rv spare tire cover

Do We Really Need An RV Spare Tire Cover?

Imagine on an unfortunate day, you have a flat while you’re on the open road for traveling and now it’s time for your spare tire to do its job. But your day can become even worse when you discover that your spare tire can not be used as it has already aged out with cracks although its form still remains with plenty of tread left.

To avoid this such ironic situation, we’ll need to keep them in tip-top conditions and be always ready for an unexpected emergency on the road.   

And the best way to do that is to cover them. Many campers choose to use a spare RV tire cover which not only protects the spare tire from the outdoor elements, but also adds a finished look for the RV. 

When it comes to purchasing a spare tire cover for your RV, there are a broad array of options to choose from on the market. They’re different in designs, sizes and materials. So to make your purchasing decision easier, we have compiled a list of the best spare RV tire covers with our in-depth reviews. 

You’ll also find necessary information about different types, important buying criteria plus answers to frequently asked questions about spare tire covers for campers.

Quick Recommendations

What Is An RV Spare Tire Cover?

RV spare tire covers are inexpensive items with the main purpose of maintaining the longevity of the spare tires when they’re not in use. 

It can be either a soft vinyl cover or a hard shell cover which will protect the spare tire of a camper from dusk, UV rays, acid rain, chemicals, and other outdoor elements. This makes sure you’ll have a good working spare tire when you need to use it whenever you have a flat tire on the road. 

Since space is precious in RVs, spare tires are always mounted on the back of motorhomes or travel trailers. That makes them be directly exposed to the outdoor elements. If we leave them uncovered all the time, they are going to age out quickly with the sign of cracks on the tire surface.

Another interesting fact is that compared with the tires on the ground, spare RV tires have a tendency to age out and deteriorate sooner despite being without usage. This is because the rubber compounds of tires contain anti-aging chemicals in their recipes.

When the tires are doing exercise making the rubber compound stretch repeatedly, these chemicals will be distributed evenly around the tires. And this will help deter cracks from forming in the surface of the tires. With spare tires which are not working, the rubber’s flexibility will be reduced over time.

And the RV spare tire cover will help to stop that damaging process from happening so quickly. As a result, it will save you from an unnecessarily costly investment on the spare tire replacement for your camper. Big rig tires can generally cost up to a few hundred dollars each. But even on smaller rigs, there is no reason to leave your spare tires to be replaced sooner than necessary. 

Why Do We Need Spare RV Tire Covers?

RV spare tire covers are often overlooked or underestimated but in fact, this useful accessory has offered many benefits. Here are the 6 reasons why you need a spare tire cover for your camper.

Protection From The Sun

The sun’s UV rays are – no doubt – the biggest enemy to your spare tires. 

UV radiation or Ultraviolet radiation is a form of non-ionizing radiation that is emitted by the sun. Although you can’t see or feel the rays of UV radiation, repeated UV exposure from sunlight can make anything worn out regardless of how well they’re made. And spare tires are not the exception. 

If we leave the spare tires unprotected from the sun, the UV rays in sunlight over time can degrade the rubber compounds. You may see a lot of cracks forming in the sidewall or surface of the tire, that’s the result of continuous sunlight exposure. These cracks will eventually lead to slow leaks and tire failure in spite of there being lots of tread left. Your spare tires will not be safe to use when you need them.

To avoid this from happening, the only way is to keep your tires covered and stay away from sunlight. The less sunlight they’re exposed to and the longer we can expect them to last. RV spare tire covers, therefore, will be a useful tool to minimize the sun damage, keeping them in good condition for a long period of time.

Besides from using tire covers, whenever you reach your camping destinations, consider to park your RV wisely in the shadows to avoid your RV in general and your spare tires in particular sitting out in the sun the whole time.

Protection From Outdoor Elements

Another major degradation factor of your spare tire is the environmental elements. In general, the more you can avoid exposing your tires to outdoor elements, the longer your spare tire can last.

If you’re a full-time RV camper who often travels year around in different places, your spare tire will be confronted with varying weather conditions: hot, cold, snow, rain…. 

