How to Choose the Right RV Tires
RV tires may resemble oversized car tires, but there are several differences between them, and you can feel each one when you’re out on the road.
What are RV Tires?
RV tires are more robust than car tires, as RV tires are made to withstand the rigors of the road, haul more weight, minimize road friction, and more.
Most motorhome tires are categorized as light truck (LT) tires or special trailer (ST) tires, and the type you should choose comes down to the kind of RV you plan on hitting the road in.
If you have a motorhome, you’ll want to go with LT RV tires. On the other hand, if you have a fifth-wheel or another type of camper, you plan on hauling behind your truck or SUV, then ST RV trailer tires are the way to go.
You’ll learn more about these two types of RV tires and the differences between them throughout this guide.
What are the Benefits of RV Tires?
There are many benefits of using a good pair of RV tires for your camping adventures, such as:
RV tires are specifically designed to haul heavier loads. If your RV were equipped with car tires, they would likely blow due to the weight of the load being placed on them. They’re simply not equipped to handle the weight of an RV.
Whether you opt for an LT or an ST RV tire, it will say right on it how much of a load it can handle. Some can safely haul up to 10,000 pounds or more!
Just be careful, because Euro-metric and P-metric tires can only safely handle 90 percent of their load rating. So, if your RV weighs nearly the entire load rating, you’ll risk a blowout, which can be catastrophic on the interstate, the side of a mountain, or just about anywhere.
If you put the wrong tires on your RV, they won’t hit the surface of the road properly, and your fuel economy will suffer significantly.
Since fuel economy is a big deal when RVing, don’t just look for the right type of RV tire, look for a tire with high speed and fuel efficiency ratings. The better these ratings, the better your RV’s fuel efficiency will be.
Both LT ad ST tires are designed to haul heavier loads for extended periods. With light truck tires on your motorhome or ST tires on your camper, you’ll not enjoy a safer, more comfortable ride, but you’ll also spend less in the long run due to their increased durability.
Sure, you can put car tires on your RV to limp down the road to the nearest repair shop or, rest stop, or campsite, but you shouldn’t drive on them for long distances. They won’t hold up.
RV Tires – Things to Consider
If you can’t tell, there are quite a few things to consider when choosing the right RV tires for you and your rig. Some of the most important factors include:
As we talked about above, there are two primary types of RV tires – standard RV trailer tires (ST) and light truck tires (LT). You should only put ST tires on a camper or fifth wheel, and conversely, light truck tires should only be used for motorhomes.
Why you might ask? Well, both these types of tires are made to do different things. They each have different levels of road resistance, load capacity, and so on.
If you want to enjoy the safest, comfiest, and most fuel-efficient ride possible, which you should, then you need to pick an RV tire suited to your purpose and type of RV.
You wouldn’t put a BMX tire on a 10-speed. Not only would it not perform nearly as well, but it wouldn’t even fit.
The same is true for RV tires. You need to know what size tire will fit your RV or trailer wheel and pick one that matches the rim size.
As you now know, not all RV tires are the same. Different tires are designed to support different weight ranges, and the more you overload a tire, the higher the odds of it going flat or blowing out.
If you’re unsure of your RV’s load rating, check the manual. If you don’t have a manual, you’ll need to put it on the scales and weigh it.
To determine the minimum load rating you need in an RV tire, simply divide the weight of your RV by the number of tires. Once you know this figure, you can look for tires that meet or exceed it. The load capacity of most RV tires is marked on the sidewall.
It’s best to get a tire with the highest load capacity possible. By doing so, you’ll reduce the risk of a blowout and premature wear. Don’t even consider exceeding the maximum weight rating on a set of tires.
Sidewall strength is an important consideration – A strong sidewall will be able to hold up to wear and allow the tire to last a lot longer. A weak sidewall, on the other hand, will increase wear and the odds of causing a problem out on the road.
A durable sidewall is also crucial for parking. Since RVs can be difficult to park and even the most skilled driver has scuffed a sidewall or two, a heavy-duty tire with a sturdy sidewall will be money well spent.
Generally, the higher a tire’s load capacity, the more robust its construction and sidewall strength. However, this isn’t always the case, so it’s worth checking.
Tire Pressure Rating
The tire pressure rating of an RV tire tells you how much air you should put in it for an ideal ride. If you’re not one to religiously check your tire pressure, you may be better off going with an RV tire capable of running safely at low pressure. This is especially true if you rarely check the pressure of your trailer’s inside tires.
Meanwhile, a higher pressure rating may be ideal if you’re traveling through Arizona, the Outback, or another very hot locale. They’ll be able to avoid over-heating, over-expanding, and an increased risk of failure.
