Tyres and wheel bearings
should be checked regularly. We tell you why and how.
are the only contact you have between you and the road
and regular maintenance is not only recommended but
your tyre pressure regularly (suggest every
fortnight) and do a visual check for any sign of
unusual wear and sidewall bulges, chipping or road
balance and wheel alignment is recommended every
10,000 klms, particularly if your vehicle has been
subjected to rough roads.
should be checked for leaking and missing valve caps
should be replaced.
scrubbing the tyres against gutter edgings
Regularly check the amount of tread remaining on
your tyres. Immediately replace tyres that are
worn to below the minimum legal tread depth
displaying signs of aging should be removed.
When checking your tyre wear take the time to also
check the wheel nuts as they can work loose.
have been kept in storage and are over 5 years old from
the date of manufacture should not be placed on a
vehicle. Spare tyres on camper trailers or
caravans that have not been in regular use may age
prematurely and should be checked before every trip.
Tyres of different construction should not be fitted to
opposite sides of the vehicle on the same axle.
eg. cross-ply tyres should not be fitted to
opposite side of the axle as say a radial tyre.
tyres such as under inflation, over inflation, over
loading and even speeding and heavy braking will all
eventually cause problems and unnecessary expense.
and the 4 psi rule
pressures vary for every vehicle and caravan depending
on weight loads, size etc. An easy do-it-yourself
method for checking you have the correct tyre pressure
for your vehicle and caravan is known as the "4 psi
you need to inflate all tyres to the pressure
recommended by the manufacturer, for a "cold tyre"
reading and then tow your caravan for say a distance of
100 klm on bitumen.
stopping, immediately recheck your tyre pressure while
the tyre is still warm.
tyre pressure reading is greater than 4 psi from
the "cold tyre" reading you took at the beginning of
your trip, then the tyres are getting too hot and your
starting tyre pressure was too low. Under inflated
tyres wear unevenly and lead to increased fuel
consumption. They can also impair the handling of
the vehicle in the areas of braking and handling.
tyre pressure reading is less than 4 psi from the
"cold tyre" reading you took at the beginning of your
trip, then your starting tyre pressure was too high.
You will need to run the test again (once the tyre has
completely cooled) with less pressure until you find the
acceptable for larger 4WD's to have a 6 psi difference
between the pressure at the commencement of the trip,
and after 100 klm of travel.
to use the same accurate gauge for all pressure readings
and always carry a gauge with you when possible.
your tyre dealer if you have any further concerns or
questions regarding tyre maintenance or pressures.
of tyres on a regular basis promotes even tyre wear
which extends the life of the tyre. There are
uneven tread wear problems however that cannot be
corrected by simply rotating the tyres and these can be
an incorrect tyre balance or alignment or worn
suspension components. Your local tyre dealer can
advise on how to best correct these problems.
Tyre Types for RV’s
To a lot of people tyres look pretty much the same.
Manufacturers of tyres may cut down on the structural
components such as the amount of belting, so some
homework needs to be done when choosing a good tyre for
Whilst tyre traction on a caravan or camper trailer is
not as important as the traction on the tow vehicle
tyres, they must still be of good quality to handle the
weight or load of the RV. The maximum load at maximum
inflation pressure is listed on the side wall of the
tyre. The load index is the measure of the maximum
load a tyre can carry at its speed rating.
The majority of tyres will be adequate for touring on
most bitumen roads, however tyres that have a ‘belly’ or
rounder sidewall can be more susceptible to tears in the
tyre wall. This can occur on the narrower roads where
you move over to the left, say for an oncoming road
train or when being overtaken, and the wheels run off
the edge of the bitumen. There can be a drop down from
the surface of the bitumen to the dirt and the edge of
the bitumen can be irregular and act like a serrated
knife slicing the side wall of the tyre.
Most off road caravan and camper trailer owners select
light truck tyres or all terrain (A/T) tyres. These
type of tyres generally have a stiffer side wall and
more rolling resistance. They often select a tyre, and
wheel stud pattern, to match the tow vehicle so the
wheels are interchangeable therefore providing more
replacement tyres if needed.
How do I know when to replace my
Failure to maintain the wheel
bearings on your caravan or trailer can cause a build up
of heat from friction and this can then result in the
wheel assembly failing. The wheel bearings may seize
and cause the wheel to stop turning. This could cause a
blowout, which at high speeds could easily turn into a
It is a good idea to get yourself
into the habit of monitoring your caravan or camper
trailer’s bearings by placing your hand over the wheel
hubs to feel for any heat build up. This can be
regularly done while stopping along your trip for
morning tea, a toilet break, when you change drivers, or
just at the end of each day.
Wheel bearings can also pit and
deteriorate from standing for long periods of time, and
should therefore be serviced regularly. (Suggest
Make sure you purchase the correct
wheel bearings for your type of caravan or trailer and
always carry a spare set with you. Some wheel bearing
assemblies can be difficult to source in remote areas,
so having your exact type with you can save undue stress
and valuable time.
Find a spot with lots of working
room, free of dust and well lit. Make sure the wheels
on the opposite side to what you are working on are
chocked to prevent any trailer motion. It is highly
recommended you purchase a couple of jack stands to
assist in the support of the caravan. Under no
circumstance should you place any part of your body
under a caravan or trailer when it is jacked up unless
you have the support of jack stands under it.
Use a good quality wheel bearing
grease and be sure to carry a few sets of disposable
gloves and rags for the job.
step guides on how to repack wheel bearings can be found
by doing a simple Google search as there are many sites
specialising in this subject.