Although most of the tires are now made of weather resistant materials and recipes, leaving them outdoors in harsh conditions for extended periods of time will definitely speed up the tire aging out process. 

As the spare tires are staying still for a long time and will only be used shortly when needed, the chemicals used in these tires to preserve its flexibility can not work effectively like in running tires. With the extra negative impact from the environment and weather, the RV spare tires being degraded earlier than expected is inevitable. 

As a result, by keeping the tires away from the outdoor elements, a solid durable and waterproof cover is essential to maintain the quality of your camper spare tires, giving you peace of mind while traveling on the road.

unprotected camper spare tire

Protection From Road Debris/Chemicals

Spare tires are generally mounted either on the back or underneath your RV. But wherever the spare tires are secured on the outside of your RV, they will be likely exposed to road debris especially when your camper is moving through rough off-road terrains for camping trips. 

It’s unavoidable that there will be many small rocks, dirt, grime, and other debris flying around on your driving roads. These can be the factors which lead to the immediate damage for not only the spare tire but also the wheel. 

Moreover, without a cover, the salt, chemicals or dirty liquids from the roads can be stored on your RV spare tires. If we leave it there for a long time, these substances will gradually harm your tires in a bad way and degrade the spare tire’s quality. 

A cover sealed around the spare tires will provide a protection necessary against all this nastiness and give you a clean and ready-to-use tire when you need it most. 

Theft Prevention

As we already know, tires are expensive. Unlike the RV tires on the grounds which are fixed securely with the campers, your spare tire can be taken out with ease, making it become the favorite target of thieves. It doesn’t take much time for someone to remove it from your camper if they really want to steal it.

Some hard tire covers on the market come equipped with locking latches, whereas soft covers also sometimes have optional lock kits. This feature will help to protect your spare tires from prying hands.

Although putting a cover on your RV spare tire is not an ultimate way to deter theft, they will at least slow a thief down enough for our detection or create some difficulty to possibly make them move on to an easier target, the spare tires without covers of the next campers for instance!

Aesthetics

Not only being useful, a spare tire cover for your RV can also be a great aesthetic. Many RV owners would like to make their beloved campers more outstanding and eye-catching. 

Besides putting decals or stickers on the RV wall, you can give your camper a new look by using a cool or colorful spare tire cover. You can consider a spare tire cover with either an artwork or a clever or inspirational saying about camping or nature which most camping enthusiasts prefer. This is a really creative way for you to make a statement with your vehicles.

Even a plain spare tire cover with a solid color can help make your RV stand out.

Marketing Tool

A spare tire cover can also be used as a marketing tool. If you have a business logo or website address printed on the cover, it’s a great way to promote your brand while you’re on the road. 

With a tire cover striking enough on the back of your motorhome, it’ll attract the attention of many drivers or passersby. That way, you can build your brand awareness efficiently for free while still enjoying the road trips. 

How To Measure RV Spare Tire Cover?

Like normal RV tire covers, spare tire covers available on the market also come with a variety of size options. In order to find a cover which is a right fit for your RV spare tire, you need to know the accurate measurement of your spare tire’s diameter in inches.  

There are several ways to get this parameter of your spare tire. The easiest way to find your full tire’s diameter is to directly measure from tread to tread by tape measuring, across the center point of the wheel. Please make sure you measure the diameter of the tire ( the outside diameter) not of the rim. 

More accurately, you can also use the following calculation formula to calculate the diameter of your spare tire using the specifications marked on the tire’s sidewall. You can easily find those data on your spare tire, something like 285/80R18. 

D = (W x P x 2) / 2540 + R

  • Unit: Inch
  • D is the diameter of the tire in inches. We can see that the tire’s diameter is equal to the sum of the wheel diameter and 2 times of the sidewall height.
  • W is the tire width in millimeters. To change this number to inches, we need to divide it by 25.4 because 1 inch is equivalent to 25.4 mm. 
  • P is the percentage of the sidewall height relative to the width of the tire. This figure will be used to determine the tire sidewall height from the provided measurement of tire width. The sidewall height = W x P/100. 
  • R is the wheel diameter. Some may confuse this figure with the tire diameter, but in fact, they’re different.

