Buying the Perfect RV

Buying ThumbThis is the second book in the “Is It the Perfect RV?” series.  As a Certified RV Inspector and full time RVer for over the last 14 years, I have put my knowledge and background into helping you find the perfect RV for your situation.  This book will provide you with the tools and information to find your perfect RV.

In this book I cover the pre-sales inspection of the RV.  This is an important step in finding and buying the perfect RV.  Without the pre-sale inspection you could be buying someone else problems.

Here is a sample from the book:


Tire Inspection

There is so much that you need to be aware of when purchasing an RV about tires, that I find I am in overload just trying to put it in terms everyone will understand.

Tires are one of the areas that we seem to overlook. Many people, both experienced, and inexperienced fail to pay attention to and suffer the consequences of their oversight.

Tire issues are not a problem only with used units. So let me start with the basics. Many manufacturers are overlooking or worse disregarding the proper tire use on the RVs they are making. So let me start this series of articles with the basics. Please bear with me, I will probably cover things you already know, but I want to make sure we are all on the same page.

Tires for RVs are not the same as tires for your car or truck. These are considered Special Purpose tires. The tires have several things we want to look for. They include the load range, the age, the pressure, the tread and size.

Tire Pressure

You will want to take the tire pressure. A good truck tire pressure gauge will be a worthwhile investment. The pressure of the tire determines how much weight it can carry. Under inflated tires reduce the amount of weight they can handle, which will lead to the tire failing causing a blowout. I have a whole series of tire articles on the website at

Next thing to look at is the tread. Most RVs do not have a problem with the amount of tread left on the tire. But just in case you get ahold of a well traveled rig, the depth of the tread should be greater than 3/16 th of an inch and evenly worn across the tire.

Load Range

The Department of Transportation requires that all tires have certain information branded into the side walls of the tires. The load range/ply rating identifies how much load the tire is designed for at its maximum pressure. ST or Special Trailer service tires are rated one of these values.
B 4 ply Max Pressure 35 PSI
C 6 ply Max Pressure 50 PSI
D 8 ply Max Pressure 65 PSI
E 10 ply Max Pressure 80 PSI
F 12 ply Max Pressure
G 14 ply Max Pressure
H 16 ply Max Pressure
J 18 ply Max Pressure
L 20 ply Max Pressure
M 22 ply Max Pressure
N 24 ply Max Pressure

Search as I might, I could not find the maximum tire pressure for ratings F-N. Other than 120 PSI being the highest PSI. So please check the tires you have on the RV for maximum PSI.


This is the area that gets most of us. We are used to our cars and running the tires until they are bald. When we look at a used RV the tires seem great! But remember these are Special tires. They are not designed like our car and truck tires. Car and truck tires have UV protection built into the side walls and rubber. This prevents the sun from damaging the tires structure and makes them last longer. ST tires do not have this special protection. As such the sun damages the tires when they are exposed. Depending on who you listen to, the ST tires will last a few as 5 years before needing to be replaced to as many as 10 years. I have found nothing that says always change the tire after x number of years. But the apparent wisdom is no more than 7 years. So how do you determine the age of the tire?

On one side of the tire you will find the DOT information. The last four digits will be the birth date of the tire. The first two digits are the week of the year and the last two digits are the year. So a tire date code of 4312 would be the 43rd week of 2012. Add 7 to that and this tire would need to be changed out by 4319 or the 43rd week of 2019.

Inspection. So now that you know what to look for it is time to inspect those tires. I would recommend that you bring a piece of white chalk to mark the area where the size, load range, date and max pressure will be found. Some of this information will only be printed on one side of the tire. Murphy’s Law says it will be the inside of the tire. Get on the ground and carefully search the tire until you find the information. Record it as best you can. Take the tire pressure as well. Remember, this might be less than maximum but can be adjusted.

Inspect the side walls of all the tires both inside and outside. Look for cracks, tears, gauges etc. If you find any, I would replace the tire.

Now find the weight sticker for the unit. This will be either in the cab area behind or next to the driver’s seat or on a towable it will be curbside near the front of the unit. Write down the maximum weight the unit is designed to handle. You want the highest value you can find on the chart. Now for some research. Look up the make, model, size, etc. of the tire on the manufacturers website. Compare the maximum rating of the tire with the maximum rating of the RV. IF the RV is heavier, the tires are no good and will need to be replaced. Do not let anyone tell you differently. An overweight rig will cause the tires to fail and that could cost you your life.

We have the checklist!

A large portion of this book is dedicated to a series of check lists to use for inspecting the RV.  These checklists are derived from the same ones I use to inspect RV for my clients.  Some areas have not been included as they require special test equipment and skills that you might not have.


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