RV weight & tire safety are important components of your personal RV safety plan. Can you answer these questions:
How old are my tires?
How much does my RV weigh when fully loaded?
What are my RV tire pressures and temperatures when I travel down the road?
If you don’t know the answers to the above questions, read on and get some information that could help you avoid an accident or even save your life.
RV Weight & Tire Safety: What You Should Know
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Recreational Vehicles are fun things to travel in. But our enjoyment can be cut short if we don’t follow certain important guidelines when operating our RV’s. Our tires are important elements of our vehicles and should be considered closely. Also, the weight of our vehicle closely coincides with our tires and is an important factor in our travels. Be sure to know these things: How old are my tires? How much does my RV weigh when full? What are my RV tire pressures and temperatures when I travel down the road?
RV Tire Safety
RV tire safety is important for you! When you travel down the road you are usually heavy and oversized…. the RV that is ( I wasn’t talking about you 😊). There is a lot (literally) riding on your tires: your RV, your stuff and most importantly your lives. The most common RV accident is caused by a tire blowout. Many times, this could have been avoided if you had installed a tire pressure monitoring system.
How old are your Tires?
The age of your RV tires plays a role in RV Tire Safety. Many RV tires can age out before they wear out. RV tire manufacturers recommend replacing your tires when they are 5-7 years old (Check your specific tire recommendations) whether or not you still have tread life. You cannot see internal cracks or structural damage from heat and wear. Be safe and follow this important rule.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
There is a science to tire pressure. There is an optimal pressure and temperature while they are cold and parked. There are optimal pressures and temperatures should be while they are going down the road. Keeping these pressures and temperatures at optimal numbers can help you avoid a tire accident i.e. blowout or fire.
Using a tire pressure monitoring system makes it easy on you to see everything at a glance instead of going around the vehicle multiple times to get your tire pressures.
Tire Minder is the tire pressure monitoring we use on our coach. They have a great product and have awesome service. They educate you on their products and offer something that would be right for you – whether you have a motorhome, 5th wheel or travel trailer.
Keep in mind that you not only need sensors for your RV, you need them for your truck that is pulling your 5th wheel or travel trailer and you toad if you are towing a vehicle behind your motorhome. When you are towing anything, both vehicles become one unit of motion.
If you don't want to purchase a tire pressure monitoring system, you can still be safe on the road. Check every tire's pressure with an RV tire pressure gauge before setting off to travel, especially after sitting for an extended period of time. The recommended time is every 30 days but you should check it more if you are traveling more frequently. Use an infrared thermometer to check the tire temperature when you stop at rest stops during a day of traveling. This can alert you to a potential problem it the tire reads too hot.
RV tire safety doesn't have to be difficult if you know what to look for and make the necessary adjustments when needed.
RV Weight Safety
So, you are getting ready to pack your RV. You want to get as much stuff in there as you can, right? The weight of what you are putting in it matters a lot. You should be aware of your vehicles GMVW (Gross Motor Vehicle Weight) before you start adding your personal belongings.
Where is my GMVW Information?
Every RV has a GMVW. That is the weight that it weighs before you, and your things get in it. RV manufacturers design their units to distribute the weight optimally. However, they cannot know how much weight you are going to put in it and where you are going to put it. If options have been added to your unit aftermarket, you will need to add the weight of these upgrades to know the correct weight.
For Travel Trailers & 5th Wheels: the data plate is located on the left side of the tongue or on the outside of the left front of the body (left front quadrant)
For Motorhomes: Motorhome data plates are either located inside the drivers’ door panel, or on the wall in this same area.
Packing Your RV with Weight & Tire Safety in Mind
When you are packing your RV, the inclination is to fill up every cabinet and space to store your stuff. This can lend itself to overloading one or two axels or a tire. That is why weighing your RV is important once you get it loaded. You can have it weighed at a truck scale, but that will only tell you your total vehicle weight. It is important to weigh each tire and axel individually for proper RV weight information.
Knowing the weight of your RV after packing it, doesn’t matter as much if you are just using your RV for road trips and weekend camping because you probably aren’t packing your whole life into it. This plays a more important factor when you are loading it for full-time living.
When you have your RV weighed for full-time living, be sure to have your freshwater tank filled or empty depending on how you like to travel. Water weighs a lot and depending on your RV you may not be able to travel with a full freshwater tank unless you leave some of your personal stuff out. The other tanks should be empty, you don’t usually travel with full black and grey tanks.
Potential Risks of being overweight
Poor handling and drivability
Poor stopping/braking performance (that’s scary)
Premature repairs $$ due to asking the vehicle to carry more than designed for
Too much weight on tires/axels increases the potential for blowouts and accidents
Get Your RV Weighed by the Axle
RSVEF has a weighing program with weighing teams that go to rallies and conventions all over the US. Here is their site with the current schedule
You can also email their weighing teams to see where they are or if they are traveling near you and they will meet you and do a weigh of your RV.
Once you get your rig weighed you will have a nice report to go by when making adjustments to your RV storage and towing situation if needed. If you are anywhere near your max, initiate the rule that if you buy something and bring it into the RV then plan to remove something else so you don't end up overweight at a later point. Any changes you make, such as changing mattresses or furniture could be a great time to plan to have your RV weighed again.
RV Weight & Tire Safety to do's
Don't neglect this important part of RV safety. Make a plan to learn about your RV and it's weight requirements. Have your RV weighed at your earliest convenience. Check your tire dates. Buy a tire pressure monitoring system and use it.
You just might save your life!