Tire Health 101: Do RV Tire Covers Make a Difference?

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If you don’t worry constantly about your RV tires, you probably should. After all, they are the only things standing between you and the open road. A blowout could mean significant property damage or even loss of life. 

Unfortunately, many people have misconceptions about RV tires and think of them more like car tires. The two couldn’t be more different. This misunderstanding can leave you and your family vulnerable to a tire blowout. There are many things you can do to ensure optimal tire health like using a TPMS for an RV, but today I’m going to talk about RV tire covers. 

RV tire covers are such an easy and cheap way to add some protection to your tires. It really makes no sense not to use them. Keep reading to learn why. 

What is the Purpose of RV Tire Covers?

To put it simply, RV tire covers protect your tires and help them last longer. The primary way they do this is by blocking harmful UV radiation from the sun. Over time, if left to beat down on your tires, the sun can damage them and make a blowout more likely. 

To give some perspective, Joel and I just installed a new tire pressure monitoring system. When the tires were exposed to direct sunlight, they were reading a temperature of nearly 100 degrees, even with tire covers on. It is surprising how hot your tires can get just sitting, but the UV damage is even worse. Damage from UV radiation can cause cracks to form in your sidewalls. They may lead to slow leaks or sudden blowouts. 

Tire covers also provide some protection against other elements like dirt, wind, rain, and snow. Taking good care of them can prevent dry rot or sidewall damage. 

Some people are quick to blame any blowout on tires being “China bombs”. Not only is stereotyping an entire country like this ridiculous, but a lot of times, user error is actually to blame. Taking proper care of your tires, including using RV tire covers, is one of the simplest ways to protect yourself. 

Should you Bother Using RV Tire Covers?

RV tire covers are definitely worth the money. Just one RV tire can cost $200-$300 on the low end. Add in extending the life of your tires for 4-6 tires and you can have some serious savings over time. It is still important to replace your tires every 3-5 years at most. RV tire covers provide additional protection, but there are many other factors at play when it comes to the need to replace RV tires. 

Still, if you save yourself a blowout, that’s several hundred bucks just in tire replacement costs. Not to mention the added cost of damage to your rig, which you will almost certainly sustain. If you’re cheap, there are alternative options that still provide excellent protection. You just have to be willing to put in the legwork, but more on that later. 

How to Choose the Right Tire Covers for your RV

Choosing an RV tire cover isn’t as simple as picking the first ones you see. First, you need to ensure you choose the correct size to fit your tires. Another factor to consider is the material. Thick vinyl offers some of the best protection. It is even better if the material is coated to protect against UV rays. You can also get canvas or even aluminum tire covers. Although the latter is best for storage and not while camping. 

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There are tire covers out there made of cheap material. They may look nice, but they don’t actually block out harmful UV rays. They are probably better than nothing for the short term, but wouldn’t be the best choice to leave on your tires all winter when storing your RV. (Yes, your RV tires can get UV damage even during the winter.) 

To shop all tire covers for your RV, click here

If you’re looking for one of the top tire cover brands and are willing to spend some extra money, the snap ring covers are a preferred choice among many RVers. These are best for RVers who are frequently on the move. Since they are easy to put on and take off, you won’t have problems using them on your travels or when your rig is in storage. If you don’t travel as much, you could definitely opt for a lower-cost choice and still get solid protection. They will just be more of a hassle to put on. 

Making Your Own Covers

Joel and I opted for a high-quality but cost-effective solution for our situation. We purchased a recycled vinyl billboard which we used to make skirting for our RV. Since we RV full time; we needed skirting for the winter months and didn’t want to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a skirt.

After making our skirt, we used the extra to make our own tire covers we can use all year round. If you only camp in the summer and don’t need skirting, this option likely won’t save you much money. But if you skirt your rig, you can save a ton by making a skirt yourself. 

Vinyl billboards are UV-protected, durable, and thick. This makes them an excellent choice for RV tire covers. It is also a good way to recycle something that would otherwise end up in a landfill once its advertising days are over. 

To make our own RV tire covers, we cut the vinyl to size and added grommets. We then applied adhesive hooks on the backside of the trim under the RV. You can’t see the hooks when you look at our rig, but they let us put up our tire covers with ease. 

Our homemade recycled billboard tire covers

Protecting Your Tires is Simple and Cost-Effective

All things considered, adding tire covers to your RV is a simple, cost-effective way to protect yourself and your rig. Even if you don’t use them during your weekend stays, you should definitely have them in place when storing your rig. As the summer winds down, now is the time to purchase tire covers before you store your RV all winter.

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Kathryn Mancewicz

Kathryn Mancewicz is an RV expert who has been a full time RVer since 2019. She has bylines for her RV related content on major publications including MSN, MSN Canada, and AOL. She has also been featured on Yahoo and quoted on KOA. Kathryn is also a regular RV content writer for Cheapism.