Your RV tires …. DOT numbers and load ratings

After I returned from my recent RV trip, I was washing up the Argosy and gave the tires a good cleaning. While cleaning them, I noticed some dry rot on the rear tires. I knew the rear tires were older but I did not know the exact age. I did know the front tires were between 4 and 5 years old. The general rule of thumb for RV tires is to replace them every seven years. Just because the tire has lots of tread does not mean the tires are good.  I see RV advertisements ALL the time with pictures of the tread but no mention of the age.  RV tires almost never wear out. They almost always pass the seven year age recommendation with plenty of tread left.

DOT Numbers

You can find out the age of your tires by checking the DOT codes stamped on the tires. The last four digits of the DOT code represent the week of the year (01-52) and the year (2013 = 13) of manufacturing. So a tire manufactured in the tenth week of 2013 would have a last four digits of “1013”. In some cases, the DOT number may be stamped on one side of the tires so you may have to crawl under and look at the inside of the tire to get the DOT number.

Another tip is to check the DOT number on your NEW tires when you purchase them. You don’t want to drop lots of cash on a new set of tires to find out they sat on the rack for a year and you only have six good years left on them. Make sure the shop gets you a fresh set! The tires I just bought at Sam’s Club were manufactured 2 1/2 months earlier so they were pretty new.

Load Range

While I was searching for the DOT number, I noticed a load range of “D” and a weight rating of just over 1,000 pounds. Since I knew the weight of the Argosy was around 4,000-5,000 pounds, that number really alarmed me!  The two load range D tires had a capacity of around 2,000 pounds! Upon investigation, my unit should have tires with a load range of “E” that can support over 2,500 pounds per tire.

You should NOT depend on the shop to put the proper tires on your unit! Obviously some tire shop put the load range D tires on my unit without any regard for passing the weight recommendations. Do your homework. Trust but verify!

I’ll be getting seven new load range E tires (including the spare) on the Argosy prior to the next trip!

Happy Travels,

Fred