With a few protectant products and a little care, premature sidewall damage can be greatly reduced
If you own a motorhome long enough, you will eventually have to replace the tires. Most coaches require six tires, and a tag axle means two more. If you have priced tires lately you know that it is a major expense, so much so that it will make you rethink your tire care strategy to ensure you get 100 percent of their intended life.
When looking at the Michelin tire care handbook, the company has specific suggestions on the life of motorhome tires and when to replace them:
“While most tires will need replacement before they achieve 10 years, it is recommended that any tires in service 10 years or more from the date of manufacture, including spare tires, be replaced with new tires as a simple precaution even if such tires appear serviceable and even if they have not reached the legal wear limit.”
Despite the maximum 10-year life suggested by Michelin, very few owners obtain this life due to sidewall cracking. Since motorhomes are usually driven less than automobiles, this means they sit parked in places such as RV resorts, garages, driveways and storage lots. This much sitting around results in a lot of UV exposure for tires unless they are properly protected. Tires exposed to damaging conditions such as high UV, or even ozone, can experience premature sidewall damage (cracking) that often results in early replacement. Other than road hazard failures and blowouts, sidewall cracking is one of the most common reasons owners replace their tires earlier than expected.
In addition to service-life limits, Michelin also has some very specific suggestions on how to care for its tires, and we have followed those suggestions carefully for seven years on the tires shown in these photos. Michelin recommends cleaning the tires with a mild soap. If you plan on using a tire dressing, the company suggests not using one that contains petroleum distillates, alcohol or silicone.
With these suggestions from Michelin in mind, we have used the following process since June 2007, and as of this writing the 7-plus-year-old tires look perfect. Just a few months ago while talking about tires with a fellow motorhome owner, he walked over to our coach and asked about the age of the tires. When I said they were 7 years old, he was shocked. He assumed they were brand-new because they certainly looked that way. Your results may vary, but if you want to increase your motorhome tire life, follow this program and you can save yourself a lot of money.