RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
I recently read this on an RV Forum thread:
“Isn’t it weird how it always seems to be the inner tire that goes bad or blows? Seemed to always be my experience (bad luck) when I was driving semi’s for a living.”
While I have never seen a documented study, I can certainly believe this observation can be made by many. There is science behind the “why” this may be true.
For those that have reviewed the post on Tire Covers that explains the effect of temperature on tires, you have learned that it is the higher temperature that accelerates the tire “aging” process. If you look at the temperature readings on sets of dual tires you will see that when the tires are inflated to equivalent pressures, the temperature of the inner dual on motorhomes will usually show as a bit hotter. The difference isn’t a lot but the effects of that difference I believe are cumulative.
It is also true that older tires are more likely to fail due to the degradation of the rubber flexibility and strength.
Please do not take this observation and assume you need to start adjusting the inflation in your duals to run more air in the inner tire. Doing this could end up resulting in a shift in loading between the pair of tires to place more load on the inner tire, and we know that increased load results in increased operating temperature.
Tire operating temperature develops from complex actions of flexing of the belts and of the lower sidewall, which are the two hottest locations on a tire. You might be able to lower the temperature in one location while increasing the temperature in a different part of the tire.
The best practice I can suggest is that you:
1. Confirm the tires in each pair of duals are a “matched set.” (See this post.)
2. Ensure you know the actual load on each set of duals, not just the total axle load.
3. Use the Load and Inflation tables to learn the MINIMUM Cold Inflation Pressure (CIP) for the heavier loaded axle end.
4. Add a 10% inflation to that minimum number to establish your CIP.
5. Inflate all tires on the axle to the same CIP. (Matching the inflation within +/- a couple psi is good enough.)
6. Run a TPMS to monitor your pressure whenever driving.
Read more from Roger Marble on his blog at RVtiresafety.net.