What Is a Tag Axle RV?
Did you know that federal law prohibits you from carrying over 20,000 pounds on one axle? However, you might have heard of a tag axle RV with an extra axle in the rear.
That might seem unnecessary, but in larger RVs, you can reach your weight maximum in a hurry. The weight of the rig plus all of your gear inside of it adds up.
Now, most RVs only have standard rear axles because they’re less than 20,000 pounds. So we decided to learn more about this axle and why some RVs have them.
Let’s dive in!
What Is a Tag Axle RV?
A tag axle RV is an RV that has a third axle. This third axle is placed behind the drive axle to make heavier RVs more stable. They don’t affect the driving but provide more stability in the rear of the chassis. Frequently these are placed on RVs over 40 feet in length.
The first tag axles were put on semi-trucks and could be raised when not needed. A tag axle on an RV cannot be raised and always touches the ground.
What Are the Benefits?
The two main benefits are the heavier load capacity and supplemental brake system. The addition of a tag axle means the capability of carrying 10,000 to 20,000 pounds more stuff. For an RV like a 45-foot toy hauler, that means being able to haul a couple of ATVs safely.
When carrying a heavier load, it’s also important for the ride to remain smooth. A third axle provides more shock resistance while bearing more gear.
The second benefit is the independent braking system. It allows you to handle stops more efficiently because there is less overhang in the rear of the RV. A tag axle RV is much easier to operate on the road. All of this leads to a longer lifespan for the RV.
What Are the Disadvantages?
Having a tag axle RV means more maintenance. When you perform your routine maintenance checks, there is another axle you need to examine. You also have to repack the bearings on each axle every year. This isn’t necessarily costly if you do it yourself, but it is time-consuming. Adding another axle makes the job twice as long.
A tag axle RV also means two additional tires. Unlike semi-trucks that can lift the extra axle when not needed, you can’t raise the axles on an RV. So they will receive the same wear and tear as the other tires on your RV. When it’s time to replace tires, you’ll be replacing more.
When Would You Use a Tag Axle?
If you need to add extra weight to your RV, you should consider adding a tag axle. Primarily, this would be for RVers who have toy haulers, longer fifth wheels, and longer motorhomes. Since Class A motorhome users want extra features and amenities, sometimes manufacturers go ahead and add the third axle.
This means they don’t have to skimp on any luxuries inside the RV. Toy haulers tend to have the extra axle because of their longer length and added weight in the rear for gear such as ATVs, motorcycles, golf carts, etc.
How Does a Tag Axle Work on an RV?
A tag axle is a dead axle. It does nothing except provide more stability for additional weight. It doesn’t help steer or drive the RV.
Although it doesn’t have any steering capabilities, it will affect the drive. You’ll experience a smoother ride because it provides added strength in the rear of the RV as well as added shock-resistance when bouncing up and down along the interstate.
What’s the Difference Between a Pusher Axle and a Tag Axle?
A pusher axle is different from a tag in its location. A tag goes in the back behind the rear axle. However, a pusher axle goes in front of the drive axle. Because the pusher axle is in front of the drive axle, there will be a dip in the design to allow the drive train to reach the drive axle.
Neither axle affects the driving capabilities, though, because both are dead axles. They don’t steer the RV.
How Much Weight Can You Put on a Tag Axle?
The size of the tag axle determines the weight allowed. A five-inch diameter axle can hold up to 10,000 pounds. An axle on a semi-truck can hold up to 40,000 pounds.
Most tag axles on RVs can handle anywhere from 10,000-20,000 pounds. But again, the size of the axle will determine the exact weight. There’s a big difference between 10,000 pounds and 20,0000 pounds.
Is a Tag Axle RV Worth It?
If your rig is close to 20,000 pounds, it’s worth considering adding a tag axle. If you’re looking to haul heavy toys when you go camping, you may want to buy a tag axle RV for the added security.
You always want to travel down the road safely. You also want to take care of a very expensive RV and make it last as long as possible. So have you looked at a tag axle RV? Do you think it’s worth it?
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Just to correct your article. I have an American Coach American Revolution 2017 model with a tag axel. Mine has a steerable tag axel. It only steers in forward gear and under 20 MPH. It decreases the turning radius exponentially. I can make a complete U-Turn in an amazingly small area….so tag axels are steerable….also they do not completely lift off the ground but you are able to “dump the air” in the tag and it glides over the road and has no down pressure to take additional weight…Thanks Reggie