Caravan Tyres; are yours any good?

Caravan tyres are one of the most critical parts of a van, but they’re often overlooked. This is particularly the case for those who only pull their vans out a few times a year, but we’ve also seen plenty of people travelling long term running tyres that they really shouldn’t be.

If you are running Caravan tyres that are pushing the friendship, it can cause all sorts of nasty problems.

Toyo Open Country RT's on our Camper
Caravan tyres are often overlooked. How are yours?

It’s a false economy

The only thing that keeps your van in contact with the road are your tyres, and I’ve never understood how some people justify running old, or rubbish quality tyres on their caravan.

This is particularly amplified if you have a single axle van, as you have no backup; if you have a blow out, that’s it, and if it happens to be in bad timing, you can find yourself in a predicament much larger than just a blown tyre.

I’ve seen people roll their vans and 4WD’s when a tyre blows out, and whilst this is extreme, it does happen, and the best thing you can do for your own back pocket and safety is to be cautious with the caravan tyres that you are running.

Camper trailer blow out
Bad caravan tyres can cost you a lot more than a blow out and lost time

Caravan tyres; what to look at

Tyre age

The biggest area that causes people grief when it comes to caravan tyres is their age. If you have had tyres on your van for more than 7 – 10 years, you are really starting to push the friendship.

Tyres are made of rubber, which deteriorates with age, and even if the tyres have hardly been used by the time 7 to 10 years rolls around they are often ticking time bombs, and hundreds of people experience this every year on their annual caravan trips.

If you don’t know how to check your tyre age, its super simple, and can be done in under 2 minutes. Check the date, and if they are old, get them replaced. The tyre numbers are really easy to read and understand once you know how.

We came across a couple who’d pulled off on the main road out to Normanton a few months ago, and I stopped to help. They had a dual axle caravan and had blown one of the tyres, and only had one spare. They were struggling to jack the van up and swap it out, and it was in the middle of a very hot day, out in the open.

I pulled over and swapped the tyre for them, and had a good look at the dates. The tyre that had failed was about 7 years old, and the spare they had was 12 years old, and had spent its life sitting out in the sun.

I explained that they needed to be replaced ASAP, and sent them on their way, but I’ve experienced putting an old spare on and having it let go minutes later. It’s not the position you want to be in.

Now, on Caravans in particular you’ll find that the tyres usually get old and brittle before they wear out, and if you can have them matching your vehicle you can interchange them, and wear them out as best as possible.

Tyre age stamp
How old are your caravan tyres?

Tyre quality

There’s some really flash caravans getting around today, and a lot of them are running really high end tyres, which is fantastic to see. However, I still see plenty of 100k plus caravans running the cheapest, nastiest imported tyres that you can buy, and I just shake my head.

I just don’t understand why you’d risk something so expensive and important for a few hundred dollars worth of tyres.

Now, I need to be fair here; there are some decent, cheap tyres on the market and if you’ve done your research and know they are a decent tyre, that’s perfectly fine. However, if you are running a tyre brand that you’ve never heard of (and neither has your local tyre shop), it should probably raise alarm bells.

Please, at least take the time to think about what happens when you have a blowout. I know from personal experience that the money you save in not upgrading to better tyres is very quickly destroyed when you have to buy a tyre in a remote location, and you are paying 1.5 – 2 times the price that it would have been back at home!

Trailer suspension
There are some very questionable tyres put on high end caravans

Tyre tread pattern

There’s a big fascination with running mud terrain tyres on caravans, and its ridiculous. Our very own Reconn R2 came with Achilles XMT mud terrain tyres, and they wore terribly, and had limited benefit over a good all terrain tyre. Your caravan does not drive, and does not need mud terrain tyres.

Yes, it can help to stop the van from sliding in mud, but how many people can honestly say that they take their van into the mud?

The only real benefit of a mud terrain tyre over a good all terrain is the sidewall strength, and puncture resistance, which you will get if you get a good all terrain tyre anyway.

We replaced our mud terrain tyres with an aggressive all terrain (Toyo Open Country RT), and I’ve been super impressed with them. I won’t go back to a mud terrain tyre on a camper or caravan; it’s done purely to look tough, with no tangible evidence for doing it.

Tyre scalloping
Mud terrain tyres on a Caravan are generally a pain

Where can you get new Caravan Tyres?

If you need new tyres for your caravan, ring around and see what is available. You can often save a good chunk of money by bringing the wheels in yourself, but that may or may not be worthwhile for you. 

You need to get tyres that meet the load rating requirements for your van, suit where you’re driving, and that are as high quality as possible. Light truck specification is almost always a good idea, and from there we normally just find a reputable brand that is a good price, and roll with it.

You can save a bucket load of money by ringing around and finding a good tyre.

Tyres are part of your lease
Shop around and find yourself a good deal on some quality Caravan Tyres

How is your spare Caravan Tyre?

Whilst the tyres that are actually in use are of most importance (and should be your best), a lot of people seem to forget that your spare tyre when needed is going to make or break your day. As mentioned above, I’ve seen spare tyres disintegrate within 10 minutes of being put on, and that can create a world of pain if you are out somewhere remote.

Keep your spare tyre out of the sun where possible, rotate it into service if you can, and if its getting old, pay the money and swap it out. It’s cheap insurance.

Brand new tyre wear
How’s your spare tyre?

Consider a TPMS system

There’s been a heap of new technology brought out over the years, and some of it is really handy. You can get Tyre Pressure Monitoring systems now for relatively cheap, and they’re great insurance on Caravan tyres.

These report real time the tyre pressure of your vehicle and caravan tyres, and if you get a puncture they’ll pick it up early and give you time to pull over. A lot of tyre failures come from picking up a small leak, which makes the tyre run low pressure, heat up and eventually fail on the sidewall in a big way. If you knew when the air leak started, you’d have a chance to pull over, repair the leak (or swap the tyre) and you’d save replacing that bit of rubber.

Of course, these aren’t a must, but they’re a good idea.

What Caravan Tyres do we run?

On our Reconn R2, we originally had Achillies XMT mud terrain tyres, which were OK, but cheap and wore badly. We then swapped to Toyo Open Country RT’s, which are an aggressive all terrain, and I couldn’t be happier. 

We’re not tied to any particular brand though, and will find a heavy duty, light truck all terrain to replace these when they wear out.

What Caravan Tyres do you run? Are you happy with them?

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