Tire Covers - Unnecessary?

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tomnnva

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Just got this new RV and was thinking of buying tire covers, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought this was an unnecessary expense and just more stuff to carry around.  I can't seem to get any consensus from people in my RV park either.  Here's my thinking, the tires will never wear out, but will become unsafe around 7 years and will need to be replaced.  So if I put tire covers on my new tires will I then be able to get another years use out of them?  Or if I do not install them will have to replace the tires in 6 years?  I would say the answer to both questions is no, I will have to replace the tires in 7 years regardless.
 

sheltie

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Well, sorta.  Let me give you an example.  The often written statement that tires must be discarded after seven years is not necessarily true.  Michelin, for example, states that their tires are good for up to 10 years (they will probably last a lot longer but that's all they will stick their neck out for) as long as the owner has the tires inspected by a Michelin rep (tire salesman) at least once a year after the seventh year (I'm paraphrasing).  I can't speak for other brands.

As far as the covers are concerned, I'll give you a personal example.  Other than when I'm actually travelling, if I stay at one place for a week or more, covers go on my wheels.  My tires are now 8 1/2 years old and look essentially new.  Not a crack or wear can be seen after 32,000 miles.  Is this solely because of the covers?  Probably not, but it does cut down on the UV exposure which certainly helps.  It is a very small investment and very little weight to worry about for such a return of peace of mind. 
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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My opinion, tempered by tire manufacturer pronouncements and years of perusing internet RVing sites...

1. If the coach is driven occasionally, a tire cover isn't going to add to its life in any significant way. You will get 7-10 years either way.
2. If the coach sits a lot, especially if the tires are exposed to direct sunlight, a cover may help. Or not.
3. Of all the things you could worry about or spend money on, religiously covering your tires is far, far, down on the list.

I own a set, but I bought them when we spent a summer in a campground that sprinkled the lawns with extremely hard water that made a scaly mess of my wheels and tires. Had nothing to do with ultraviolet protection - just saved on cleaning effort.  My tires seem to last as long as anybody else's, and my coach is parked in sunny Florida 5-6 months a year.

It is my observation that the big tire manufacturers say "yes" to just about everything anybody ever suggested about tire maintenance. They say to cover them, keep weight off them when not in use, scrub them back and front, avoid all chemical treatments/cleaners,  etc.  All without a lick of evidence ever shown or  even much hinted at. Really, they have no motivation to tell you not to do something that might conceivably help in some way, in some circumstances. It's your time and effort they are expending, so why not?
 

Ernie n Tara

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Hi,

I don't believe that tire covers matter one  way or the other, but I'd caution that they should be shields, not bags that fit on the tire. UV protection is a legitamite, if not particularly critical, objective. But, collecting heat or enclosing the tire is not particlarly good for the tire. Heat is the real enemy of tires/elastomers

Modern tires have sufficient UV protection that covering is not usually necessary, as well as anti ozonants. The protection issue probably arises from the early tires that were actually made from rubber (natural as opposed to synthetics). NR is mechanically the best elastomer (re fatigue and elongation) but has very poor resistance to ozone and UV. Thus the cracking we all remember on tires that had set a while.

There are products that improve UV resistance (AgeMaster #1 is the only one I can state positively works). Agemaster will provide a 40% plus improvement in the results of the standard ASTM UV resistance test on neoprene or NR. That said, you're unlikely to actually need it on a modern tire.

Ernie
 

tomnnva

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I had not thought of the bag vs. shield argument, but it makes sense.  I would like to see an independent study, not tire related industry, preformed on 7 year old tires with 30,000 miles to see if they are they REALLY beginning to become dangerous or is all this apocryphal information we rely on just a marketing tool to sell tires.
 

PancakeBill

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I don't use covers, but if I were, I would use the type that attach to the wheel well, and shield from direct sunlight, air can circulate, they will stay at ambient temp.  I had read, on the internet FWIW, that the covers can create a hot spot if touching and that could cause uneven aging, aka weak spot. 

YMMV, YPYMYTYC.  (You Pay Your Money You Take Your Chances....)
 