Let’s go back to the previous example: the specifications marked on your spare tire is 285/80R18. Now we can try to calculate the tire’s diameter using the above formula.

D = 285*80*2/2540 + 18 = ~ 36 Inches

Once you have the measurement of tire’s diameter, you can start your search for a cover that matches that number.

If you do not have time for this task, you can basically check the marked specifications on the back edge of the tire, then contact the shops for the tire cover size suggestions. With your provided figures, they’ll refer to the manufacturer’s size guide and recommend you the right cover size.

What Type of RV Spare Tire Cover Should You Use?

Basically, there are two main types of covers for RV spare tires, including hard shell cover and soft vinyl cover. 

Hard Covers

A hard cover is generally constructed of sturdy rigid materials which are unbendable such as stainless steel or molded plastic. You can also find a shell cover made from a combination of vinyl and plastic. 

Regarding structure, these covers usually consist of two main component parts that work together to provide the maximum amount of protection against the elements as well as the thieves for your RV spare tire. The hard part which we usually see in the front is a face plate. The second part is a band or a ring wrapping around the tire. These 2 components are locked together using a latch or clasp. 

Though hard covers are usually expensive and heavy, they always come with a high level of finishing, which will definitely give your RV a sleek look from behind. Along with the provided security, these covers are totally worth the money and become a great choice for those campers who love the glossiness. 

Soft Covers

Soft covers, on the other hand, are usually made of soft yet heavy-duty vinyl or fabric which are resistant to UV rays and extreme weather conditions. 

As they’re soft, these covers can be easily wrapped around the spare tire from the front. They typically make use of an elastic cord or rope to cinch the cover down tight in the back of the tire. On the fancier side, you can also choose a top-of-the-line model which comes equipped with an optional cable lock and an interior felt pad to provide extra security and durability. 

Not only being much affordable than the hard shell counterparts, soft covers are also available in a broad range of colors and designs to match your rig’s look better. This makes them a favorite choice among RV campers. 

On the down side, they are less durable and will fade faster in comparison to the hard ones. You normally need to change the soft spare tire for your RV every 2 years.

Hard coversSoft covers
Pros+ Last longer
+ Resistant to the mold and mildew
+ Usually include a locking system making it a more secure option to protect spare tires.
+ Affordable
+ Lightweight
+ Available in a large assortment of designs
Cons– Expensive
– Heavy 
– Not compatible with all RV models
– Less durable
– Provide a lower level of security

What Are The Best Spare Tire Covers?

1. Best Overall: Classic Accessories Over Drive Cover

Classic Accessories Over Drive RV Universal Fit Spare Tire Cover

At a glance:

  • Color: Black
  • Material: Fabric
  • Vehicle Service Type: Van, RV, Truck
  • Tire Diameter: 26-28 Inches
  • 3-year Limited Warranty

Why we love it:

This Over Drive from Classic Accessories is definitely one of the best RV spare tire covers for 4-season camping. Made of sturdy vinyl fabric which is waterproof and UV-resistant, this cover will do a great job to protect both the spare tires and wheels from sunlight and all kinds of weather conditions. 

This rugged material makes the cover always have a glossy look. It’s also easy to clean, so you won’t not have to worry about the dirt and rust while traveling. With a 3-year limited warranty, you’ll receive peace of mind using this product. 

This is a really nice product. I have purchased numerous tire covers in the past, the fit was not always perfect and the elastic would stretch out after a year thus causing them to fly off on the highway. This cover was half the price of my previous purchases yet the quality was superior. An exact fit for a 225/75R-15 Trailer tire and the elastic comes around the whole tire and has hooks which join each other for a tailored fit. I think I’m going to purchase another two covers to save for when this one gets dirty and worn.

