Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tiring RV

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We bought a used motorhome knowing we would have to do some updating on it. I am fairly handy, and figured I could do most of the work myself. My biggest error was not calculating the price of new tires. Not ever having a vehicle that required truck-like tires, I had no idea they would be so expensive compared to car tires.

It has made me a bit obsessive, according to my wife. I guess I am just trying to cut my losses as much as possible. I have been comparing prices with dealers, reading RV forums for hints on different brands, trolling for sales, and even thinking about seeing a psychic who might steer me (no pun intended) to a great deal on tires.

The rig has Goodyear G670/70R19.5 F rated tires that I think are factory installed. They are 10 years old and I hate to start on a maiden voyage with these tired tire treads.  I hope you can adjust my thinking so I don't feel so bad about emptying the bank account, or perhaps you have an uncle in the tire business. I would appreciate any help with tires or an attitude adjustment.
--Rubbernecking tire stores in Trenton

Dear Rubbernecking:
You are thinking correctly about a tire change. Ten years would be plenty on those treads, but not excessive. Dealers will tell you tires are like milk, they spoil. Most people only hear the first part of the advice and think tires will fall apart at 5 or 6 years. If cared for properly, inspected often, they can last much longer with proper alignment and rotation.

If you buy new tires now, you can depreciate the cost over the next several years. Reading RV forums is a great idea, but you will find so many opinions about tires it will make your head spin. It's like asking for an opinion on who the best NFL team is. What you might want to concentrate on is warranty and accessibility. If you travel far and wide, buy a tire with a good warranty and a good network of dealers.

Find a shop that not only sells tires, but does alignment work. If you find a shop that is equipped to work on trucks and RVs you will find a much more experienced crew.  Plan on spending five-hundred bucks a tire. You should be able to find a dealer that will get you out the door for that - tax, labor and the whole nine yards.  It is alright to be compulsive/obsessive.

It is also fair to hit the tire manufacturer/dealer over the head with the spoiled milk theory. If tires become obsolete with age, you want the newest tires they can get their hands on. Those that say nothing, will end up with whatever comes off the shelf. You won't usually end up with tires that were made last week, but you don't have to take tires that are a year old already. Let them sell those to someone else. They may have to order a set from a distributor, but they can find newer date-stamped tires with a simple phone call and have them on the next delivery truck.

Sorry, I don't have an uncle in the tire business. But if you talk to enough dealers you will find an average price for tire replacement in your area. Use online review sites to see what others have experienced with a dealer you may want to use. Online references can also help you discover whether the brand warranty is any good. See what others have experienced when they have had to scream, "Warranty!"
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

Editor's note: A great place for all types of tire information, including what, where and when to buy, is the RV Tire Safety blog, from RV tire expert Roger Marble. Click here to go to that blog


Merikay MacKenna said...

If buying new tires will empty the bank account, you may have troubles if the price of fuel and gas goes back up. The cost of repairing the body damage that can be cause if a tire blows is another thing to take into account. That can cost thousands.

Anonymous said...

It is easier to shop price at home than parked on the side of the road with a flat.

Bill the Web Guy said...

I was also looking at tires and a truck dealer told me that the biggest mistake is to get cheap tires with no support as you travel across the nation. Go with a major brand that can be found most anywhere you might travel. If you have a problem with a tire you will then be able to find a replacement and support. I went with Firestone and after over 8000 miles in one summer I had no problems of any kind. Be sure to have a pressure sensor system so you have peace of mind since low pressure will destroy ANY tire you buy.

Ellen said...

Definitely invest in new tires and the newer, the better. We had a relatively new Class C when we prepped to drive to Alaska (starting from SoCal) but bought all new tires anyway as we'd heard the roads were so bad. We got the replacement warranty on our new Michelins and when we experienced a road hazard outside of Whitehorse, Yukon, we kept the bad tire (the Canadian tire store couldn't honor the warranty) and took it to the tire store when we got back to CA -- easy peasy, they replaced it with a new one. Within another year we had another tire need replacement, and they exchanged that one as well. Can't ask for much more than that for the price of the tires and warranty!