When it comes to traction and stability, it’s all about the tread. Some RV tires have thicker tread than others, giving them greater slip-resistance and the ability to handle and brake better in wet weather.
In addition to improved handling, the tread quality of the tire also affects road noise and the overall comfort of your RVing experience. If you want the best possible driving experience, this last point should be given some serious consideration when RV tire shopping.
Distance and Terrain
If you are doing most of your driving on good roads, then regular rib tires will be just fine. However, if you’re going to drive on rougher surfaces or do a little RV off-roading, you’ll want RV tires with deeper treads.
While straight rib RV tires offer better fuel economy, it won’t matter much if you’re always getting stuck in the mud at every campsite you visit.
You should also look for radial tires too. They create less road friction, have better fuel economy, and tend to last longer, which are three big pluses in our book.
Last but not least, you should also consider the type of weather you’ll primarily be driving in and choosing tires capable of performing well in the conditions.
Just as there are snow and rain tires made for cars, they’re also available for campers and RVs. If you’re going to spend a lot of time in wet and/or snowy conditions, it just makes sense to go with a tire made for these conditions.
The tread depth of a tire will also affect its performance in the rain or snow. So, an RV tire with a deep tread pattern that may not be marketed as a snow or rain tire will also perform better than others in inclement weather.
A tire’s ability to handle wide swings in temperature and air pressure is another critical consideration. If you’re camped out in the desert where the temps can swing by 40 degrees or more in a matter of hours, it’s worth paying more for a good RV tire.
RV Tires – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Often Should You Buy New Tires?
It is recommended that you replace your tires every 6-10 years (you can determine how old are your tires by checking the sidewall). However, this is an estimate and you should constantly be checking your tires for evidence of shallow tread, cuts, bumps or cracks. If you spot anything that’s less than stellar it’s best to invest in some new tires for you and your family’s safety.
How Should You Protect Your New RV Tires?
To make sure your new tires last a long time i.e. towards the upper end of the 6-10 year estimate, do regular checks to make sure that they are holding the correct pressure. Incorrectly pressured tires can lead to shallow tread, affect ride quality (particularly at high speeds) and may lead to blowouts.
Additionally, when not in use, we would highly recommend the use of tire covers to protect the tires from the sun’s UV radiation. While generally not noticeable at a quick glance, direct exposure to sunlight will cause your tires to dry-rot – resulting in microcracks in the rubber, which will affect the sidewall strength.
Should You Replace All Your RVs Tires at Once?
Well. It depends. If all of your tires are approaching the end of their life, but some are in a worse state than others, then yes, we would recommend you switch out the whole lot. If your tires are a couple of years old, and one took a puncture then replacing only the single tire makes sense.
The Best RV Tires – The Results
Goodyear Wrangler Fortitude HT All-Season Radial Tire
Best RV Trailer Tires
At the end of the day, they didn’t disappoint, earning the Goodyear Wrangler Fortitude HT All-Season RV Tires the top spot on this list and in our backcountry hearts.
While there are several aspects of these tires we loved, we were particularly impressed with its lower rolling resistance tread design, making it noticeably more fuel-efficient than many other tires RV tires we’ve driven.
These Goodyear tires also really quiet and ride quite smooth even at high speeds, providing you with a much more relaxed and comfortable on-the-road experience. Plus, they’re all-season. Although we wouldn’t recommend driving with them through a blizzard, they’re well-made and have great traction in a variety of conditions.
Unfortunately, finding the right size for your RV might be a bit of a challenge. While some folks have no problem at all fitting them to their camper or rig, other RV owners may not be so lucky. It all comes down to the size of your wheels, so make sure to check to see if they’re a match.
- Diameter – 32.1″
- Maximum Weight – 2756 lbs
- Maximum Pressure – 51 psi
- Quiet and comfortable ride
- Enhanced fuel efficiency
- Great all-weather traction
- Range of sizes is limited
- Not the best for snow/ice
Bottom-Line: The Goodyear Wrangler Fortitude HT All-Season RV Tire is a great all-around RV tire that checks just about every box, making it a solid choice for any RVer ready to hit the open road.
Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armor Pro Radial Tire
Best RV Tires for Durability
Runner-up to the Goodyear Wrangler Fortitude is Goodyear’s Wrangler Silent Armor Pro Radial Tire, which stands out from the pack in many ways.
One of these ways is its ability to provide great traction and grip on wet roads. Thanks to the tire’s open tread design, you’ll have one less thing to worry about during an already stressful downpour.
