Will Strivens

How To Check Your Caravanís Tyre Pressure and Why Itís Important

Thursday, 28 May 2020  |  Will Strivens

twin axle caravan wheels

How do I check my caravans tyre pressures?

There is a very simply way to check your tyre pressure. All you need is a tyre pressure gauge.

The average gauge will range in price between £10-£20 and they can be digital or analog. The analog version tends to me more accurate and will never run out of battery!

Digital Pressure Gauage                              analog Pressure Gauage

You simply remove the dust cap from the tyre’s valve and attach the gauge. The gauge will the tell you the pressure in PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) or Bar.

Pressure Gauage in use

Here is a video that I thought was really helpful in outlining some important checks you should take before heading out with your caravan.

What pressure should my tyres be?

This will all depend on the type of tyre and how heavy the caravan or motorhome is. Most vehicles and caravans will have the recommended tyre type and a recommended PSI for that tyre.

How do I find my caravans tyre pressure?

With the help of tyre safe’s caravan pressure calculator, its super easy to find the correct inflation psi for your tyres. Feel free to use this free service by clicking here.

The effects of incorrect tyre pressures

Now that you know how to check a caravan’s tyre pressure it’s important understand what happens when a tyres pressure is too low or high and what signs to look out for to ensure your tyres are in a safe condition.

It’s worth noting that a tyre will naturally lose pressure over time (between 3-9 PSI a year, even on a new tyre!) this is why it is important to check the tyre pressures fairly regularly. I would always check the pressure when taking the van out of storage.

Figure 1 below shows how tyre pressures impact the shape of a tyre and how it causes wear.

Tyre inflation diagram

Figure 1

Underinflated tyres

Increased fuel consumption

Having under inflated tyres can be very dangerous but can also cost you a lot of money in the long run. A study undertaken in 2019 by some clever people at Reliability Engineering and Resilience (RER) at the Taif University found that 1 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) of underinflation causes a 6% worsening of rolling resistance attitude. This extra resistance will mean your towing vehicle could burn up to 10% more fuel when pulling the caravan! Fuel is expensive enough as it is, so the simple act of checking your tyre pressure could end up saving you some serious money, especially if you are doing a lot of touring.

Increased tyre wear

Not only will low tyre pressure cause you to burn more fuel, it will also reduce the life span of your tyres. Those clever folks at the Taif University claim that it will reduce the tyre life by 15%! That means spending yet more money on a new set of tyres more frequently.

Increased stopping distance

As well as the economic reasons I mentioned above, underinflated tyres can cause safety issues such as increased stopping distance on wet roads, reduced aquaplaning resistance and can lead to a tyre having a blowout.

Reduced load capacity of tyre

A caravan tyre (along with car tyres) have a set load rating on them. If you have a light weight caravan then your tyres will have a lower rating than a tyre for a heaver caravan. If your tyre is underinflated its weight rating is therefore lowered and this in combination with the increased wear and roll resistance will cause the tyre to heat up, making the structure inside the tyre start to rub and degrade. This is what will cause the tyre to suddenly blow out.


Overinflated Tyres

Over inflation of tyres can also cause a number of issues, such as;

Increased shock loading

Over-inflated tyres are harder than normal tyres and don’t have the same shock absorbing qualities. If you hit a pothole or drive on rough ground it is more likely to cause damage to the undercarriage and suspension of your vehicle which will create even more cost and down time!

Increased tyre wear

When a tyre is overinflated the centre of the tyre is more pronounced and the tread will wear faster than the rest of the tyre. This will mean the tyres will need replacing sooner than correctly inflated tyres.

Increased stopping distance

When the tyre is overinflated, there is less surface area in contact with the road. It is the friction between the road and the tyre that results in the vehicle stopping. Less surface area in contact with the road equals less friction and therefore, increase stopping distance.

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