflated but it does need to get you to the nearest garage where you can pick up a proper replacement. Check your spare hasn’t picked up any damage while in storage and in particular look for areas where the rubber may have worn or been pierced while you were in transit.
Once you’re happy that your tyres have survived the winter storage period, you should be ready to go. These checks should take you about fifteen minutes all-in-all, but don’t be surprised if you need a little longer for a new motorhome. Once you’re used to the appropriate pressures and to inflating your tyres before you set out, it all becomes second nature!