Good tires are a key element of safe RV travel. We just replaced our trailer tires with a new set of Goodyear Endurance ST tires.
Why Buy New Trailer Tires
Our 2019 Grand Design Transcend came with a set of Westlake ST tires. The date stamp indicated that they were manufactured in 2017. While they appeared to be in good condition, it was time to replace them.
While usage is a big factor in how long tires will last, age is another significant factor. They are exposed to UV light and other weather elements. Replacement before five years is often recommended. While you may be lucky and have your tires last a long time, we opted to replace them before having an issue. We have heard stories of tires separating and causing significant damage to the RV as portions of the tire hit it at high speed.
We plan to purchase a tire pressure monitoring system. These use a small monitor that mounts to the valve of each tire. Many tires come with rubber valve stems. Over time, the motion of the tire can cause wear on the valve stem. Adding the pressure monitors can increase the wear leading to leaks or other tire issues. To reduce the potential for issues with the TPMS, we wanted steel valve stems.
How to Read The Codes on Trailer Tires
Every tire is stamped with a DOT code. This provides you with information on where and when the tire was manufactured. Look for the 4 digit numerical code that indicates the age. In our case, it was 4917 which indicates that the tire was made in the 49th week (December) of 2017.
Here is how to read the code. DOT = Department of Transportation. JULT = 2 digit manufacturing plant and 2 digit tire size. 1CT = manufacturer identity code. 4917 = 2 digit week and 2 digit year of tire production.
There are other codes on the tire that describe the type and size of the tire. From our new Goodyear Endurance tire, you can see that it is an ST225/75R15. ST = special trailer tire as opposed to LT light truck or P passenger. 225 is the tire width. R means it is a radial tire. 15 is the size of the tire rim. The tire will also indicate its load range and speed ratings. If you would like more information, check out Reading a Tire Sidewall.
Our Trailer Tire Buying Experience
Most tire dealers seem to be set up for cars not RVs. A car is typically pulled into a bay where the technician can lift the car and replace its tires. The buildings and parking area may seem a bit challenging to navigate with a travel trailer.
If possible, consider visiting the location without your trailer first to see if you will fit. It’s also a good idea to call ahead and ask if they can accommodate you and if they have any special instructions.
We visited a relatively new tire shop. While the parking area wasn’t huge, the setup worked well. We entered the parking lot on one end of the building. We were instructed to pull around to the back of the building and park perpendicular to the building, pulling forward so that we would only block one of the bays.
The crew brought out portable jacks to lift the trailer and then brought the wheels into the shop to replace the tires. In well under an hour, they had all four tires plus the spare replaced.
To exit, we rounded the side of the building, entered the main road, and headed for home. While we were a bit intimidated at first about getting new tires, the process was efficient and stress-free. Two things helped this go well. First, we called the shop to discuss our rig and coordinate the best time for a visit. Second, we drove through the property in advance to ensure we knew the route to drive and what to expect when we arrived.
Next Step for Our Trailer Tires
Now that we have our new trailer tires with the metal valve stems, we’ll begin shopping for a tire pressure monitoring system. If you have a recommendation, we’d love to hear it.
The other maintenance we plan to do this spring is to check the battery. In addition to tires, batteries are one of the components that needs to be checked regularly and replaced when needed.
Thanks for checking out our trailer tire post. We hope it was helpful. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment.
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