All too often I read RV forums where people complain about junk tires on their RV. While I do believe that many tires currently applied to RVs do not have enough load capacity for the application, I also believe that most tires would deliver years and thousands of miles of satisfactory performance if they did not suffer from externally caused problems. The challenge is to know the difference between a defect and an external issue. If you don’t know the real reason for a failure, in all probability you will not take the needed corrective action to prevent future problems.

Like a Good Mystery?

Determining the “Root Cause” for a failure is much like a murder mystery except many times there is no weapon found. many of the clues (parts of the tire or valve) have been lost or destroyed and the investigator (RV owner) has no training or experience in proper analysis of failed tires.

Long Hony-1

Lets look at an example of a so called “crap” tire.

Here we see just what the otherwise experienced RV owner saw when looking at his “defective tire” that failed “for no apparent reason” after about 50 miles of travel.

Well the reason for the failure was not apparent to him but that doesn’t mean it isn’t obvious to someone with years of failed tire analysis experience.

As soon as I took a look at the tire condition, I immediately recognized two tell tail pieces of evidence that support my contention that the tire was run low. Here I do not mean 5 or even 15 psi low. I mean that the tire was being driven at Interstate speed with “single digit inflation” (less than 10 psi).

Take a Look at the Evidence.

Here I have identified the areas showing the evidence.

Long Hony-2

The yellow shows the area the tire that was worn when the inner portion of the tire under the  tread ran for a number of miles rubbing the lower inside of the tire and rubbed it smooth. This can only happen if there is a hole in the tire letting all pressure leak out.

The red area shows the signs of melted polyester cord. This means very high heat well over 350°F. You need speed plus lots of flexing to generate this type of heat.

So here we can see how easy it is to have a failure and to think that just because you checked the air when you pulled out of your campsite that morning there would always be enough air in the tire.

TPMS – Prevention is the Best Medicine

The way to prevent this is to have a functioning Tire Pressure Monitor System. This would warn you BEFORE damage was done to the tire and RV. You would then learn if you picked up a nail or had a valve core or seal problem. Lacking that warning the owner is now looking at $1000 in damage or more.

Not knowing that his tire was OK and not “crap” he probably will not think that he could have prevented the problem if he had a TPMS.

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