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Media/Articles/FAQ Section

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What size tires do I need for my Vans RV?

  • RV-3, RV-4, RV-6, RV-7, RV-9

    • Main tire - 500-5

  • RV-6A, RV-7A, RV-8A, RV-9A

    • Main Tire - 500-5 6 Ply
    • Nosewheel tire - 11/400-5 8 Ply

  • RV-10

    • Main Tire - 15/600-6 6 Ply
    • Nose Tire - 500-5 6 Ply

  • RV-12

    • 500-5 4 Ply all around

Do I need a 4 or 6 ply?

  • This depends on the weight of your aircraft. A 500-4 Ply has a load rating of 800lbs, and a 6 ply has a rating of 1285lbs. If your aircraft is 1,000lbs empty, and the 1600 gross (full weight with PAX and Fuel) then the 4PR would be cutting it close as the tailwheel or nose wheel rating is the buffer for the weight rating.
  • If you don't know the weight of your aircraft, we recommend the following:

    • RV-3 & RV-12 would use a 4PR rating
    • RV-4, RV-6/6A, RV-7/7A, RV-8/8A, RV-9/9A, and RV-10 would use a 6 ply rating

Which Tubes do you recommend?

  • We recommend the Aero Classic Leakguard Tube, it uses the same butyl rubber compounds as the Michelin Airstop. All butyl tubes do not have the open porosity structure that natural rubber has, and this accounts for less seepage of air from the tube. Not only do the Leakguard tubes work as well if not better than the other brands out there, we sell them for substantially less money than all the other brands on the market.
  • Read this thread, hear it from VansAirforce Members and customers themselves - desser tubes thread

Are your retreads as good as brand new tires from the bigger brand names?

  • When a customer purchases our retreads and uses them on their personal aircraft, they never buy new tires again! Don't believe us? See for yourself! Below are links to the VansAirforce.net web site with nothing but good reviews from the customers/members themselves.

Do your retreads wear better on the sides?

  • The RV series has inherent camber built into the landing gear, so the sides are known to wear down before the tread center. Our retreads use a harder rubber durometer and longer wearing fillers, it will take longer to wear these down, but they will eventually wear down, and then you will just have to "flip" them as you do on the the new tires that you have purchased in the past. Remember that all tire manufacturers recommend replacement of the tire "when any rib is worn to the base of the groove", so it is important to "flip" the tire before this time.

Are retreads harder to mount on the wheel?

  • No, you would mount them just as you would with new tires. There is no difference with our retreads.

What tire pressures do you recommend?

We cannot recommend any tire pressures for the RV series, you need to refer to the recommended air pressure from Van's for correct operating pressure for your aircraft. Also, verify if that number is unloaded or loaded pressure specified by Van's. When the tire is under load, ie., inflated and on the aircraft, the gas chamber volume is reduced due to tire deflection. This means, if UNLOADED pressure is specified, that number should be increased by 4% to obtain the equivalent loaded inflation pressure. As an example, if 30psi unloaded is specified, then the pressure when the tire is mounted on the aircraft should be 31.2psi. All tire pressures should be checked when the tire is cold.

Remember that keeping your aircraft tires at their correct inflation pressure is the most important factor in your preventive maintenance program. Problems caused by underinflation can be particularly severe, as uneven wear and shortened tire life can be expected because of excessive flex heating. Overinflation can cause uneven tread wear, reduces traction, and will make the tread more susceptible to cutting and increase stress on aircraft wheels. With available, use dry nitrogen for tire inflation. Regular air is 78% nitrogen, and 21% oxygen, CO2, water vapor and other gases compose the balance. Pure nitrogen is less likely to migrate through your tube/tire than oxygen, which means your tire pressures will remain more stable over a longer term. It also exhibits less pressure change with temperature swings, which means more consistent pressure as your tires heat up. Since nitrogen is dry, there is no water vapor present which means it is more of a corrosion preventative for your aluminum, magnesium or steel wheel.


The Tire & Rim Association has published general operating pressures for an Unloaded tires in varying sizes and plies. For the RV series tires, these are:  

  • 500-5 4 Ply - 31lbs psi
  • 500-5 6 Ply - 50lbs psi
  • 15/600-6 6 Ply - 68lbs psi
  • 11/400-5 8 Ply - 70lbs psi