In a previous post, I discussed how to determine the proper tire inflation for your tires and the importance of getting your RV weighed. In part two of that post, we will discuss properly inspecting your tires and what gross vehicle weight rating is.
Inspecting your RV’s Tires
RVers should do a visual inspection of your tires before each trip. You should also plan on a recurring schedule of inspection, rotating, balancing and alignment service from a professional. An inspection from the RV owner should involve visually looking for nails, cuts, bulges, cracks and weathering, and if you have duals, look for objects that may have become lodged in between the tires. The part that is not fun here is that you need to make sure you visually check out the inside sidewall and not just the part of the tire you can see by standing next to the tire. This may require you to get a little dirty to see the other side of the tire. There are many conditions that you should look out for on the tread as well. Here are some visual indications that you should be aware of:
If you see any of these signs of wear you should take it to a tire professional and have them inspect it and give recommendations. If you see a slight indication, and you catch it early, then you may be able to correct the problem before it becomes severe, and thus saving yourself money and ensuring a safe ride. The visual inspection may seem a little repetitive, and it is, but RVers that skip this process and then have issues down the road always wish they had taken a few minutes to do this. Put this process on your pre-trip planning list and make it a priority.
Gross Vehicle Weight
To get an accurate vehicle weight rating, you must weigh your vehicle at the weight you would be driving down the road. This means all your food, clothing, supplies, dog, people, and whatever else you put in your RV. Weighing your RV like this will give you your gross vehicle weight (GVW). Each vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and it is crucial that you do not exceed the GVWR with the GVW. The chassis manufacturer has established the maximum amount of weight that the chassis can safely support. If your GVW exceeds your GVWR then guess what? That’s right. You have to start taking items out to make sure you are safely within the chassis ratings. You can find your GVWR in the owner’s manual of your RV.
There are different types of scales that you will encounter; the first is a platform scale. This scale should be big enough to pull your entire RV onto and give you a total weight. Remember, ideally you need to get a weight at each tire, or at least a weight per axle. So with a platform scale you can pull onto it with just your front axle and record the weight, then pull the entire vehicle on for the gross vehicle weight, then pull forward so only the back axle is on the scale. Now this does not give you an individual tire reading unless the platform has space around it to pull one tire on at a time. The second type scale is a segmented platform. This allows you to pull onto the scale, and it will give you an individual reading for each axle. This is a little easier than the platform scale, but still creates issues with weighing at each tire. The third type is a single axle scale, and basically this allows for one axle to be weighed at a time. Once you have weighed your front axle then you pull forward to weigh the back axle, but the entire vehicle is never on the scale at once. To get to total vehicle weight you would add the two axle weights together.
There are some companies that have pads that you pull on that give the weight at each tire, and this would be the easiest of them all. In any event, getting weighed routinely is crucial to ensuring a safe weight as you barrel down the road.
Well that does it for now. Taking care of those tires and maintaining proper weights is crucial to safe RVing, so make sure you are taking all of the precautions necessary to give you and your family a safe trip.