Your caravan tyres are constantly in contact with the road so their condition is integral to your safety. Incorrect tyre pressure can affect your outfit’s handling and cause damage to your tyres.
You should check your tyre pressure with an accurate pressure gauge before every journey and if possible with cold tyres. Higher temperatures will cause the air pressure to increase, so adjusting the pressure on warm tyres could mean that when they cool down the pressure drops below the safe threshold.
It is also important to check the tyres if your caravan hasn’t been used for a while. Check the pressure but also look for signs of wear or deterioration.
Why tyre pressure is important
There are many advantages to keeping tyres at the correct pressure. It’s not only important for your safety but can save you money in the long run.
If the tyre pressure is low it can cause them to wear more quickly, which means you’ll have to replace the caravan tyres more frequently. Properly inflated tyres will last for longer as they wear down at an even rate and also provide less resistance on the road meaning your engine doesn’t have to work as hard to turn them, saving you fuel.
Well maintained tyres will also be able to carry heavier loads and cope better with higher temperatures. Both useful qualities if you’re going on long holidays to hotter climates.
If your tyres need replacing you should make sure you use the correct replacements as different sizes could compromise your safety. In some European countries it is illegal to drive with different tyres to the manufacturer standard.
If you have an older caravan and the correct tyres are no longer available you should consult both the caravan and the tyre manufacturer to find out the appropriate replacement.
Also, it’s highly recommended to change all of your caravan tyres at the same time, including the spare. This should ensure that all tyres are in the same condition and provide the same level of grip.
Measuring tyre pressure
You should use a high quality accurate gauge to measure your tyres. Ensure your caravan is parked on level ground to spread the weight across the tyres evenly.
It’s a good idea to make a habit of replacing valve caps immediately after using. Also, remember to check your spare tyre if you have one. You should do this at the same time as you check your others.
A good test of tyre pressure is to inflate your tyres to the correct psi before you set off and then drive about 100km, preferably on motorways or dual carriageways, and then immediately check them again while the tyres are warm. There should be a 4psi difference in pressure in warms compared to cold tyres. If it is greater than 4psi your tyre pressure was too low to begin with, while if it is less than 4psi your pressure was too high.
This test should help you confirm the optimum tyre pressure for your caravan.
Calculating the correct tyre pressure
The correct tyre pressure should be listed in the handbook or manual of your caravan. If you cannot find this, contact a dealer and they should be able to tell you the correct pressure for your particular tyres.
When the manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure is not available you can use the following formula to give a reasonable estimate. MTPLM is the Maximum Technically Permitted Laden Mass.
(MTPLM in Kg x Max tyre pressure in psi)/(Max tyre load Kg x Number of wheels) = Running tyre pressure in psi
As an example; a single axle (two tyres) with a max tyre press of 65psi, a max tyre load of 650kg and a MTPLM of 1000kg.
1000kg x (65psi/(650kg x 2)) = 50psi
This formula is just a guide and shouldn’t be used if you have the information from your manufacturer available.
Well maintained tyres are vital for your safety. Remembering to check them regularly and keep them at the correct pressure will give you peace of mind when travelling as well save you money.