The tyres on your caravan are the only point of contact with the road and ensuring they are in tip top condition is of vital importance. Checking the pressure should be part of any regular maintenance regime, especially as it’s so easy to do.
So what is the correct tyre pressure for my caravan? Most caravans require a tyre pressure of around 58 to 60 psi but this is dependant on the weight of the caravan. You can find the exact rating in the user manual or on the manufacturers plate near the door.
Its vitally important that you make sure you are running your tyres at the correct pressure for the caravan, both from a wear and tear perspective and from a health and safety one.
We’ve put together a few pointers of how you can keep your tyres in the best condition.
- 1 How do I find out the correct tyre pressure for my caravan?
- 2 What’s the best way to check caravan tyre pressure?
- 3 What will happen if my tyre pressure is too high?
- 4 What will happen if my tyre pressure is too low?
- 5 Can I put car tyres on my caravan?
- 6 How can you tell the age of a caravan tyre?
- 7 Do caravan tyres need balancing?
How do I find out the correct tyre pressure for my caravan?
As mentioned above – the easiest way of finding the correct pressures for your caravan tyres is either:
- Check online via the manufacturers website
- Check the user manual (if you have access to one)
- Locate the manufacturers info plate (near the door) – tyre pressures are listed.
Of these 3 options, probably the easiest way is to check the manufacturers plate. The weights, specifications and subsequently the tyre pressures may vary from model year to model year so you may struggle to find a definitive answer online, the plate however lists your caravan specifically and will always be accurate.
Using the example of the Sprite Major 4 SB that we used in our guide to caravan weight, you can see the following information:
- Model – Sprite Major 4 SB
- VIN – XXXXXXXXXXX
- MRO – 1259kg
- MTPLM – 1415kg
- TYRE SIZE – 185 R15C 102
- TYRE PRESSURE – 59 psi
In this example we are interested in the tyre pressure value (59 psi) and to a lesser extent the type and rating of tyre required.
What’s the best way to check caravan tyre pressure?
Regularly checking your tyre pressure is both quick and easy to do, as always there’s a traditional way to do it and a more modern, technological way..
The old fashioned way – using a pressure gauge.
This has been the standard way to check tyre pressures for years – simply remove the tyre valve cap and screw the gauge on for a quick and simple reading.
We’d recommend that you look for a heavy duty one, rated for up to 60psi as cheaper alternatives might not be suitable for such high pressures.
Amazon have a number of tyre pressure gauges for not much money – they are worth checking out.
A more modern approach – retrofitting tyre pressure sensors.
For years, tyre pressure sensors were only fitted to high end performance cars, but as the technology has become cheaper and smaller, the ability to retrofit these into cars (and caravans) has become far easier to do.
Amazon has plenty of cheap kits to retrofit tyre pressure sensors into your caravan, you simply replace the valve caps on your tyres and allow them to connect to the monitor unit. The device will let you know if the tyres experience any loss of pressure – allowing you to perform preventive maintenance.
There’s a great selection of tyre pressure sensor kits on Amazon.
What will happen if my tyre pressure is too high?
If you find that your tyres are pressurised beyond what’s recommended for the caravan then immediately release some of that pressure to bring it back into line with stated values.
Driving with over inflated tyres can lead to uneven wear on the tyres – you may find that the centre of the tyre wears much faster than the outside edges. This is a sure fire sign that the tyre pressures are too high.
Over inflating tyres can also increase the chances of a blow out of the tyre when driving. Having experienced this myself in a car was bad enough but I managed to recover safely.
Towing a caravan is hard enough but a sudden loss of control though a tyre blow out can be catastrophic for the caravan and very dangerous for the towing vehicle. A jackknifed caravan is something that no one wants to experience.
What will happen if my tyre pressure is too low?
While not as dangerous as running an overinflated tyre, driving on an underinflated tyre can cause damage both on the tyre itself and on the caravans suspension.
Tyre damage due to underinflation typically will be either on the inside, outside or both edges of the tyre – this is because these areas have more contact with the road surface and will wear down faster as they are not as robust as the threaded, central portion of the tyre.
An under inflated tyre can cause suspension damage over time as the protection that the tyre provides from bumps and uneven roads simply isn’t there. This means that the suspension on the caravan has to work that much harder, causing it to wear out sooner.
If your pressures are too low, we recommend a good 12v Tyre inflator with auto shut off – such as the Audew Air Compressor on Amazon.
These products are not expensive and they can really get you out of a fix.
Can I put car tyres on my caravan?
There is nothing to stop you using car tyres on a caravan, but it’s probably best to take advice from a tyre specialist if the tyres you want are suited to the application.
In most instances, van tyres are more suited to being used on a caravan as they are designed to carry heavier loads and operate at far higher pressures than a standard car tyre. This is important as these tyres won’t necessarily experience the high speeds and turning forces that standard car tyres are designed to cope with.
How can you tell the age of a caravan tyre?
All tyres are date stamped with the week and year of manufacture – this is listed as a code preceded by the letters DOT. For example, a tyre with the code DOT 2612 was manufactured in week 26 of 2012.
While there doesn’t appear to be an upper limit to the age that a tyre can be used at, car manufacturers recommend changing them every 5 years. The rules may well be different in your region or country so it’s best to check your local laws.
At 6 years old tyres should be checked by a professional, regardless of the amount of tread left. Spare and unused tyres should also be checked as these can degrade over time.
Its key to keep an eye on older tyres and replace them at the first sign of age – a good set of tyres is vitally important to your safety.
Do caravan tyres need balancing?
Absolutely, like all vehicle tyres it is important that the tyres on the caravan are properly balanced. New tyres should be balanced as part of the fitting process but it’s recommended that the tyres are checked regularly.
Its very easy to knock a tyre out of balance – all you really need to do is clip a kerb or hit a pothole and you can damage the rim, dislodge a balancing weight or similar.
If you’ve bought a second hand caravan then tyres should be checked as soon as you can.
Symptoms of unbalanced caravan tyres include:
- Uneven and excessive wear on the tyres
- Increased noise and vibration
- Decreased fuel economy
Of the three symptoms, the most apparent will probably be uneven and excessive wear on the tyres. With even one unbalance tyre you’ll find you’ll wear through a tyre much faster, possibly on the inside or outside edge of the tyre.
You may find that this will be exaggerated by the increased pressures that the tyres need to be run at in order to adequately carry the weight of the caravan on a single axle.
The increased noise and vibrations may not be immediately obvious due to the distance between the towing vehicle and the set of tyres, but the reduced fuel economy should be. If you find that your fuel economy is decreasing over time, then get the tyres checked on both the towing vehicle and caravan and take action as necessary.