Shared by Franko

2. Editor’s Choice: Camco 53293 Vinyl Cover

Camco 53292 Life is Better at Campsite Vinyl Cover

At a glance:

  • Material: Vinyl
  • Vehicle Service Type: RV
  • Tire Diameter: 29 Inches

Why we love it:

Camco is a household name in the RV industry which manufactures a wide range of camping gears and RV accessories. They are not only known for their high quality products but also excellent customer service. This will bring you peace of mind when buying an RV accessory from this brand. This also explained why the Camco 53293 Vinyl is one of the best selling RV spare tire covers on Amazon and received thousands of positive reviews (4.7 out of 5). This cover is my personal favorite!

This cover is ideal for small camper spare tires which have a 27-29 inch diameter. Made of strong vinyl, it will resist well against outdoor elements like rain, dirt, snow…  and sun’s UV rays, keeping your spare tires clean and having a longer service life .This Camco 53293 Vinyl cover also features the elastic back hem which makes the installation process quite effortless. 

Another interesting thing about this cover which appeals to many RV campers is the fading-resistant printed RV camping design. The vibrant words “Life is Better at Campsite” will look real nice on the back of your RV, making this protective cover a great addition to your travel trailers.

Just unboxed this today and popped it on the spare tire. It was very easy to put on. The couple wrinkles you see are only because I didn’t have time to fully smooth it out but with a few more minutes it would have been properly adjusted. I have confidence that this will last a long time. 

Shared by K Zander

3. Best Value: Moonet PVC Cover

Moonet PVC Leather Spare Tire Wheel Cover

At a glance:

  • Color: Black
  • Material: PU Leather & Canvas (send at random)
  • Vehicle Service Type: Universal
  • Tire Diameter 27-30 Inches

Why we love it:

This basic leather cover comes with an unbeatable price of only around $15, delivering the best value for money. 

The strong materials and excellent workmanship allows the cover to last longer and hold up well to constant exposure to sunlight, snow, rain, mud and temperature swings. It has a nice round elastic cord that perfectly secures the cover in place and makes it stretch tightly over the spare. The inside of the cover also features a soft and non-scratch flannel-like coating, it’ll provide you with the protection you need for your expensive spare tire.

At the same time, the outside of this cover has a leather like finish giving it a very nice glossy look. This material is also washable, so the cover is quite easy to clean and maintain.

I have bought this over a year ago and have had no problems with it. I measured out before hand and this had a very snug fit. One cold snowy winter, two blazing dry hot summers, in town and hi-way travel, and there are no rips or tears. I have this on the back of my jeep, so it is always outside, and not inside or trailered. There is minimal, if any, fading; mostly just the dust.

Shared by Joseph

4. Best Waterproof Cover: CAREMO Waterproof Vinyl Tire Cover

CAREMO Waterproof Vinyl RV Wheel & Tire Cover

At a glance:

  • Vehicle Service Type: Universal for all vehicles
  • Tire Diameter: 30-33 Inches
  • 3 Year Warranty

Why we love it:

If you’re looking for a basic but durable cover for your spare wheel, this CAREMO cover is an excellent choice. The cover can withstand the harmful UV rays from the sun and guard the tires against the road dirt and grime. Moreover, this product is praised for its resistance against water when made of the heavy duty waterproof vinyl. The cover also consists of a non-scratch backing to provide an extra layer of protection for the camper spare tires. 

In terms of installation, the cover form CAREMO is easy to put on and off the spare tires. It features an elastic rope at the back to hold it on and ensure a perfect fit. After the installation, it will take a few days for the wrinkles to stretch out. 

It’s great. This fits and keeps the Phx sun from damaging my spare! I was worry about the tiny box it came in. I unfolded and laid it flat for a few hours to get the wrinkles out. Easy to put on. It took a few days after putting it on for the wrinkles to stretch out. It arrived in July in Phoenix, AZ- 100+ temps so cooler temps may take longer to release the wrinkles. It came off easy to wash FJ Cruiser after a few days backwoods camping/lots of dust and dirt on it. It stayed on for an interstate trip, 80+mph of a few hundred miles. My tire 30” and I bought the cover that “Fits 30 to 33″ Tire Diameters.”

