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When to replace tyres


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I have a 12 year old A class tag axle motorhome and would like some sensible comments about when to replace tyres. I have replaced fronts as they do all the work ie: steering/ braking. The rears are original with plenty of tread and no signs of perishing. What are your thoughts?
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On my last van I changed at 7 years. The tyres still looked good, but I split the difference between those who claim 5 years max and the tyre manufacturers who stipulate 10 years Max.


I think a large dose of common sense and pragmatism is required, tempered with the amount of usage. The tyres are constructed in such a way as to pump an anti UV component to the surface of the tyre as it is stretched and compressed in use. Tyres that stand for long periods of time do not have this regeneration happening. A sign of this is how the tyres side walls turn grey and dull if not used regularly.


My van is currently doing 9000 miles per year. Used for 2 years but manufactured 2014. The sidewalls are absolutely perfect. I also coat them 3 to 4 times a year in ‘ForeverBlack’ a gel dye with UV deterant properties. I also on my last van protected them by use of corrugated plastic sheets, (estate agent for sale signs) wedged into the wheel arches.





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Continental recommend before ten years but subject to annual checking after five years.


I changed my Conti's at nine years old (21,000 miles) and sold the part worns on fleabay as having come off a 2004 MH. They paid for two of the new tyres!


I think twelve years is really a bit past their sell by date.



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When we were restoring Citroen H vans it was not unusual to see a van with Michelin metric tyres which ceased to be made around 15 years ago. Some of the tyres probably older than that, yet they were on vehicles that were being used every day, without apparent issue.

There were those which had cracked sidewalls which we recommended for replacement, but those that looked good, usually were, despite up to 20 years of age.


The MOT goes by appearance as well. Again, their view seems to be that if they look good they probably are.



I am not suggesting anyone should run tyres past 10 years, but if you do, just check them regularly for deterioration. At the first sign of cracking, replace them.


I know that there are lots of different arguments for where to put the new tyres, but for a Motorhome I always think it is best to move the old Rears to the front and put the new tyres on the rear, providing the old rears have at least 3mm of tread and are safe for the job.


As noted above the rears tend to last much longer as most of the braking and 'drive' is done through the fronts, so the rears tend to expire from cracking/age rather than wear.

Yet it is the rear tyres that usually take the greatest punishment because the heaviest weight is usually on the rear axle. Heavy loads put quite a strain on the tyre carcass over time.


Moving the rears to the fronts balances the wear and gives the 'old rear' tyres an easier life during their final years because front axle loads tend to be lighter/more consistent.

Although they will then carry the Braking and drive, that isn't hard work for the tyre carcass and it is the tyre carcass that needs a bit more care as the tyre ages.


Obviously any rear tyre that is moved to the front, needs to have decent tread depth to do the job safely.



Many of the old arguments on tyre rotation consider only braking, steering, traction, etc. A Motorhome because of it's potentially very high rear axle loads bends the normal rules, IMO.



If the above method of 'tyre rotation' is adopted, tyres rarely get 'old' and the tyre carcass rarely gets to the point where catastrophic failure (blowout) might become an issue. Normally the rears would still have about 5mm left at the point the fronts wear out, so perfectly safe for 'front' fitment.



A Tag axle, with it's better, more balanced rear loadings might require alternative thought, but if it was me I would adopt the same approach.



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