Another great thing about these tires is its thick tread and sidewall. Not only does this give the tires an added sense of stability, but these tires also reduces road noise and increases durability as well.
Speaking of durability, another great thing about the Wrangler Silent Armor Pro Radial Tire is its use of Durawall technology, which helps minimize the risk of punctures and tears.
However, with every positive, there is a negative. Well, sort of. With these tires, the only real negative is the ride quality. It can be a bit bumpy and shaky, but heh, that adds to the adventure, right?
- Great on wet and snowy roads
- Durable tread and sidewalls
- Reduced road noise
- Bumpy ride on some roads and RVs
Bottom-Line: If you’re looking for durable, well-made tires and don’t mind sacrificing a little comfort on rough country roads, the Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armor Pro Radial might be just the RV tire for you.
Michelin XPS RIB Truck Radial Tire
Most Versatile RV Tires
The Michelin XPS RIB Truck Radial Tire is one of the most versatile RV tires on the market today. Unlike the Goodyear Wrangler Fortitude, these tires come in a remarkable number of sizes and can fit almost any vehicle. This is a huge plus and definitely makes shopping easier.
These Michelins are also very strong and durable. As radials, they have a reinforced steel casing, which adds stability and helps ensure the tires will resist punctures and wear and tear for a long time.
Like many other RV tires on this list, they also have low rolling resistance for improved fuel economy, and they’re designed to provide a quiet ride too. With solid tread design as well, Michelin’s XPS RIB Truck Radials shouldn’t have a problem keeping up with the most ambitious of RVing schedules.
That said, like many RV tires, you’d be wise not to test them in the snow or ice. They’re not exactly made for wintertime travel up north.
- Available in several different sizes
- Sturdy steel radial construction
- Good stability and fuel economy
- Low rolling resistance
- Not great in the snow and ice
Bottom-Line: Whether you need tires for your trailer or motorhome, chances are you’ll find these Michelins in the size you need and enjoy years of stable, reliable performance.
Hankook AH12 Radial Tire
Best RV Tires for Wet Weather
From the beaches of Florida to the hills of New England and the Cascades of the Northwest, you’re going to run into wet weather anywhere you travel. If you want the best traction and performance in wet weather, the Hancook AH12 Radial Tire deserves a long, hard look.
Specially designed for rainy conditions, this impressive RV tire has several grooves and snipes that expel water and allow it to maintain as much grip as possible. That’s right; with these RV tires, hydroplaning is really a non-issue.
The Hankook’s belt structure is also solid and helps reduce heat generation, which is one of the leading causes of tire failure. On the downside, it’s not the best tire for off-roading. However, few RV tires are.
- Great wet-weather performance
- Very well-made
- Excellent traction and stability
- Performs best on the beaten path
Bottom-Line: The Hankook AH12 Radial Tire is a well-made tire with deep grooves and snipes that allow it to grip the road in any weather, making it an excellent option for almost any RVer.
Sailun S637 Trailer Radial Tire
Best Handling RV Tires
Explicitly designed for trailers, the Sailun S637 Trailer Radial Tire is a great option for travel trailer and fifth wheel RV owners. One of the reasons we like this Sailun tire is its broad tread face, which improves stability and handling. This is important when hauling an 8,000-pound, $80,000 camper.
The Sailun S637 also performs well in snowstorms and inclement weather. With multiple snipes, it offers enhanced grip in wet, slippery, and downright dangerous road conditions. These snipes also help keep the tires from overheating, resulting in longer tread life. These tires should last you several camping seasons.
Honestly, there not much not to like about these trailer tires. However, every product has at least a fault or two, and the same goes for this tire.
The primary drawback of this tire is its sidewall – it has a tendency of bulging on rough roads. While there have only been a few reported cases, this can be extremely hazardous and lead to a blowout. Therefore, it’s best to play it safe and take it nice and slow on some roads.
- Made specifically for trailers
- Broad tread face provides excellent stability
- Excellent traction in rain and snow
- Sidewall is prone to bulge
Bottom-Line: The Sailun S637 Trailer Radial Tire provides excellent traction and stability for fifth wheels and travel trailers, making it an excellent option for thousands of campers and RV owners.
Goodyear Unisteel G614 RST Radial Tire
Best RV Tires for Rough Roads
Another reliable ST recreational vehicle tire is the Goodyear Unisteel G614. Featuring excellent, design, and steel belts construction, it can handle the most demanding of trailers and roads.
In fact, even compared to the Sailun and its excellent traction and stability, this Goodyear radial can tackle the most demanding of road conditions and do so smoothly and quietly. If you love RVing and camping off the beaten path, this is something you’ll appreciate. That said, as a radial tire, the Goodyear Unisteel G614 RST can handle the highway just fine as well.
