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Installing RV Tire Covers: Use Weights, Not Bungee Straps

Don has been an avid traveler and motorhome owner for most of his life. He shares his experiences along with valuable tips for RV owners.

A properly installed RV tire cover should look like this, nicely fitted.

A properly installed RV tire cover should look like this, nicely fitted.

RV Tires Degrade From the Moment They Are Made

RV tires have a relatively short useful life for the driver concerned about their safety.

RV tires, like all other vehicle tires, degrade over time, from the moment they are manufactured, and the second most prominent culprit, after tire wear, that ages your tires is exposure to the sun.

The third thing that degrades tires is the natural breaking down of the Rubber used in the manufacture of all tires.

Tire Manufacturer's Admissions:

Tire manufacturers do state, on their web sites and in most of their manuals and guarantees, that their tires will meet their design specifications for at least 5 years of what they call normal use before they should be replaced due to degradation.

RV Tire Covers Are a Necessity for Campers

But, if you read their fine print, this five-year limit assumes there was what they call “normal” wear and tear, which includes exposure to the sun.

Tire covers are the most efficient way to reduce the exposure of an RV's tires to the Sun and it is believed that they can even give the tires on an RV a little longer lifetime of use.

So it is understandable that because of this exposure to the sun most savvy RV owners will place tire covers over their tires whenever possible.

Tire covers should be used when storing their RV, and most will even use tire covers when they are staying in a campground for several days or more.

Problems Installing and Removing RV Tire Covers

But, I have problems with these tire covers.

Sure, when you purchase them they are designed to fit snugly on your RV's tires.

But it takes a few minutes, standing in awkward positions, to fit the cover over a tire because the rubber the tires are made of is not a slick material that other materials such as what tire covers are made of, will easily slide over.

So, at times, you can end up in a tugging match with the tire cover just getting it into its ideal position on your tires.

Also, once you do get the cover in place, there is an attached bungee strap that you must deal with..

The purpose of the bungee is to keep the cover from flying off of the tire and disappearing somewhere in the winds.

The Bungee Strap Process Is Horrible

Getting this bungee attached properly can turn into a real task at times for some campers.

At first glance, the process looks simple. There are two brass-lined holes in the back lower edge of the tire cover, and all you have to do is pull the bungee through the two holes and attach it to itself.

Oh, did I mention that the positions of these two holes are on the backside of the tire? Yep, that’s right, this is one of those tasks that requires you to get your arms and hands behind this very large RV tire and then fiddle with the bungee ends until it is laced through the two holes and then tied to itself.

Now, here is my problem; I'm 69 years old and I am not some nubile gymnast that can bend my body into different positions anytime I want. Nope, I am old and stiff, and it takes me a while just to get down onto my knees, much less get my arms around to the back of a tire.

The very thought of the contortions required to hug my very large tires and install a tire cover, or remove one for that matter, sends my worn-out lower back into sympathetic spasms before I even start.

Oh, and of course, you need to install, and eventually remove, one of these covers for each outer tire on your RV.

The worst of this process is that you must perform it at least four times, once for each tire.

The removal process is a little easier but it is also physically a strain for even a healthy person.

Redefining the Problem Before You Look for a Solution

Being such a “baby,” if you want to call me such, I have put a lot of thought into this tire cover installation process and I have devised a much more humane way to install my tire covers.

The first thing I did was sit down and define the real problem.

The real problem is that these tire covers are open in the back and really have nothing to hold them onto the tire when the wind gets to blowing around in a campground or storage area.

So, if the rear of the cover is not contained in some way, the gusting wind can eventually blow the tire cover off of the tire. After all, the tire cover is just a lightweight piece of vinyl with a soft interior lining that is, again, open on the backside of the tire.

I figured that I could deal with installing the tire cover because this step of the process is relatively easy after you get the hang of it.

But, I needed to get rid of this whole bungee strap and the need to wrestle with tying the backside corners of the tire cover to each other.

Thinking this over a little more, I realized that what I needed to do was keep the back corners of the standard tire cover from being blown away from the tire itself when the winds got heavy.

The tire covers and the parts I used to modify mine so that I didn't need to use the bungee straps.

The tire covers and the parts I used to modify mine so that I didn't need to use the bungee straps.

Use Weights, Not Bungee Straps

Then it hit me: if all I needed to do was keep the backside corners of the covers from “flapping” in the wind, what was needed was a way to put weights on the backside corners.

Perfect! I had a solution, weights on the corners of the cover. Then I went through a long list of potential weights that pretty much any camper could get and attach to the tire covers.

Whatever weights I used had to be: (1) just heavy enough to hold the corners down, (2) cheap, and (3) easy to attach.

So, I ended up with a $3 roll of good carpenter's line and eight two-ounce or heavier fishing sinkers as a kit. See the attached photo.

All you need to do is cut pieces of carpenters line into eight ten-inch lengths. I found that if the strings are too long, they will often tend to get tangled up on things on the ground.

You just tie one end of the string to each sinker, then you tie the other end to the brass eyelets on the corners of the tire covers—the same eyelets designed for the bungee strap. See the attached photo.

Once you have installed the sinker weights onto the tire covers, you simply slide the cover over the tire, as you normally would and then you reach around and flip the sinkers behind the tire. I use my awning hook for this so I don't have to bend over.

The sinkers keep the ends of the backside of the tire covers from being blown around by the wind and they stay firmly in place.

And, when you are ready to pull out, a few tugs on the cover will pull it off of the tire with the sinker weights dragging along to the outside of the tire.

Then it's a simple process to roll up the tire covers, with sinkers attached, and stuff them into your RV storage area for use the next time.

Weights installed on the eyelets of a standard RV tire cover.

Weights installed on the eyelets of a standard RV tire cover.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.