Molaker

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Just my opinion, but do whatever it takes to keep the wild elephants away.  If you feel better covering them, cover them.  Personally, I prefer to try to wear my tires out.  It's probably better for them than covering.
 

John From Detroit

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As full timers who do membership camping I do not often break out my tire covers, Like the person above who uses them and says his tires look new.. So do mine,

But the coach is driven at least every 2 weeks, at least 50 miles a drive.

This fall/early winter I parked in one spot for like 2 months, driving only once or twice a month.. I did use wheel covers then however there was an 2nd motive.

For Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year I have some projectors made by Mr. Christmas (Halloween too but I did not dig them out that quick) They project several images in a circle, the diamater of which depends on the spacing between projector and screen.

I put one projector on each front wheel, the white covers are the perfect projection screen.
 

Icemaker

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John From Detroit said:
As full timers who do membership camping I do not often break out my tire covers, Like the person above who uses them and says his tires look new.. So do mine,

But the coach is driven at least every 2 weeks, at least 50 miles a drive.

This fall/early winter I parked in one spot for like 2 months, driving only once or twice a month.. I did use wheel covers then however there was an 2nd motive.

For Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year I have some projectors made by Mr. Christmas (Halloween too but I did not dig them out that quick) They project several images in a circle, the diamater of which depends on the spacing between projector and screen.

I put one projector on each front wheel, the white covers are the perfect projection screen.

John, when I started reading this and saw the start of the "projector" thread ... a mental picture started to form in my old head of you projecting pictures of "new" tires on the covers...than my head went overboard and a picture of you in a yoga position chanting  a get well chant directed towards those tires...
Whew was my picture "popped" when I got to the actual "meat" of the posting and realized it was a holiday thingy...
Got to admit it was fun while it lasted...
Shame on me for jumping ahead of a posting...
Seajay would've probably wanted a dime for this story...(kidding Seajay)
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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There is far too much tendency to take the 7 year figure as some sort of gospel truth, where all tires are A-OK  at 6 years +364 days and goners at 7 years + 1 day. Nothing could be further than the truth.  We consider a tire to be a "Senior Tire" at age 7, but that's just an arbitrary dividing line. Not all Seniors are ready to die, and some tires will die before they reach Senior status.  The most we can say is that once a tire reaches its Senior years, the likelihood of a catastrophic failure (blowout) is greater.

Michelin recognizes the same dividing line. Up to 7 years, they are confident their tires are all solid and dependable. After age 7, they advise annual check-ups by qualified experts. And a check-up involves more than looking for deep cracks in the sidewall - they want to dismount the tire and look inside as well.
 

carson

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Gary RV Roamer said:
There is far too much tendency to take the 7 year figure as some sort of gospel truth, where all tires are A-OK  at 6 years +364 days and goners at 7 years + 1 day. Nothing could be further than the truth.  We consider a tire to be a "Senior Tire" at age 7, but that's just an arbitrary dividing line. Not all Seniors are ready to die, and some tires will die before they reach Senior status.  The most we can say is that once a tire reaches its Senior years, the likelihood of a catastrophic failure (blowout) is greater.

Michelin recognizes the same dividing line. Up to 7 years, they are confident their tires are all solid and dependable. After age 7, they advise annual check-ups by qualified experts. And a check-up involves more than looking for deep cracks in the sidewall - they want to dismount the tire and look inside as well.


Gary, perhaps you know.  What would it cost the RV'r to have have the tires checked after 7-years to conform with the Michelin alleged warranty ? Only to risk another few years.

Feels like being between a rock and a hard place.  Your guess, please.

Carson FL.
 

tomnnva

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I bet it would be very hard to find a actual trained and qualified Michelin tire expert without having to drive great distances.
 

sheltie

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Gary's answer was very eloquent and accurate.  To answer others, a trained Michelin rep is considered one who makes his living  selling Michelin tires.  As for how far one would have to travel, in my case it is less than 10 miles.  It could be much further for others.  The cost to me is nothing because the dealer hopes that I'll be buying my tires from him when they need to be replaced (and I will).
 