Shared by jen

5. Best Camping-Inspired Cover: I Go Where I’m Towed American Flag

I Go Where I’m Towed American Flag Tire Cover

At a glance:

  • Vehicle Service Type: RV, Car, Jeep, SUV, Truck, Trailer
  • Material: Polyester fiber
  • Tire Diameter: 27-29 Inches

Why we love it:

If you are looking for not only a protector for your spare tire but also for some style to add for your camper, then this camping-inspired cover is an ideal choice. 

The cute design and nice colors will greatly improve the appearance of your camper from the back. The saying “I Go Where I’m Towed” will also make your vehicle more adorable. 

Not only RVs and trailers, this ABSOP cover will be also suitable for many different cars, and trucks. The spare tire cover is designed to resist all the environmental elements with durable polyester fiber and soft backing interior. 

Another plus is that we can easily adjust the cover to fit with several different tire sizes using the nylon rope and buckle. This also allows us to take this cover on and off the tire with ease. 

This tire cover was easy to install and appears to be of good quality. We will have to see how it holds up after being in the sun for the summer months. The saying makes me chuckle and the colors are nice. As long as it protects my spare from the elements I am happy. The added cuteness is a bonus.

Shared by elizabear60

RV Spare Tire Covers: Buying Considerations 

When it comes to choosing RV spare tire covers, there are some critical considerations you’ll want to keep in mind. 

Cover Type

When looking for a cover for your RV spare tire, you have a choice between a hard or soft cover. 

The hard covers are more expensive, but likely to provide a higher amount of security and have a longer service life. 

At the same time, the soft vinyl covers are more affordable and available in a broad array of designs. However, in terms of security, these covers may not protect your spare tire well and are not durable like the hard ones.

Tire Size

Another important factor to take into consideration is the size of your spare tire. Regardless of the cover type you use – soft or hard – you’ll need to find a right sized cover that fits properly onto your spare tire. 

In order to do that, all you need to do is find out what your tire diameter is in inches. The easiest way to measure the tire diameter is to use measuring tape. You can also calculate the exact diameter of your spare tire using the marked information on the tire sidewall, something like 255/80R18.  

This measurement is the key to help you determine the spare tire cover size you need. It is also recommended to opt for a cover 1-2 inches larger to accommodate tire sizes. 

Material

To protect the spare tires, covers are usually made of durable materials which can withstand UV rays and environmental elements. While you can find expensive covers constructed from hard materials such as stainless steel and molded plastic, most of the covers on the market are available in a soft type like vinyl, fabric, cloth or leather.

  • Most hard covers these days are typically made of rigid ABS plastic with a flexible vinyl band. These tire covers will last for years, but they will also be more pricey to acquire.
  • Vinyl is the most popular material for spare tire covers. It is durable and weather-resistant, making it ideal for use in all climates. However, vinyl can crack and fade over time.
  • Cloth spare tire covers are less common than vinyl ones, but they offer a unique look. Cloth is breathable, so it helps to keep your spare tire from overheating. However, cloth is not as durable as vinyl and may not hold up as well in extreme weather conditions.
  • Leather spare tire covers are the most expensive option, but they offer a luxurious look and feel. Leather is also very durable, making it a good choice for those who want a cover that will last for many years.

Design & Color

Through the color and design, spare tire covers can be a great way to add some style and personality to your vehicle. These two factors play an important role in improving the overall look of spare tire covers in particular and your RV in general. 

Campers tend to choose tire cover colors based on either the aesthetics or the ability to block UV rays. 

If you prioritize the good looking appearance, you’ll definitely choose a color that matches the exterior color of your rig well. Some will like their RV having a seamless look with a spare tire cover of the same color, while the others prefer some contrast on the camper’s back. 

In terms of competence for blocking UV rays, the darker the cover is, the better. That’s why black is always one of the most popular colors used for camper spare tire covers. 

