tire covers? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 04-18-2006, 06:34 PM   #1
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Trailer: 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel Dlx / 2001 Ford Ranger 4x4
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Is it best to leave the spare tire cover off or on? Friend of mine took mine off and says they will eventually rot the tires cuz water gets in there and settles at the bottom of the cover keeping it damp?? should i put it back on??

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Old 04-18-2006, 07:06 PM   #2
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Trailer: 1975 13 ft Trillium
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I think the suns UV rays would get to your tire if left danglin in the dust on the back of your trailer before any tire rot would set in if it were covered with as cover that had nowhere for water buildup to drain to. IF you have a "solid cover" and are concernrd about water buildup you could always drill a drainage hole in the very bottom of the cover, just my 2 cents (Canadian) worth

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Old 04-18-2006, 09:21 PM   #3
Trailer: '74 Ventura
Posts: 47
I've listed three links here for you -

The consensus seems to be a tire life is six years before replacement -
thus covered & wet or exposed & sun in the "biggest of pictures"
will not make a difference "if" following the information from
the following articles is taken into consideration -
a bigger concern is keeping the proper inflation,
and visual inspections before - during - after each outing.




Hope that helps

Myself - I think covered spares Look nicer
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Old 04-21-2006, 05:44 PM   #4
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
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People all over the world carry spares on external racks on off-road vehicles (now fashionably known as SUVs) without covers, and I suspect that the covers are mostly cosmetic. The big "but" would be that a trailer spare is expected to stay there a lot longer, so sun exposure would be more significant.

The tires which are currently holding up the trailer do not have covers, but being in the fenderwells does mean a lot less direct sun exposure, and they also rotate. The top of the spare stays on top and I suppose that area will eventually suffer because of that; if water is a problem, then a trailer sitting in a wet location would have a problem with the tires on the ground if left long enough.

I suppose that a black vinyl cover (like mine) could even contribute to heat buildup, but I don't know of any objective study one way or the other.

I certainly wouldn't worry about a bit of water in the bottom of a cover, but that's just my guess.

Although I haven't rotated tires between positions yet, and I'm not even sure that the spare under that cover is identical to the other tires, I think the best plan is to keep three (or five, for you Fiber Stream and big Bigfoot owners) identical tires in a rotation. The same tire would not spend years as the spare, and whether or not it is covered seems unlikely to be a concern. My current plan is to replace tires (and likely wheels) in a set of three and start annual (or more frequent) rotations.
1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
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Old 04-21-2006, 07:08 PM   #5
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Trailer: 84 16 ft Scamp
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I don't know about the 6 year limit, but I had a spare on the back of the Scamp that blew to shreds with a loud bang one afternoon a couple of years ago. It had been purchased new about 15 years prior with the two other tires on the road and had never been on the ground.

The tires on the ground are still going strong, tread wear about half down, a few weather checks but appear to be in great shape.

Maybe it does these tires good to get some exercise occasionally!
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Old 04-21-2006, 08:41 PM   #6
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
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I wonder how many of us have ever had to use the spare on the trailer? I know in nearly 40 years of driving, I've only used the spare on my daily driver...twice. It's the kind of thing you absolutely have to have when you absolutely need it. But what an expensive "thing." I chose to purchase the best two tires I could afford for my trailer. 15" Marathons, but cheaped out on the spare....I think it came in around $30. I'll rotate the tires side to side, and leave the spare just that.

I'm not fond of spare tires covers either...just a personal thing. So I took it off the back of the trailer and it rides in the tug. Prior to making that decision, I looked into this stuff from Camping World:
Keep UV rays from cracking, weathering and prematurely aging tire sidewalls. Spray on Sunblock Tire Prep and brush tires lightly with sidewall brush to remove dirt, oil and grease. Aids in the adhesion of sunblock treatments for superior results. Sunblock For Tires is an easy paint-on application that lasts 4 to 5 years! Will not peel, crack or weather away. A permanent and reliable tire finish. Environmentally safe. USA.
It's not cheap, but I figured I could use it on ALL the tires I have.
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Old 04-22-2006, 05:16 PM   #7
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Trailer: 2007 17 ft Casita Spirit Deluxe
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If you live in the Southwest, the UV rays really deteriorate a tire left in direct sunlight. Makes sense to buy a cheaper new spare at least every 6 years and keep it covered. I lived in Northern California for 20 years and never saw a tire rot form moisture. But I sure have seen tires crack and become suspect regarding integrity from UV rays within 5 years time in the Southwest..
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Old 04-23-2006, 09:58 AM   #8
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Trailer: Bigfoot 16 ft
Posts: 72
Gary has it right, UV eats all rubber and plastics and are the direct cause of Tire rot. I think the new tire compounds are not affected by moisture. Keeping a tire covered by a white/light colored cover would be better than leaving it exposed to the sun. As mentioned, buying a new spare tire at regular intervals is cheap insurance.
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Old 04-23-2006, 02:03 PM   #9
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
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I can't handle the idea of buying a spare, leaving on the trailer for a few years, then throwing it away unused. I don't do that with my cars. I would rather pay a bit more for a proper tire, use it in rotation, and get value from it. There are two additional benefits:
  1. the spare will be known to be in good condition when it is needed
  2. the spare will match the other tire when it is used, for safer towing
It may seem painful to buy three tires when it seems like you only need two, but the replacement will be 50% further into the future, so in the end it isn't expensive. It's like buying tires for your car: do you buy two at a time, rotate only side-to-side (if at all) between replacements, and forever have mismatched tires, or do you buy four at a time (getting that 4-for-the-price-of-3 discount), rotate them front-to-rear annually, and go twice as long between purchases? Of course, in cars this only works if you use the same size front and rear.

This doesn't have much to do with original question, except the previously noted point that avoiding many years of being stuck in the same position on the spare rack may avoid the need for any cover. It also begs a comparison with cars: does anyone replace their (never-used) spare every six years? Has anyone had some water sitting in the spare tire well of a old car which wrecked the spare? Not me, in either case, but I usually carry a full-size out-of-season tire as a spare (that is, a summer tire is spare in the winter, and vice versa). With my new (well, 2 years old is new for me) van, the regular tire does not fit in the spare location, so I have to carry the narrower original spare there, and it cannot be part of the rotation.
1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
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Old 04-23-2006, 02:52 PM   #10
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Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
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Think "Boat Dock Bumper". Tires are frequently used as bumpers in salt water and I think the only thing that eventually kills them is friction from a boat, not the water.

Agreed, sun can ruin your tires and I would leave the cover on. My cover is on so the seam is at the bottom as well, most water just drains out.

I don't you'll here of any Oregonian complaining of how the rain and wet streets have ruined thier tires. I have pulled many an unseen for years spare out of damp spare tire wells and had them work for thier intended pupose.. as a temporary fix.

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