The Most Overlooked RV Essential: The Air Compressor

The Most Overlooked RV Essential: The Air Compressor

Yesterday, I was driving down the highway and saw an A-Class motorhome on the side of the road with a blown tire. And this got me thinking about my tires. Tires are often ignored, and an RV Air Compressor is the most overlooked RV essential. And this made me wonder…

  • How often am I checking my tires? 
  • How do I check my tires?
  • How do I maintain tire pressure on the road?

How often should I check my tires, and what should I be looking for?

A monthly inspection of your tires is a good rule of thumb. But if we don’t know what we are looking for, it doesn’t help. Here are a few things you should look for.

  • Tread: It should be no less than 2/32” remaining, or 4/32” with vehicles that are 10,000 pounds or more. 

  • Tire Pressure: Check the pressure monthly. 

  • Wear Pattern: Pay attention to your tread wear. If one side of the tire seems to have less tread than the other, it is time to rotate and re-align your tires. 

  • Expired Tires: Believe it or not, tires do have an expiration date on them. Most tires have a 5-7 year suggested life span from the date of manufacturer’s code.

How do I check my tires?

It’s one thing to look for the right details. But it’s another to know how to do it, or be equipped to do it. Here are some helpful hints and ways to stay prepared. 

  • Check the pressure with a gauge before driving for the day. A tire can be half of the suggested pressure before noticing it with a visual inspection. To check the pressure, you will want a good, reliable tire pressure gauge. I like a digital tire pressure gauge because it leaves no room for someone to misread it. 

  • To check the tread wear, this can be done using a penny. If you turn a penny upside down and put it into the tread, and you see Abraham Lincoln’s head fully exposed, then it’s definitely time to change the tire. If you do this test, and the tread makes it to his ears, your tires are probably in good shape.

How do I maintain tire pressure on the road?

The one thing that I realized when looking over my tires is… I have no immediate control over the age of my tire, the wear, or wear pattern. However if equipped, I do have control over the pressure in my tires. And honestly, this is probably the most important part of caring for your tires. 

If your tires don’t have the right pressure, you can end up replacing them early. hich could cost you thousands of dollars, or worse—a blown tire. One blown tire can destroy your RV’s electrical system, propane system, and could even cause major accidents. My fear of causing major harm to my RV pales in comparison to my fear of the catastrophic damage I could do to others and those riding with me. 

Common issues with bad tire pressure:

  • If your tire pressure is too high, you are limiting the amount of your tire on the pavement. This can cause a less than desirable ride, takes longer to stop your vehicle, and is more dangerous in rain and snow. 

  • If your tire pressure is too low, you are prone to tire blowouts. There will be more of your tire in contact with the pavement, but it will bloat out the side walls. This flex in your side wall will also create an increase in temperature inside your tires. Which could make them deteriorate.

  • Having the correct tire pressure on your tires is critical for your tire performance, longevity, and safety. To help determine this, you will want to contact your RV professional or tire shop to help meet your specific needs. 

    To monitor your RV’s tire pressure, you can buy a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). 

    While all of these things are great, you still need a reliable way to keep those tires at the optimal pressure. The easiest way to do this is to have a portable air compressor that is designed to keep your RV tires in the best possible shape. 

    There is one brand that stands out above the rest and that is Viair. They have a history of producing amazing air compressors that are perfect for your peace of mind. This air compressor is easy to use and reliable.  

    VIAIR Air Compressor unit for each RV type

    This diagram will help you figure out which air compressor you need. And if you have any questions, reach out to us at One Source RV, where the staff is backed by the experience of current and former Master Certified RV Technicians and other service professionals.

    Don’t get stuck alongside the road—or worse—because you didn’t take advantage of this offer.

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