RV Tire Safety – “China bomb” tires and McDonald’s fries? What?


By Roger Marble

I continue to see people talking about “China bomb” tires. As an engineer, this makes me a bit sad that so many people appear to have such a poor understanding of the difference between “causation” and “correlation.”

It is true that a majority of the tires on RV trailers that fail were made in Asia, and for many folks that means “China.”

But I would ask: If 90+% of the tires applied to RV trailers were made in “China,” why are you apparently surprised to learn that 90+% of the tires that fail in RV trailer use were made in “China”?

In an effort to make the difference between “causation” and “correlation” a bit easier to understand I have sometimes offered the following example.

If you check with people in prison you will probably find that 90+% have eaten McDonald’s fries. Therefore, it could be concluded that eating those fries can be considered something like a “gateway drug” to breaking the law and ending up in prison. I think we can see that that conclusion is not sound or reasonable, but clearly the numbers are similar to what we see in the RV community.

Yes, tires on RV trailers have a shorter life than in other applications, but the major reasons for the higher rate is clearly a combination of factors. Those factors include the documented very high percentage of RV trailers with tires in overload/under-inflation condition, as well as the clearly identified impact on belt separations due to Interply Shear due to the suspension design of multi-axle RV trailers.


Read more from Roger Marble on his blog at RVtiresafety.net.



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Interesting discussion and I am sure you are getting tons of opinions like mine. What I will say is we have all seen rv’s driving with under-inflated tires or driving too fast. I believe this is a major factor in blowouts but we have no way of correlating this into the discussion. The mfg of the tire may or may not have contributed. However, I changes the tires on my 5th wheel to Sailun’s. The strength of the side-walls compared to the original “china bombs” is substantial. I drive at a reasonable speed, keep them correctly inflated, but I still like the idea of a stronger tire to load safety in my favor. I am not pushing a certain brand, but based on my research, I chose the brand I did.

Thomas Starling

Using compressed nitrogen instead of compressed air, available at a lot of larger tire dealers.
Nitrogen runs cooler, doesn’t increase pressure with heat near as much as AIR.
NASCAR and trucking industry has been using for years.

Thomas Becher

Love your coulumn.Always interesting. That said, I blew 3 tires on interstate 10 in Texas on a 94 degree day. Brand new BLACK TOP ,80#’s in tires 4 years old Uniroyal made in the USA. Goes to show not everything made in the US is that good or made in China is that bad. I think the road was too hot?

Kevin Loving

Are you saying ALL tires are equal? Are you suggesting that there are not CHEEP TIRES that is used by the industry to save a buck?

John R McConnell

Roger what you say is true. Many tire failures are due to under inflation, overload or even tires that are too old. I have had issues with the China tires and I always check inflation each time I start a trip. I also use a temp gun to check temps of tires and wheel bearings. I had just bought a new toy hauler and we took a trip to Calif from Ala. We made it to Texas and had a blowout. I know the inflation was correct and the tires were less than two years old (date of manuf on tire) I replaced all tires with goodyear endurance tires. We have put 20k miles on those tires over two years and have not had any problems. The goodyears are rated at 75 psi for load and have a higher speed rating. It would be hard to convince me that china tires are worth the money.
thanks for your column, I read it each Sat.


ROGER: You forgot to mention that everyone in Prison is INNOCENT Too! LMAO!