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Caravan Tyres

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 I thought the tyres were in good condition, had checked them that morning and done the pressures. The van was 'only' five years old and I was going to replace them next year, honest. In fact the tyres turned out to be nearly seven years old. If you don't want this to happen read on.

Caravan tyres put up with a lot of abuse. For large parts of the year they stand round doing nothing and not moving. This is not what tyres are designed for, they deteriorate quicker if not used. Being left in the one position out in the sun, the tyre can start to 'mould' to the shape it is in i.e. with a flattening/bulge of the tyre where it sits on the ground.

You should make sure that the tyre does not sit in the same position for more than a month or two. This means that when the Van is not being used for long periods you should move it a foot or two regularly. I like many did not do this, but we now use the van through the year and don't need to do it.

For a single axle caravan the load that they carry is normally heavier than those of the car, well there are only two of them and most caravans weigh about 85% of the tow car. This is why they are heavy duty tyres, often called reinforced and many of them are used on light vans etc. Beware, the size British Caravans may not be available on the Continent, and a spare is essential item of equipment.

Tyres need to be looked after, there are three simple things you need to do:

1  Keep them at their recommended pressure, this will be in the handbook, and many Manufacturers now put the recommended pressure on a plate near the door.

2 Check them often, look to see if they are OK. Look for damage caused by road debris, bulges, cracks etc. Also check the tread depth, however, for most caravan tyres, the mileage they do will not be enough to wear the tread down. Don't be fooled by this, plenty of tread does not mean the tyre is in good condition.

3 Check the age of the tyre and replace it as per the advice below. Remember even if you have a caravan that is just three years old, the tyres may have been in store for some time before fitting and could be 5 years, or more, old.

Tyres: Caravan Club advice

"As a general rule (and following guidance issued by the tyre makers trade body, the British Tyre Manufacturers Association, it is advised that caravan tyres should ideally be replaced when 5 years old, and should never be used when more than 7 years old. This advice is borne out by the Club's own research into caravan tyre failures, which confirms that the likelihood of a tyre problem increases after such age. Our research further suggests that tyres which need a high inflation pressure (say 50psi or more) require greater care still. Such tyres should be closely examined for signs of deterioration from 3 years old, and it would be strongly advised not to use them beyond 5 years old."

Tyres: How old are mine?

The chronological age of any tyre can be found on the tyre sidewall by examining the characters following the symbol "DOT". For tyres manufactured after the year 1999, the last four numbers identify the date of manufacture of the tyre to the nearest week. The first two of these four numbers identify the week of manufacture (which range from "01" to "52"). The last two numbers identify the year of manufacture

(e.g., a tyre with the information "DOT XXXXXX2703” was manufactured in the 27th week of 2003).

Caravan Tyre Guide

 Caravan Tyre Information