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Why Weigh an RV Wheel by Wheel?

According to the RVer's Ultimate Survival Guide, "NOBODY can tell you what your tire pressure should be without properly weighing your RV wheel by wheel". The only way you can determine the proper inflation for your RV tires is to refer to the tire manufacturer's Load/Inflation tables for your particular tire, and the load being carried by that tire.

Under-inflated Tires:

  • Increase rolling resistance, and therefore DECREASE vehicle mileage. According to the US Department of Energy, on average, a savings of 3.3% can be realized by keeping your tires at the manufacturer's recommended inflation. At $2.25 a gallon, that means a savings of about $4.00 to $8.00 a tank could be realized in an average RV. That may not sound like a lot of money, but combined with the increased tread life of a properly inflated tire, it is certainly something worth considering.

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports as many as 32% of RVs are traveling with at least one "substantially under-inflated" tire, making them at risk of "imminent tire failure", a blowout. And often the damage and inconvenience caused by the blowout may well exceed the cost of replacing the tire.
  • Under-inflated by 20%, which is entirely possible when RV tires can require as much as 120 PSI, can cause a 25% decrease in tread life.

Overinflated Tires:

  • Adversely affect handling, suspension and stopping of the RV. Because there is less flex in the sidewall of the tires more road impact is transferred to the suspension and chassis of the RV. The reduced "footprint" of the tire decreases the surface of the tire on the road where it's needed for proper handling and stopping.
  • A continuous 10% overinflation reduces tread wear by 5%.

Proper weight distribution is essential to a safe RV. The only way to determine that distribution is to weigh the RV at the end of each axle. This information will make it possible to calculate the load on each tire, the load on each axle (GAW), the RV's gross vehicle weight (GVW) and the distribution of the weight on each component. Analysis of these measurements is the only way to ensure the RV is within its design capacities. According to the Recreational Vehicle Safety Education foundation, after weighing 27,000 vehicles:

  • 33% of RVs had overloaded tires...
  • 22% of rear axles were overloaded...
  • 28% of all RVs were out of balance by 400 pounds or more from one axle end to the other...

Any of these problems could result in a serious incident. Simply losing some mileage, or replacing a prematurely worn tire is not the real issue here. RVs suffering from these conditions can become immediately disabled due to a traveling blowout, and if you or anyone you know has experienced that, you know it's well worth the time and money to prevent it.

Cost of Overloading and Improper Balance/Inflation

On Safety:

  • Tire failures
  • Reduced handling capability
  • Dangerous on-road breakdowns
  • Stopping distances may be lengthened

On Your Pocketbook:

  • Rapid tire wear
  • Irregular tire wear
  • Rapid component wear
  • Excessive fuel consumption
  • Costly breakdown

Although you should see cost savings as a result of having your RV properly weighed, the most important reason for having your RV weighed wheel by wheel is:

SAFETY - SAFETY - SAFETY


Once you receive your weighing results and identify any problems, you are then prepared to take preventative steps to reduce the possibilities of a breakdown during a trip, or premature component failure.