Jack Dreyer | Monday 22nd January 2024 10:00am
Since the pandemic, staycations have become increasingly popular — as have caravan holidays. As a result, more and more people are experimenting with ways to run their caravans for less, leading to an influx of drivers using their car tyres as an alternative.
But is this safe?
While there is no straightforward answer, this blog will explore the implications of putting car tyres on a caravan as well as provide some tips about the different types of tyres. So, if you’re planning a caravan trip anytime soon, read this article to stay informed.
Generally speaking, you could use high-quality car tyres on a caravan to tow it — but that doesn’t mean you should.
When you buy a caravan new, the tyres it comes with will be specific to the vehicle itself. Although they may be roughly the same size as normal car tyres, it is often the case that the sidewall is reinforced and made stronger to handle the extra weight.
What’s more, since caravans are often stationary for long periods of time, the tyres they come fitted with will reflect this specification in their design too – being stronger and maybe having different grip patterns. When stationary, the tyres of a caravan take a lot of weight in concentrated specific areas, meaning the sidewalls need to be strengthened to prevent a blowout or a rupture.
While sitting stationary for months or even years, caravan tyres are more susceptible to weathering from the elements and rubber corrosion. Would you want to put high-quality car tyres on a caravan just to see them erode over time?
What to consider when changing your caravan tyres
There are a number of reasons why choosing caravan tyres over car tyres for your caravan is incredibly important, for the safety of yourself and other road users. Let’s take a look at the main factors to consider when changing your caravan tyres.
One of the most common reasons why drivers think it’s ok to use caravan and car tyres interchangeably is the axle type.
Many caravans have a twin axle like cars. This is often used as an excuse for drivers to put regular car tyres on caravans, since the load is spread more evenly. Some caravans, on the other hand, only have a single axle and require two tyres which, when considering the heavy weight of the caravan, is too much load to bear for car tyres used to sharing the load among four.
When choosing the right tyre for your caravan, you’ll need to factor in the weight limit. It’s all well and good fitting tyres when your caravan is empty, but imagine the weight difference between it being bought new and the first day of a two-week-long summer holiday with your entire family on board — then it becomes an entirely different story.
You can find the weight limit in your caravan’s documentation. Once located, divide the weight between four (or two) and you have the maximum weight that each tyre can carry. On the sidewall of each tyre should be the maximum weight limit it is capable of carrying, so if you’re beneath that — you’re golden.
Another factor that comes into play when choosing caravan tyres is their width. Make sure you follow the guidance from your caravan manufacturer to ensure you don’t choose tyres that are too wide for the wheel housing, or not wide enough to support the weight.
Do caravan tyres cost more?
You may be concerned about the costs of changing your caravan tyres, particularly during the current cost of living crisis. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that caravan tyres would cost more than car tyres, and there is some truth in this. However, the costs are maybe not as drastic as you might think.
Depending on the brand and size, caravan tyre prices can start from £40, while car tyres normally retail for between £30 - £100. Caravan tyres usually need changing every 6 years, while car tyres should be changed every 3-10 years depending on different factors.
Stick to the right tyres
So, if you’re planning to use your car tyres on your caravan, we would recommend otherwise - unless in emergency situations when you’ve deciphered the compatibility of your tyres. Usually, though, the weight, width, and sidewall strength are simply not designed for caravan use. Something more similar to van tyres, however, could be more appropriate.
If you are looking for high-quality tyres for your car, instead of your caravan, Kwik Fit has you covered. Shop our online range of tyres today or, for any questions about your tyres and their specifications, get in touch with the experts at your local Kwik Fit centre. Stay safe out there!
Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.
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