It’s all about the tyres!!!

Let’s talk about motorhome tyres… yep yawn…. but… Tyres are a very, very important, and a somewhat expensive part of the safety factor of your motorhome/campervanning lifestyle… in fact they are one of the most important factors you will need to look at very closely and regularly check for damage for the safety in travelling and when replacing make sure they are suitable for your vehicle… for motorhomes and vehicles that can carry such extreme weights over such long periods of time you must have the correct type of tyres, ie, the tyres used for these vehicles will have structured reinforced sidewalls to them, don’t try to save yourself a few quid and think you can fit normal standard car tyres to your motorhome or campervan… after all you wouldn’t dream of fitting car tyres to a lorry would you??? the strengthened sidewalls are extremely important on the tyres as these vehicles could cover many miles with a heavy load on board and or just be simply sat in place for long periods of time, the lifespan of the these types of tyres are usually approx 5-7 yrs any older and you should seriously look at replacing them or at the very least getting them checked by professionals even if you think the tread looks good and the tyres look in good condition etc, tyres age and rubber becomes brittle over time… personally I would rather replace them every 5 yrs just to be sure, because as said no matter how good the tread looks, over time rubber degrades and cracks can appear on the outside or inside walls of your motorhome/campervan tyres and trust me no one wants to see or experience a blow out in a motorhome on a motorway or in fact a blow out anywhere… you can find the year of manufacture of your current tyres on the markings on the sidewall of your tyres (if you do not already know how to check this, it’s well worth looking for the info now and educating yourself about…).

Now we made a rather rooky mistake when we purchased new motorhome tyres for our year long trip and although the tyres we have are safe, good quality motorhome tyres and specifically designed for motorhomes, if our advice can help with your choice of tyre then we are glad to have done so, we were by no means experts on tyres and to be honest we both assumed at the time you could only get summer or winter type tyres that were suitable for motorhomes… so we had summer tyres fitted to the motorhome thinking we would be in sunny Spain and Portugal over winter hence the weather would be just fine… job done… to be fair the tyres are great on the roads… its when you pull onto wet grass pitches you notice the grip issues, although having all weather or winter tyres doesn’t guarantee you will never get bogged down on a pitch they do tend to have a slightly better grip!!!

So yeah what we didn’t factor into when purchasing new tyres or rather we didn’t know about at the time… was the different off road grip factors… and the fact that in most of Europe unlike the UK where level hard standings are readily available the pitches here tend to be grass pitches or bare barren dry mud as in much of Portugal and Spain due to climate… but for example most of the French campsites were shut over winter due mainly to flood risk and weather regulations so on our return to France we have found the pitches now to be freshly recovered grass pitches, which is fine and looks lovely if the pitch remains dry, but if it rains the wet grass is an absolute pain in the backside to get off of, and after chatting to more experienced motorhomers we have since learned that we should maybe have tried all weather tyres… these would perhaps have given us a better grip on this type of terrain, while still providing the strength and quality needed… We also could have perhaps then adventured more and visited many more countries with stipulations and regulations regarding winter tyres/all weather tyres over the winter period without the extra cost of changing tyres… but don’t quote me on that as I haven’t bothered looking fully into it…

Now when Pete and I started discussing tyres, Pete utterly assured me our churning up pitches wasn’t down to our choice of summer tyres… but more down to the terrain that was causing us issues on pull offs, and to be fair maybe it is the case… but me being the non believer and the questioning type of person that I am (you know the awkward type of person that never just takes someone else’s word for it!!!) well curiosity took over and I soon started looking into the issue, and I have since perhaps proven Pete a little wrong and aided now with some of the relevant information on seasonal tyres and the differences in tread patterns (also I was getting frustrated watching other motorhomes of the same or similar size and design having minimal issues when pulling off of wet grass pitches even uphill) compared to us has helped prove the point in my eyes rather well (well… definitely to me anyway!!!), (we watched a motorhome just this morning the same size, similar dimensions, same cab make and engine size pull off of a wet grass pitch uphill with ease…) while we specifically hadn’t chosen said pitch because of the uphill pull off start it would have required, plus it rained heavily last night so the pitch was wet, with slippery and soft grass, yet this motorhome pulled off with no problems and with no churn up…

Now to be fair the suppliers/fitters of the tyres should really start to get on the ball with this… after all they are supposedly the experts on what tyres are for what circumstances and vehicles they will be used on and I wish they had questioned us before purchase and fitting to ensure they’d supplied and we’d purchased/been fitted with the most suitable tyres for our needs at the time, but perhaps we should also have questioned them more and asked more questions at the time… but we were new to what type of tyres did what… so that said we live and learn perhaps next time we shall go for all weather tyres… at the time we just replaced like for like with good quality safe motorhome tyres and obviously over time different specs are introduced for more suitable or different uses…

So from what I can make out it comes down really to how you will use your vehicle and what tyres there are available on the market that are suitable for the vehicle and job required of them… so in our experience depending on what tyres you currently have fitted, its finding the most suitable pitches you can that will suit your usage and vehicle handling, (we have literally slipped sideways before on grass trying to get off) therefore at present we tend to stick to trying to find and especially during rainy periods… pitches that have a slight decline going out of them and then use levellers to level ourselves up as well as we possibly can, these vehicles as ours is are mostly FWD which really doesn’t help if you get bogged down in the middle of a grass pitch so we reverse onto the pitches where possible leaving our front wheels nearer to the road and then we can then roll off of the pitch without much agro and causing minimal damage to the sites when it’s time for us to depart…

According to the first picture our current tyres were manufactured in December 2016… so when we had our brand new tyres fitted it was August 2017 those apparently “brand new” tyres by then were already 8 months old and had been sitting on a shelf waiting to be sold!!! Now I don’t know if this is standard practice to sell “brand new” tyres that are actually 8 months old… but I will certainly be looking at and questioning even asking for discount if the next brand new tyres I purchase are that old already… after all that’s nearly a year after date of manufacture and perhaps even a nearly a years travelling ability before needing to purchase new tyres again…

(please note the info in this blog post is purely my own personal opinion and by no means official or even proven fact… I am not a tyre expert…) so please do your own research and question suppliers if you must, when buying ask for suitable new tyres and seek advice from the experts at time of purchase if need be then tell them your travel plans so they can advise for specific tyres that best suit your individual needs… We have learnt the hard way and far too late into our 12 month journey now to do anything much about it and to be fair they are suitable and safe tyres, but I personally will be looking and seeking advice about all weather tyres when purchasing next time but hopefully this can be of some help and make you think about researching tyre needs for your vehicles too… if not then I have just wasted an hour gabbing on and on about tyre types for absolutely nothing!!!!

have yourselves a fab day

Donna x

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “It’s all about the tyres!!!”

  1. Thanks, that’s all good info and we’ll certainly now consider all weather tyres when it’s time to buy SOK some new ones.
    On the issue of tyre age, last year a respectable motorhome dealership in Poland tried to sell us some tyres they’d had in stock for over 3 years; God only knows when they were manufactured!

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    1. Hi glad it was helpful and thanks for reading my ramblings… on your tyres you will find numbers similar to those shown in the first picture on the post these numbers relate to the date the tyre is actually manufactured so for example the last four digits on ours state 1612 the first two of those digits mean the year 2016 and then the next digits mean 12th month so December once you get the hang of it you can tell exactly how old the tyres are hope that makes sense… happy safe travels xx

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