Unfortunately, with an L speed rating, which limits the safe traveling speed of these tires to just 75 mph, you’ll have to take it slow. However, when you’re hauling a fifth wheel weighing up to 20,000 pounds and costing as much as some homes, you should probably keep it under the speed limit anyway.
- Performs well on a variety of roads
- Will hold up to any trailer application
- Reduces heat generation for added durability
- Wide-variety of sizes available
- Speed rating could be higher
Bottom-Line: From highways to remote campsites off the beaten path, the Goodyear Unisteel G614 RST Radial Tire is a quality tire that can take you just about anywhere you may want to go.
Trailer King ST Radial Trailer Tires
Best General RV Trailer Tires
- Center groove for consistent tracking & stability
- Enhanced shoulder design provides better heat dissipation resulting in longer tread life and even wear
- Nylon overlay construction on all sizes for superior strength and extreme durability in higher load applications
- Nationwide limited warranty
- Rims Not Included
It may not have the Goodyear name, but if you’re searching for a great all-around tire for your fifth-wheel or travel trailer, it’s hard to go wrong with the Trailer King ST Radial Trailer Tires.
One of the reasons we like this tire is its center groove. It enables the tire to track consistently and provide stable performance on a variety of roads and in almost any weather condition. With an embedded nylon overlay and steel belts radial construction, it’s built to handle the rigors of regular highway use.
The only real concern with this tire is its durability. As one of the more inexpensive options, the Trailer King’s tread tends to wear out a little faster than average. It’s also more susceptible to scrapes and punctures, so keep this in mind if you plan on driving over rocky terrain.
- Center groove improves tracking
- Tough materials and construction
- Smooth ride and high-speed rating
- Tread is a bit thin
- Limited warranty
Bottom-Line: If you’re not an avid RVer and want a quality trailer tire for occasional camping trips, the Trailer King ST Radial Trailer Tires is worth checking out.
Carlisle Radial Trail HD Trailer Tire
Most Reliable RV Trailer Tires
Carlisle Radial Trail HD Trailer Tires are yet another quality tire designed for use on fifth-wheels and travel trailers. This tire stands out for a few reasons, but the biggest is its tread pattern.
The tires’ distinctive tread pattern is designed to evenly distribute wear over time, resulting in more reliable performance. By evenly distributing wear, one section won’t get beaten up more than another, extending the life of the tire and reducing the odds of a blowout.
If that weren’t enough, this model also has built-in ozone, weathering, and heat protection, which boosts its performance in the summer months. They’re also pretty quiet, which is always a big plus.
However, putting these tires can be a bit of a chore. This can be a real drawback if one of them fails, and you need to change it out on the side of the road. The tire is also not designed for double-axle trailers, so you should consider that as well.
- Distinctive tread pattern encourages even wear
- Reliable, long-lasting performance
- Built-in heat and weather protection
- Installation can be a bit challenging
- No suitable for double-axle/tire setups
Bottom-Line: The Carlisle Radial Trail HD Trailer Tire has a distinctive tread pattern designed to promote even wear, making it an excellent option for anyone looking for reliable, long-lasting performance.
Freestar M-108 Radial Trailer Tire
- Tire Weight Rating – 1820 Lbs.
- Tire Type – Trailer Only, Not For Vehicular Use
- Tire Fits Rim Diameter Of – 15″
- Tire Load Range – Load Range D = 8 Ply Construction
- Tire Size – ST205/75R15
Since the quality of a tire’s tread compound can make or break its performance, we may have saved the best for last with the Freestar M-108 Radial Trailer Tire. The tire’s complex rubber compound gives it added strength and durability, which are two things campers need most in an RV tire.
Meanwhile, its deep grooves do an excellent job of expelling water, so if you’re camping and enjoying the great outdoors in the beautiful yet rainy Pacific Northwest, they shouldn’t let you down.
Along the same lines, these Freestars also grip the road well and provide excellent traction. This means you can feel safer and more confident, going around turns and dangerous mountain bends.
Unfortunately, like the Sailun S637, the sidewalls are prone to bulging, which can lead to rips or tears and pose a bit of a risk.
- Great tread compound for minimal wear
- Performs well in wet weather
- Excellent grip and great traction
- Sidewalls tend to bulge
Bottom-Line: Despite some reports of sidewall issues, the Freestar M-108 Radial Trailer Tire checks every other box, making it an excellent choice for cautious drivers desiring great tread, performance, and longevity.
Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API