Setting off on adventures and enjoying a few trips during the holidays is the holy grail for all motorhomers who love travelling and gorgeous destinations. However, you should always check the state of your tyres if you don't want to end up on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck to arrive. Equipping yourself with suitable tyres in a good condition is the minimum you need to travel with peace of mind. Discover the Tyreleader.ie guide, full of useful tips to help you choose the right tyres for your motorhome and enjoy your investment for a long, long time.
Why not use standard tyres for a motorhome?
A motorhome is heavier than a conventional passenger car. This versatile means of transport is also equipped to work as mobile accommodation (kitchen, bathroom, toilet, etc.). This means it needs wheels that can support a heavy load.
That's why manufacturers have developed tougher, more durable tyres for them. Classed as utility vehicles, motorhomes are fitted by default with tyres that have the C marking. These are tyres approved and recommended for commercial vehicles and vans. However, motorhomes carry much greater loads than most vehicles in this category. Therefore, it makes more sense to opt for a reinforced tyre with the CP marking.
In fact, CP marked motorhome tyres are much more suited to the constraints of this holiday vehicle, which can weigh up to 3.5 tonnes. Not only do they withstand higher pressures (up to 5.5 bars), but they also enable you to go on long journeys in complete peace of mind. So they are an ideal choice.
How to choose your motorhome tyres
Motorhome tyres vary greatly as to size, speed and load indices, brands, etc. You can't just choose a tyre at random. Here are some tips to help you choose the ideal tyre for your motorhome.
Motorhome tyre dimensions
You can use the markings on the sidewall to help you get just the right size of tyres for your vehicle, without being too big or small. These markings appear in the following form: 195/65 R15 91V (this is just an example)
The number 195 represents the width of the tyre in millimetres. The number 65 is the height expressed as a percentage of the width. The letter R means that it is a radial tyre. So check this code to make sure you order tyres with the same dimensions.
Load and speed indices
Not all motorhomes are the same size. While some vehicles can weigh over 3.5 tonnes, others are much lighter. Tyres that cannot support the weight of the vehicle may burst in traffic and put your life in danger. To avoid this, check the load index recommended by the manufacturer when selecting new tyres.
The load index is the weight (in kg) that a tyre can support. You must also comply with the speed index. This constant is the maximum speed at which the tyre can travel under good conditions.
How do you find the values for these two indices? So let's take the above example. The number preceding the letter V (91) indicates the load index. The index 91 means that the wheel cannot support more than 615 kg.
The speed index is represented here by one or more letters (here it is V, which means the tyre speed cannot exceed 240km/h). For more details on these two parameters, see our guide to load and speed indices.
Treat yourself to some snow tyres for the winter
Winter with all its limitations is something you will always have to contend with. If you have to travel using your motorhome during this season, you will need to fit the wheels with snow tyres. This is a specific category of tyre that can be easily recognised by the 3PMSF marking (a snowflake surrounded by three mountain peaks) on the sidewall.
Winter tyres are designed to withstand the harsh conditions of the cold season. They provide increased driving safety and prevent you from going off the road as well as slipping. 3PMSF tyres are not compulsory in France. But they are required by law in some European countries (Germany for example) in the winter season on snow-covered or ice-covered roads.
All-season tyres, a good compromise for the whole year
If you're a bit of a traveller and you drive the whole year round, you'll find that all-season tyres are more practical. They are versatile and adapt optimally to tarmac in summer and tricky terrain. These tyres also withstand the cold well for good performance. However, 4S tyres aren't designed to stand up to the conditions you encounter in extreme winter. In winter, they don’t perform as well as snow tyres and in summer they don't perform as well as standard motorhome tyres. However, if you don’t venture into the mountains or onto very icy trails during the cold season, these tyres are the right compromise.
When should you change your motorhome wheels?
It is difficult to be categorical about the lifespan of motorhome tyres. Several parameters must be considered, including the frequency of use, the roads used, maintenance, etc.
You need to consider:
- The state of the rubber (if it’s dry or completely grey, it is no longer efficient);
- The extent of the tyre wear (you’ve reached the wear indicator);
- The wheel’s date of manufacture (natural wear increases and performance decreases considerably over time), etc.
To find out how to read a tyre’s date of manufacture, you can read our article on tyre DOT numbers.
Also, you are required by law to replace tyres when they reach the wear indicator. If you're unsure, get your vehicle's wheels examined by a professional for guidance.
How do you increase a motorhome's lifespan?
It is estimated that a motorhome is used 17 times on average in a year. Despite this, many motorhome owners tend to neglect vehicle maintenance. However, you need to maintain your motorhome if you want it to last. How can you prevent premature wear of motorhome tyres and extend their life? You must:
- Regularly check the tyre pressure to prevent them from being under-inflated or over-inflated while driving;
- Always check before setting off that the load carried is well distributed across the vehicle...
Here's another trick you can try: swapping the front and rear wheels. Due to the fact they are used for both driving and steering, your motorhome's front wheels generally wear out faster. Swapping them with the back wheels every 10,000 kilometres can really increase their longevity. However, make sure you respect the load indices.