Additionally, if a cover with a solid color is not enough for your taste in arts, you can look for ones with printed artworks or inspirational fun messages. Nature-inspired artworks are the popular choice for those who want to add a touch of the outdoors to their vehicle, while some of the most common messages can be found on spare tire covers are “I Go Where I’m Towed” or “Home is Where You Park It

You can even personalize your RV spare tire covers by adding your own favorite words, flags or logos. Many tire cover manufacturers are now supporting the buyers doing this personal customization.

spare tire covers for RV
Many prefer a spare tire cover with the same color to the camper’s exterior. Photo: franckreporter / Getty Images

Security & Installation

Spare tire covers are generally designed for easy installment and removal without tools but still need to provide a necessary amount of security to prevent theft. 

With soft covers, the installation process is straightforward. You just need to put on the cover by locating the right cover direction then wrapping the cover from the bottom to the top. When the cover is completely on, now you just need to check and adjust the cover positioning perfectly then tighten the elastic cord in the back. It’s recommended to buy a security cable and lock to secure the spare tire cover tightly in place. 

On the other hand, if you choose a hard shell cover, it will take you more effort and time to install the cover into the RV. But once the cover is mounted securely in the back of the RV, the rest is quite simple. You just need to put the faceplate and the ring in place and lock them together with the equipped latch. Due to this operation, the hard shell cover will offer more protection and security to your spare tire.

RV Spare Tire Covers: FAQs

1. Are RV spare tire covers worth it?

The answer is obviously YES. They’re an inexpensive way to protect your investment and give you peace of mind driving your RV on the road.

A spare tire on your RV is easily overlooked and forgotten about until you need them. But flats happen, and when they do, it’s important to have a spare tire that’s in good condition. That’s where RV spare tire covers come in. 

RV spare tire covers are designed to protect your spare tire from the sunlight and outdoor elements. This will help to maintain the spare tires in tip top condition and keep them  from cracking or fading when it’s not in use.

2. What are spare tire covers made of?

Spare tire covers are made from a variety of materials, either rigid materials like stainless steel, hard plastic or soft ones including vinyl, cloth, and leather. Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks. 

Hard covers made of stainless steel and hard plastic are costly but they offer a luxurious look and feel. These tire covers will be more durable, making it a good choice for those who want a cover that will last for many years. 

The more common option is the soft tire cover which is often made of vinyl and polyester. These are less expensive, but might need replacing more often as they dry out and deteriorate from sustained exposure.

3. What is the best color for RV tire covers?

If your concern is aesthetics above all else, then it can be a good choice to go with a color that matches your rig well. It can be the same color with your camper or a color that creates an interesting contrast with the RV’s exterior color. 

But regarding the efficiency for absorbing harmful UV rays, the spare tire cover with darker colors will be a superior option. This means when covered by a dark color cover, the UV rays are less likely to reach your spare tires.

4. How much do RV tire covers cost?

The soft covers made of waterproof and UV-resistant vinyl are widely used by RV campers to protect their RV spare tires. It’s popular for being affordable, costing only $20. You might go fancier with hard models made of stainless steel and hard plastic costing from $250 to $500, in case you prioritize the look and security. 

5. How long does an RV spare tire cover last?

Made of long lasting materials, hard shell covers tend to last for around 5 years or more, while soft tire covers have a shorter lifespan of one year or two.

Final Words

A spare tire cover is an often overlooked accessory for RVs. Many people see them as unnecessary, but in fact they can actually be quite helpful.  

These covers  protect your spare tire from the UV rays in sunlight and outdoor elements. They also help keep your RV spare tire clean by preventing dirt and debris from accumulating. As a result, our camper  spare tires will be maintained in a good condition to prepare for unexpected flats on the road.  Moreover, a good looking tire cover can add a touch of style to your RV, making it look more polished and put-together. 

Overall, spare tire covers are relatively inexpensive and offer a number of benefits. If you’re looking for ways to either protect your investment or just improve the appearance of your RV, investing in a spare tire cover will definitely be worth the money.

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