RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
This is in response to a report of tread cracking of some traction design tires placed on a custom heavy car hauler trailer. The owner was blaming the 4-year-old tires.
I do note that when there are tire problems, including actual “failure,” it’s common for some to say, “My xxx brand tires failed. I will never buy xxx tires again.”
Well, sorry to tell you but there is no such thing as a “fail-proof” tire. This was even part of the testimony mentioned by a DOT spokesperson during the Ford Explorer rollover fiasco of 2000.
Today’s tires are amazingly robust – even when they are made in Japan or Timbuktu. And we all remember how bad “Made In Japan” was when we were growing up. As I pointed out in the thread, the subject tire, an all season traction design, was not at all appropriate for heavy trailer application. Both the tire type and size were wrong and the tread pattern was wrong.
Why is this the tire’s fault?
If you put a truck tire with a heavy off-road mud traction tread design on the front of your 40-foot DP and had loud noise and vibration and harsh ride, would that be the tire’s fault? Would simply changing tire brands from, say, Bridgestone to Michelin solve the problems if you selected just another heavy off-road mud traction tread design? No, of course not.
From my experiences as a tire engineer, I can tell you that I can probably “fail” any tire in under an hour and under 50 miles if you let me set the conditions.
A tire is just a tool you use to get a job done. If you don’t select the correct tool that is appropriate for the job you want to be done, why is it the fault of the tool manufacturer? Think of the absolute best tool company. Now select one of their flat blade screwdrivers.
OK, now start using it as a chisel and pound on it as you try to cut through some rusty bolts. After cutting through a few bolts would you blame SK or MAC or Snap-On or ???? if the point of the screwdriver is dented and chipped?
Different tires are just tools with different intended usage. Basically I would suggest “Rib” or “All position” designs for the front position, and if you intend on occasional off-highway travel (a gravel road at a campground doesn’t count) then you could select something with a bit more traction capability. But I would consider any “Drive” position as not a great choice for motorhomes or trailers.
Read more from Roger Marble on his blog at RVtiresafety.net.