Since you’re here, you obviously love your RV. You’ve likely been wondering whether RV tire covers are actually necessary – and that’s a complicated question.
While RV tire covers aren’t necessary, per se, they’re highly encouraged. They keep your expensive tires safe and improve their lifespan.
If I just lost you a bet – I’m sorry. But it really is important to take care of your things, and that includes tires. Especially considering how expensive RV tires can get (sometimes triple what you pay for your car or truck tires… yikes)!
Why Should You Use RV Tire Covers?
Okay – let’s break down how much these covers cost and what they could potentially save you. Because the question isn’t really if they’re necessary, but what they can do for you. While they won’t physically improve the condition of tires or make your RV prettier, they will improve your tires’ lifespan.
The Life Of A Tire
Tires see a lot. In fact, they’re the only part of your vehicle (hopefully) that’s ever touched the ground. That means that they go through a lot of wear and tear, especially if you like to go off the beaten trail. So it’s important to keep them as safe as possible, right?
Some tires can last as long as 10 years, while others have a viable lifespan closer to 5 years. It’s ultimately up to the individual brand – and you should absolutely be checking how long they’re supposed to last when buying. Just because one pair lasted you 8 years doesn’t mean the next pair will.
It’s important to note, however, that these timelines are assuming you’re taking care of your tires. That means keeping them filled with the proper amount of air and, yes, covering them from the elements when not in use. So just as you cover your RV, you should be covering your tires when the vehicle is sitting for extended stays.
Why A Tire Cover?
If you’re staying in an actual garage during the off season, then you’re likely set on that front. But if you’re keeping it outside, your RV likely is begging you to cover its tires. See, all tires come with built-in UV protection. It’s activated by the tire moving and slowly wearing down, so if you’re always on the move they’re likely protected.
However, if you’re sitting in place for an extended stay (like camping), that UV protection is just wearing away. And just like the RV itself, UV rays can cause major damage to your tires. Not only can this be an expensive fix, it’s outright dangerous to drive on damaged tires.
So wrapping up your tires for long stays or storage not only protects them, but actively improves their lifespan! This means that while some people can just go without, it should absolutely be included in the gear you pack.
Are There Downsides?
There are really only two downsides to tire covers, neither of which should be a major factor if you plan for them. First, tire covers cost money (I know, what a surprise)! Second, they take up space – something you’re likely strapped for at all times.
Even designer branded tire covers come in at below $100, with most being less than $30. Compared to the other gadgets you’ve purchased for your baby, that should be a drop in the bucket.
The space concern, on the other hand, really varies depending on the rig you’re using. Tire covers can take up 1-2 square feet when stored in the box, if even that. If you’re using the smallest RV you could get your hands on, that might be a problem. But if you have a 33’ RV, you likely can find the space to spare.
And remember – these things save you money, so make the space.
What To Look For
RV tire covers generally come in a few forms with their own specialties. You can find ones that are packed inside the vehicle when not used, and others that are stored on the exterior. The three major materials used and canvas, vinyl, or aluminum.
Generally the cheapest, canvas covers pretty much just protect from UV. They can be coated in a hydrophobic treatment to help protect against water. But if you’re in a cold climate there’s better options out there.
If you live in a generally temperate and wet climate like the Pacific Northwest, this is likely the best option. Vinyl is waterproof, so you’re covered on the moisture front. Unfortunately, extreme heat and cold can crack vinyl, rendering it useless. So if you’re in an often hot climate, maybe opt for canvas.
Aluminum covers are usually designed to protect a spare tire, but they can also be used as a tire cover. The hard aluminum protects against moisture, while the inside is padded to protect accidental damage. These are best for very cold climates, as the aluminum will get much hotter than other options. These are often also more expensive, as aluminum can get costly.
Shield Vs. Bag Covers
Bag covers go over the entire tire, offering a bit more protection against the elements. These look like, well, a bag. Shield covers, on the other hand, only cover the exterior of your tire. Both allow air flow, with a trade-off on coverage – it’s ultimately up to you to decide on the style.
While tire covers aren’t technically required for RV owners, it’s highly encouraged to invest in them. They protect your tires and increase their lifespan, both saving you money and granting peace of mind on the road. There’s a lot of different options that have their own benefits, so be sure to follow this guide to pick what’s best for you.
Does RV Tire Cover Color Matter?
Beyond aesthetic benefits, the color of your cover has one major thing to note. Darkly colored covers will heat up more in the summer, while light ones won’t get as hot. But this is really a secondary concern to just getting tire covers.
Can I Make My Own Covers?
Yes! They likely won’t look quite as good, but both vinyl and canvas are easily bought in most places. This means that if you’re a crafty individual, you can create custom covers with enough time and energy.
How Else Can I Protect My Tires?
Storing your RV in a carport or covered, the temperate area can lessen your tires’ decay. This obviously isn’t possible for everyone, so there’s another option. You can treat your tires with 303 UV Protectant (which is available in most big box stores) to help with UV resistance. It can go on most surfaces and help increase their lifespan – though this still isn’t a substitution for covers.