Friday, September 17, 2021
Friday, September 17, 2021

RV Tire Safety: Consumer Reports on RV tires. Helpful or fear mongering?

By Roger Marble
I had someone point out that the September issue of Consumer Reports (CR) had a couple of pages on RV tires and wondered if I could offer my opinion. I do not subscribe to CR, as I have been less than impressed with some previous articles over the years. But I went to the local library and borrowed a copy.

I just finished the six-page article. I will start off by saying my opinion of Consumer Reports and their information on tires has not changed. “Danger on wheels” might give some the impression that this exposé is based on a broad investigation into tires in RV application. In fact, almost the entire article is on a single line of Goodyear tires that was in production 20 years ago – the G159. There is a lot of information on lawsuits and lawyers. But I found no hard data on tire durability or test data or failure analysis from CR.

Disappointed in Consumer Report’s only warning

I have no personal knowledge of the G159 or any specific failures of the subject tire. However, I was disappointed that the only warning CR provided was that tires should be removed from RV service “at 10 years old from date of manufacture.”

As an engineer, I would prefer to set aside claims and innuendos and focus on facts and data. CR did offer what they called “9 Tips for Safer RV Travel.” Of those, only three even mention tires. One is the recommendation to replace tires that are 10 years old. Readers of RVTravel.com and of my RVTireSafety blog already know that 10 years is the MAXIMUM tire age, with shorter usage time often recommended. Some are as short as 3 years in certain applications.

The article did point out that “about 40,000 G159s” were placed in RV service and that 72 RVs suffered tire failures. Given that 22.5″ wheel size would suggest Class-A usage with a normal 6 tires per RV, those numbers suggest more than 6,000 “sets” of G159 tires were applied and possibly as few as 1.2% of RVs suffered tire failure. No mention was made of how many of the 72 failures were the result of under-inflation, overloading, puncture, or impact. I too often see that any tire failure is blamed on the tire. Yet very few of those claims include any forensic inspection or identification of the mystery “defect”.

I agree with CR’s second recommendation

A second recommendation from CR was to invest in a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). I completely agree that every RV should be equipped with a properly programmed TPMS. They said: “The better systems involve fitting a sensor inside the tire.” I wonder what testing CR did to arrive at that suggestion. Where is their data that supports the notion that internal to a tire somehow performs better than the more normal external, valve stem mounted sensors? I have never heard of CR doing any long-term, direct comparison testing and evaluation of the different TPMS applications – as I have been doing for the last three years.

It is a bit of a stretch to suggest that “balance the weight in your RV” to reduce tire wear is a strong safety recommendation. They do suggest that the weight in the RV should be based on the capacity of the RV. But there is no specific mention that each individual tire should be measured to confirm its loading. They didn’t even educate their readers on how to know the weight limit on their tires.

Is there a technical problem with the Goodyear G159?

I do not know and the CR article only uses inference and suggestions that the tire was “related to” or “associated” with accidents. But I saw no evidence of what the claimed “defect” might be or if there even is one in the G159. There is a small mention that some owners might have lowered the tire inflation. But there is no mention if that act resulted in tires being overloaded.

In In my opinion, Consumer Reports might get a few additional sales of their magazine from that article. But the article certainly did not offer any insight into how to prevent tire failures in RV use or into the importance of never overloading or under-inflating tires.

Have a tire question? Sign up for Roger Marble’s new Facebook Group: RV tire news, information and discussion, hosted by RVtravel.com and moderated by Roger. He’ll be happy to help you.

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

 ##RVT1013

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Bob Conner
23 days ago

Considering that Goodyear has been embroiled in legal battles over this tire for 15+ years, then there should be loads of data provided by Goodyear to prove that the tire was safe and roadworthy in this application. Instead of summarily disparaging CR, why not, as an “engineer”, go get the data you need to make an informed opinion as to the article’s merit?
I got enough out of the article to preclude me from considering Goodyear tires for any application simply based on their evasive and deceitful actions.

Wes
1 month ago

I completely agree with your opinion about Consumer Reports. I find them biased. We have made purchases in the past based on a CR recommendation only to have the product turn out to be terrible, and another in which we purchased an automobile that they panned which turned out to be one of the best cars we have ever owned. As with everything, especially CR, Caveat Emptor. Proper tire maintenance is essential.

John Hicks
1 month ago

I vaguely recall reading that the tires in question were “regional/delivery” and were rated for only 62mph while rv builders were not warning customers of that limitation.

Rick Sorrenti
1 month ago

If you had spent more time reading the CR article you would see the main point being there are hundreds of Goodyear G159 tires rolling down the highways, coupled with many late model coaches with these Goodyear tires. CR points to internal Goodyear testimony pointing to overheating of a tire not meant for RVs leading to tire failure. You also miss the points that CR made on recommendations which are 9 including the fact that internal TPMS system are far superior to the Chinese crap we see owners buying. Weight distribution recommendation was very appropriate in that owners should refer to their manufacturer’s spec. The most important tip that CR recommends, which you totally discarded, is Preventative Maintenance on your RV. As a “tire expert” I would have expected a more educated review of this article and less confrontational……

Gman
1 month ago
Reply to  Rick Sorrenti

This piece isn’t “confrontational”. Just like CR, Roger is giving his view points based on his knowledge. What’s the difference from your comments than what Roger said? You start off “confrontational” don’t you think?

Roger Marble
1 month ago
Reply to  Rick Sorrenti

Rick, Thanks for reading my article. I may not have been clear on Internal vs External TPMS. I wondered where I might find the data from the testing CR ran on internal vs external sensors that led them to their conclusion that internal TPMS are inherently better than external sensors. I have been evaluating both on my RV for the past few years and have not found any obvious superiority of one over the other. I do not recall seeing any mention of the country of manufacture for either type of system.

Donald N Wright
1 month ago

I also mailed my comments to CR about their report. While many of their staffers own RV’s they do not test them. Their plate is full already,

Richard Watts
30 days ago

I AGREE WITH BOTH SIDES ONE MONEY GOOD TIRES COST.TWO CHEAP TIRES WORK.ALL DEPENEDS ON HOW YOUR USING YOUR RV.MINE HAS 8 PLY.IM MOVING UP TO ABOVE 10 PLY.BECAUSE IM 52 FT.LONG AND CURBS BUST THE 8 PLY.THANK YOU

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