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Old 11-30-2013, 03:39 PM   #1
Lost in the Woods
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Smile Thoughts on tires

Tires seem to be a big concern with lots of guys talking about previous failures and lessons learned. Having a tire failure is always a pain in the rear and can be downright traumatic at times. Fortunately I've had very little problem with tires over my time but have worked with tires and observed along the way so as to come to some conclusions.

Most of us look at tires made in China with suspicion, in fact I don't even like it that most of the items in the stores come from China. Still, I have to wonder what the % of failure with Chinese tires are compared to those made in America or other countries. With the vast majority of RV tires these days made in China, as evidenced by the difficulty in finding tires made domestically, the odds are that the majority of tire failures in this category would be Chinese tires.

Don't take me wrong, I'm not selling Chinese tires, just trying to make some sense out of the situation.

Our 5er tires are mostly running at max capacity and they are back there on a towed vehicle where we don't feel the first signs of low pressure. And even the best tire can lose air through no particular fault beyond a puncture, failing valve core or stem, or a brush with a curb that drives some debris between the bead and rim. Heat is a real enemy of tires and the quickest way to increase the heat to a failure level is to run a fully loaded tire at highway speeds without adequate air pressure. Also, the further back on the rig a tire is, the more chance it will come in contact with a foreign object thrown up by one of the tires in front of it. Ever notice all that rubber along the road? Most of it came from truck trailer and semi tires for those same reasons.

The Firestone Tire/Ford Explorer recall of a few years back is an example of a perfect storm in that most of the failures were proven to have occurred under hot driving conditions with under inflated tires. Some think that Ford and Firestone caught the flack not because of inferior products but by being caught up in a variety of very public circumstances. My '93 F-150 came with the tires that were recalled but I wore them out without a problem. Wasn't paying attention or I'd have gotten a new set for free.

I'm thinking (wondering) if a tire pressure monitoring system might be a good purchase for us that are worried about our tires. They are supposed to give warning the moment a tire loses a few pounds pressure or attains a certain preset temperature. I can't know for sure but I feel that most catastrophic failures talked about here started with a loss of air that if noticed immediately would have been a flat repair instead of blow-out.

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Old 11-30-2013, 09:07 PM   #2
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The sad thing is I do not think you can even buy a US made ST trailer tire anymore. The consensus seems to be that "Maxxis" are about the best available, but I personally have never had any. My China Good/Year Marathons are now 4+ years old, no problems yet.

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Old 12-01-2013, 06:23 AM   #3
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I bought a TPMS after a tire failure a while ago (and a new set of tires). On our first trip after the install of the TPMS and the new tires, we got an alert from the TPMS. It showed that one tire had lost several pounds of air. I had the time to find a good wide spot to pull over into, and found a bolt had embedded itself in the center of the tread. I changed the tire and later had it repaired. The bolt was a 1 inch long, 1/4 x 20 stainless steel bolt. Without the TPMS, I would have likely destroyed the tire before I became aware of the issue. And we were in such a rural area of Texas that it would have taken a couple of days to get a new tire. Personally, I am a big believer in the importance of a TPMS.
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:08 AM   #4
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I am not a fan of Chinese Tires either but when doing my research for a better / higher "G" Load Range tire for our Pinnacle, there are not a lot of choices out there.
When looking at the different tire bands there were failures with them all.
In the end I went with the Chinese Sailun S637 "G" Rated tires almost 2 years and 20k Miles ago.
In my research I could not find any posts of failures or unhappy owners with the Sailun S637.
It may be because they are not as popular as some of the other brands, but they do have a good track record and a good business model with Quality Certifications / Registrations at their manufacturing facility.
I have not had any issues with our Sailun's, they run cool, they balanced very easily and are wearing great.
The main thing is after weighing our Piinnacle and knowing exactly how much weight is on each wheel and each axle, they gave us the weight margin / safety factor we were looking for.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:19 AM   #5
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I have had extremely good luck with the 16" Michelin XPS tires. They are the only tire on the market that I am aware of that has steel belts not only around the tread but completely encircling the side walls also. This is my third set and I have never had a failure. Most tires with steel belts only have nylon reinforced sidewalls. Nothing however is going to stop a puncture, so a tire pressure monitoring system is always a good option.
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Old 01-15-2014, 02:06 PM   #6
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I did a lot of research on the tire issue when I got my TT - I am newby, but this is a short version of my opinion on a complex subject.

