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How many miles do RV tires last?

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For the average RV owner, mileage is irrelevant. Replace your tires every 3 to 5 years. But for high-milers, the answer isn’t as clear cut. Recommendations seem to rely solely on one’s limited personal experiences. If only we had better data on RV tire lifespans, perhaps we could make better decisions about when to replace them!

Nobody REALLY Knows

Last week we concluded our first year of RV ownership, racking up just under 10,000 miles on the road. That got me thinking. At this rate, how long will the tires on our Airstream last? Swapping out a blown tire while stranded on a narrow shoulder of a busy highway is very near the top of my list of RV related adventures that I’d prefer to skip.

If you google the title of this post or anything roughly similar, you’ll find the same morsel of conventional internet-wisdom repeated over and over again: thou shalt not judge the life of one’s RV’s tires by mileage, but by age alone. In other words, since the average RV spends significantly more time parked than rolling down the highway, the best advice for most RV owners is to consider swapping out tires every 3 to 5 years—regardless of mileage. That’s great for the average RV owner who spends less than 21 nights per year in their camper and who typically only travels 200 miles from home. If this hypothetical Average Joe took 5 trips a year, driving 400 miles round-trip each time, that comes to a mere 2,000 mile per year. At that pace, it makes a lot of sense to prescribe a time-based tire replacement schedule. What about those of us who travel 10,000 miles or more every year? After 3 years, Average Joe will only have put 6,000 miles on his tires while us road warriors will be topping 30,000!

Unfortunately, when it comes to tire lifespans for high-mileage RV travelers, there doesn’t seem to be much of a consensus. I spent a couple of hours searching for this information today and found a huge spectrum of opinions. As of this writing, the top-ranked search result for this question says that RV tires will only last 10,000 to 15,000 miles. But what is the basis for this statement? Who knows! They never say. The very next sentence deflects and says we should seek recommendations from the tire’s manufacturer. Yet Goodyear—the manufacturer of our tires—provides no guidance at all in terms of the number of miles one should expect to get out of set of their RV tires. They only recommend regularly monitoring tires for excessive wear (including tread depth) and replacing them at least every six years. Is there not a strong correlation between miles driven and a tire’s lifespan? Is a tire’s age truly the most important factor, even for RVers who drive in excess of 10,000 miles per year? I have a hard time believing that, so I spent some time combing through forum posts on the subject. I found a number of people who said they replaced their Goodyear Endurance tires after 15,000 to 20,000 miles, but just as many who claimed their tires were still “going strong” or “looked new” after 30,000 to 35,000 miles. So much for finding a meaningful consensus.

The sense I get from my (admittedly minimal) internet research is that when it comes to above-average mileage on trailer tires, everyone out there is just guessing how much is too much. Person A has an unexplained blowout at 11,000 miles and concludes all RV tires must be replaced after no more than 10,000 miles. Person B hasn’t had any problems at all after 35,000 miles and forms the expectation that RV tires should always last at least that many miles. Assessments like this aren’t the best means of gauging risk. But what else do we have to go on?

I wish I could say I came away from this little research expedition with a better sense of when we should plan on replacing our tires. Instead, I still feel like I’m stuck guessing. Nevertheless, here it goes:

  • It does seem that age is the single most important consideration for a tire’s lifespan.
  • It also seems that 30,000 miles is in the upper echelon of practical usage for RV tires.
  • At our current rate of travel, we’ll hit 30,000 miles after about 3 years. At that point, our tires will be about 3.5 years old. (If you don’t already know, here’s how to find your tire’s date of manufacture.)
  • Consistently using our trusty TPMS to ensure proper tire pressure should help maximize the life of our tires.
  • Therefore, if I’m being conservative, I should probably start thinking about replacing our tires after around 25,000 miles and 2.5 years of travel.
  • I’m glad I have at least another year to keep noodling on this decision.

That all said, by god, I wish there was better information out there! Really, there must be a stronger correlation between milage and catastrophic events like tire blowouts, right??

More Better Data!

What if—instead of splattering anecdotal data across forums and Facebook groups—the RV community pooled its collective tire wisdom into a single source that could then be aggregated and analyzed? Wouldn’t it be amazing to have thousands of data points from thousands of fellow RV owners through which we could form better opinions about the tires we use?

Objectively speaking, yes. Yes, it would be.

You’re nodding, so clearly you agree with me. Mazel tov! Let’s start collecting some data.

  • Have you replaced the tires on your RV in the last five years? If so, head over to this survey and tell me about your experiences. It’s completely anonymous and will only take like TWO MINUTES of your time.
  • If you’ve never replaced the tires on your rig before, your day will come. 😆 Bookmark this page for when it arrives.
  • Share this post with your RV friends!
  • If and when I get any substantial amount of data, I’ll share the results publicly. (Emphasis on “if”. lol)

Are you a high-mileage RVer?

If so, I’d love to hear about your tire replacement strategy. How much do you think mileage matters? Do you think a tire’s age is the paramount factor when it comes to its lifespan? Let me know in the comments below!

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