Let’s brush up on the basics of checking your caravan’s tyre pressure, and ensure that your next holiday is packed with nothing but fun.
Why is the right caravan tyre pressure so important?
Tyre pressure is an important parameter to consider regardless of the type of vehicle you’re driving. After all, your vehicle’s tyres are always in direct contact with the road, whether you’re steering, braking or accelerating. But what makes correct tyre pressure even more critical for caravans is the fact that you’re basically lugging a fully furnished motorhome through miles of bumpy road. Not only do typical caravans tyres carry much more weight than regular vehicles, they must also be geared to negotiate off-road conditions. And last but not the least, caravanning can take you much further off the grid than you’re used to, which means that you would have to deal with that deflated tyre on your own. Monitoring your caravan’s tyre pressure is a relatively minor task to incorporate into your schedule, given the difficulties it can ward off.
When to check your caravan’s tyre pressure
Timing matters. When you’ve just towed your caravan for a couple of hours, you’ll find that its tyres are warm, and that its pressures read higher than if you wait for them to cool down. Which is why it is so important to measure tyre pressures when the tyres are cold, which basically is before you take your caravan out for a drive.
Determining your caravan’s target tyre pressure values
Your caravan manufacturer will have listed the desired tyre pressures in your caravan’s handbook or user manual. If you don’t have access to this, you can always find the pressure values on a placard affixed to the driver’s door sill, or inside the caravan’s fuel filler cap. As a general rule, the following formula can help you estimate the target pressure value:
Target tyre pressure in psi = (MTPLM in kg x Maximum tyre pressure in psi) / (Number of wheels x Maximum tyre load in kg)
(MTPLM: Maximum Technically Permitted Laden Mass)
Measuring your caravan’s tyre pressure
Invest in a high quality measuring gauge in order to get the most accurate tyre pressure readings from your caravan. Begin by parking your caravan on level ground; this ensures that its weight is distributed evenly to all its tyres. Check the pressure in each tyre and increase or lower it to reach the target amount. Fasten the valve caps of your tyres to prevent any air leakage. And while you’re at it, it is also a good practice to measure your spare tyre’s pressure as well.
Testing your caravan’s tyre pressure
This is an important step in the tyre pressure checking exercise, and one that is often neglected. Once you’ve inflated your caravan’s tyres to the target pressure value, take it for a spin. After covering a distance of about 100km, run another tyre pressure check – this time while the tyres are still warm from the drive. In an ideal scenario, you should get a difference of 4psi in the two pressure values. A difference greater than 4psi would mean that your caravan’s tyre pressure was too low when you started, while a difference lower than 4psi indicates that your tyres were over-inflated.
Keeping your caravan’s tyres in good shape can not only prevent unnecessary hassle during your holiday, it also goes a long way in keeping you safe, and even saves you a few bucks! Routine tyre pressure checks shouldn’t take more than a few minutes; make them a part of your caravanning itinerary.
DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.