(1) RV manufacturers, Jayco included, build with "just enough" tire and axle capacity.

(2) I never found anywhere in my research where the cause of an accident when towing was too much truck, too much axle capacity, too capable tires, ... On the other hand, saw a lot of evidence that inadequacies caused accidents and were dangerous.

(3) I am not an engineer and naturally risk averse. So I made everything so that it is all around 80% or so of capacity - the TT is around 80% of truck towing capability, axle loads are about 80% of capacity, tires are around 80% of capacity, hitch, safety chains, .....

(4) I use LT rather than ST tires - again, quite a bit more than capable for the load. There are very good quality LT tires available (folks have their favorites - Michelin XPS are famous).

I drove for around four hours this summer when the outside temperature was in the high 80s, sunny. During a break stop I placed my hands on the TT tires. They were cooler than the truck tires, and far cooler than the pavement.

IMHO, this is an area where you want to go overboard. My wife, sons, dogs, etc., are all rolling down the highway with me - everything of any REAL value. Probably not needed 99.9% of the time. But I want to be prepared as I can be for that 0.1% when the feces encounter the rotating air movement device.
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Old 01-16-2014, 09:26 AM   #7
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I get a chuckle every time this comes up. Almost every owner that has had problems always claims "I never speed. My rig is never overloaded" (ST tires are only rated to 65 mph) and yet going down the interstate I am always being passed like I was standing still. The blowout may not happen while you are speeding but it puts stress on the tire and a failure will happen..
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:06 AM   #8
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I agree! Many, perhaps most TT are overloaded, are pulled over 65 mph, that information is clear by simple observation alone. All you need to do to prove this is pull one down the interstate at 65mph and start counting and looking at the rigs with extended bumpers loaded to the gills with stuff and doing 70-75 even 80mph. Nuts!

TT tires should be replaced by build dates and not by miles. Tires degrade through natural outgassing process and UV exposure. This means a chemical change that translates into a degrading/derating of the tire. Older the date = derating of the tire. IOW, as the clock ticks the tires derate naturally.
Forget tread wear and read the dates and SLOW DOWN. 3 years for me and that is with UV covers.
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Old 01-16-2014, 11:57 AM   #9
Lost in the Woods
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What has happened to the way they blend rubber? For most of my life I heard nothing of age being such a big factor in the use of tires. It was always appearance, weather checking, bead damage, etc. Of course it has always been recognized that loads and pressures have adverse effects. Did we just not know?
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Old 01-16-2014, 12:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by 101vet View Post
What has happened to the way they blend rubber? For most of my life I heard nothing of age being such a big factor in the use of tires. It was always appearance, weather checking, bead damage, etc. Of course it has always been recognized that loads and pressures have adverse effects. Did we just not know?
We have always known, (I think), but tires for cars and light trucks are rated well above actual load and they tend to wear out before they fail in some other way.

I do have one suggestion for the RV industry and that is to increase the load ratings for tires based upon use and life of the tires, and stop using nominal conditions to determine the load range requirments. How about using something like 5 miles over speed, 5psi under pressure and 5 years old. Factor those in and see if your "C" or"D" load range still works. The answer is no based upon real life and real conditions.

So, bottom line reason tires fail on RV's
1) They were under range when you got them, that's the nature of the industry. They have a sticker and you got the tires you got based upon that alone. There is no wiggle room.
2) Speed restrictions are never heeded.
3) Under pressure is common, "I checked them last month"
4) They were to old.

These are my opinions.

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