Low tire pressure is a common cause of tire damage on vans and RVs, as not everyone is aware of the higher than normal pressure required for van tires. Keeping the pressure at a sufficient level will improve traffic safety and extend the tire’s service life. Tire structure and correct storage between seasons also affect the durability of van tires.
This summer, travelers are taking their RVs to interesting destinations across the country. Durable tires in good condition will help make their travels easy, comfortable and safe.
"Very often, structural damage and bead area damage on van tires are caused by tire pressure that is too low in proportion to the load," said Nokian Tyres Technical Customer Service Manager Matti Morri. "When tire pressure is too low the tire will flex excessively under heavy loads, which in turn will heat up the tire body. The tire will also wear down faster."
Comfort and greener driving
Many are surprised by the higher inflation pressure required for tires for vans and RVs. Morri mentions the common size of 235/65R16 C as an example.
"In this size, maximum load requires a pressure of 83 psi. For the sake of comparison, passenger car tires in the size 205/55R16 commonly have recommended pressures of 31 to 34 psi. The recommended pressure for different loads is usually explained on the driver’s side door pillar or the fuel tank lid," Morri says.
In addition to tire durability, tire pressure also affects driving safety, economy and eco-friendliness. Low inflation pressure makes the tire harder to control in extreme situations, increases fuel consumption and significantly reduces the tire’s service life. When the pressures are correct, the tire will be comfortable and silent to drive. You should check your tire pressures at least once every month.
In addition to higher operating pressure, you should also pay attention to your choice of valves in van tires in order to make sure they match the pressure levels being used. Morri recommends using metal valves.
The fibers used in aviation also strengthen tires
Some drivers mistakenly use regular passenger car tires on vans and RVs. However, Morri thinks it is of utmost importance to use C category tires that are specially designed for vans.
"On van tires, the body structure, belt package below the tread and the rubber compounds are more durable and tailored for heavier use than on regular passenger car tires," says Morri. "In practice, you can see this in the fact that C tires will warm up less under load, which in turn reduces the risk of tire damage."
When choosing van tires, you should also pay attention to the materials used on the tires and their durability. Unique aramid reinforced sidewalls offer special strength to Nokian Tyres’ Hakka and Hakkapeliitta van tires. Aramid fiber is also utilized by the aerospace and defense industries, for example.
"Aramid-reinforced sidewalls are better at resisting impacts and cuts from potholes and curbs, for example," Morri says. "Aramid protects the tire against expensive and dangerous damage, and it can even help you avoid some damage."
When changing tires, also check the condition of your tread
When changing tires this spring, you should check your inflation pressures as well as the condition of the tire tread. The tire’s safety characteristics will be substantially affected when the tread depth falls to 5/32 of an inch. The risk of hydroplaning will increase, and braking distances in wet weather will be longer.
"For those who drive a lot, rotating tires during the season is a good way to ensure that they last longer and wear down more evenly," says Morri. "The drive wheels usually wear down faster than free-rolling wheels, so rotating the tires from the drive wheels to the free-rolling wheels will even out the wear and maximize the service life of your tire set. This small effort with tire rotation will create major savings in terms of tire purchases."
The storage conditions of your tires will also affect their service life. Between seasons, tires should be stored indoors in a cool, dark and dry place in order to prevent UV light or incorrect storage temperatures from affecting the tire’s rubber compound.
For more tire safety tips, visit NokianTires.com/ShopTalk.