Let's be honest, how many of us check our caravan tyres regularly? Not many of us, I am sure. You should check your tyres every time you use your caravan, after all, you check everything else, e.g. the lights are all working, you are correctly hooked up, before every journey.
The law states that it is an offence to drive with less than 1.6mm of tread across the majority of the tread area. However, if you are taking your caravan across the Channel, you need to check the law for the relevant country you are visiting (or passing through). In some European countries the minimum tread depth is 2mm.
Don't be deceived by the fact that the tyres on your caravan look okay. The tyres bear the whole weight of the caravan and it's contents while towing. They also remain stationary for long periods of time when you are not using your caravan. This can lead to tyre flat spots and the deterioration of the side walls. Even if the tread and tyre walls look okay, always check the age of the tyre.
It is recommended that caravan tyres are changed every five years at least, irrespective of whether the tyre looks okay or not. You can identify the age of your tyres by the date code printed on the tyre sidewall. Basically, a three digit code means the tyre was made before 1999, which was replaced by a four digit code in 2000. After 2000, the code stands for the week and the year in which the tyre was made, i.e. 0304 would mean the tyre was made in the third week of 2004. Your caravan tyre specialist should be able to help you with this.
Once you have decided to change your caravan tyres, check your caravan handbook for the correct tyre type to fit. You cannot just fit any tyre to your caravan. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, for example, size, type, speed and load rating. If at all in doubt, check with your local caravan dealer who will be happy to help. You may find that your tyre specialist might not know too much about the correct tyres to fit to your caravan as they specialise more in car tyres.
When checking your caravan tyres before your journey, always check that they are inflated to the correct pressure. This can be found in your caravan handbook. You should also check that the wheel nuts are set to the correct torque. This should also be done at regular intervals, after all, you wouldn't want a wheel to fall off while towing!
When we were on a caravan site last year someone turned up with their Bessacar caravan on a low loader - we got talking to them and guess what, one of the wheels had fallen off their caravan while they were going around a roundabout. We had a look at the damage it had caused to their caravan and believe us, you really wouldn't want this to happen to your caravan.
You may want to have Tyron Bands fitted to your caravan which
will protect your wheel in the case of a blow-out or puncture. Please
check out our page on Tyron Bands for more information. They are a simple but very effective safety device.
If you would like to find out more about caravan tyre safety, or get advice about axle loads and tyre pressures, then click here to take you to the TyreSafe website.
Even if you are not regularly using your caravan during winter you still need to think about winter tyre care. Please click here to find out what you need to be doing and checking.
All this may sound very mundane but safety for you and your family, as well as other road users, must always be your number one priority.
Always check your caravan tyres!