Icemaker

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Yes as Gary, said it is a general age..mine started blowing at 12 years of age...looked pretty good but looks were deceiving. I have 2 more, newer ones to change out a.d than a comfort cushion for a while. BTW the local tire guy said they were made in '09..he's under trained..was '99..my lesson learned.
 

tallyo

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I have always cover my tires when in storage for the winter here in Florida. If the truth be known my MH only gets sun on one side so I suppose I could stop covering the shady side. I am like most, I am not convinced the 7 year rule is the end of tires. My last MH went 6 years when we traded and the tires visually looked ok. on one tire there were beginning signs of age but If we were to travel this year in it I would have kept the tires on but kept a close eye on them. The dealer when we traded did an inspection but he used it as a reason to offer me less. I suspect buyers today maybe  learning more and when looking at a used RV check tire dates and if 5+ years may ask dealer for new ones or reduce the price accordingly.
 

PancakeBill

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Tallyo, great point.  The dealer looked at your tires to offer you less.  You had 6 year old tires.  One starting to show age.  Now, if you or anyone listening to all this were to be the next guy on the lot looking at your trade, what would we have them do?  Look at the tires for age, and if 6 years old or showing age, offer less or expect new tires. 

6 year old tires on the coach you are driving with the knowledge of the last 6 years driving experience are more comfortable than a coach you are considering buying.  How did the PO care for them, what do I have left in these tires?  Wouldn't I be more comfortable with new tires?

I have done many appraisals in the past, we had a checklist and one of the questions was how old and about how many miles on the tires.  BTW, also battery age.  Some of this is for assessing value and needs for making ready for sale, the rest is for giving information to people looking at the coach to buy. 

Covers never come into the equation. 
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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What would it cost the RV'r to have have the tires checked after 7-years

If they actually dismount the tire to check the inside and then have to re-mount it, it is going to be about the same cost as mounting a new tire. Not only the labor of doing it, but it needs to be re-balanced as well (position on wheel has changed). Just what that is depends on tire size and local pricing, but I would say anywhere from $20 to $50 per tire.

But [IMO] few tire store people are really qualified to make a meaningful judgment, and even fewer would dismount the tire to do so.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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To answer others, a trained Michelin rep is considered one who makes his living  selling Michelin tires.

Is that anybody who works in the tire shop that sells Michelins, or an actual Michelin employee? I have grave misgivings about the knowledge of many tire shop employees. I've met too many that have very little technical knowledge of tires - they mostly learn on the job and from others who had as little training either. Misinformation gets propagated and becomes gospel truth.
 

taoshum

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Taos, NM
tires, tires, tires... such an interesting topic...

I suggest that if you spend a lot of time above about 3000ft elevation and store your MH outside, in the sun, you'd benefit from UV protection... the higher your elevation, the greater the benefit.  Our neighbor has a backhoe with a number of hydraulic hoses... he buys the UV tolerant hoses and they last about 6 years here at 7600 ft.  The cheaper hoses last about 2 years.  At this elevation, tires do seem to deteriorate more quickly with prolonged intense UV exposure.  At sea level, who knows, probably not a factor. 

On a different note, here's a modification to the plan... after the first four years, every two years, replace the steer tires up front, then move the 2 year old front tires to the rear and discard the oldest tires, then repeat every two years.  This way you keep brand new tires on the front and all tires get replaced every 6 years plus the capital outlay is spread out over a longer period.  Just sayin'.

Heard that the Toyo's have a 66 month warranty these days, including surface cracks on the outside.
 

max49

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  If you want to have your tires inspected and especially if they know you are concerned about them enough to pay some one to inspect them, the very best reassurance you might get would be, "well they don't look too bad but of course I can not guarantee your used tires. Since they are ? years old and  you concerned about them and have so much riding on your tires I would suggest getting new tires soon."
  If you're concerned about them, no professional in the tire business wants to feel guilty telling you your 7 yr old tires will be good, and then you have a blow out on the next trip. They don't know when a tire may blow. Even if your brand new Michelin blows, they have a whole book of reasons why it's your fault
 

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