I have asked RV owners who had tire failures if they reported the failures to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) or to the dealer that sold them the RV. Almost universally they said they didn’t bother or were told by the dealer “it’s not their job.”
The reality is that it is Federal law that tire failures be reported to U.S. DOT (Department of Transportation). “Defect reporting requirements, the focus of this memorandum, the TREAD Act requires automakers to notify the Secretary of Transportation within five days of discovery of a defect or the need for a safety recall. See 49 C.F.R. § 573.6.” There are significant fines for failure to comply. A NHTSA complaint needs the RV VIN and the complete tire DOT serial, including the date portion.
It is my opinion that if you have a failure or suspect failure and can’t bother to file a complete report and include a picture, you really have lost much of the right to complain about tire quality. This is because you are effectively keeping the information from the tire company and from the federal agency that can order a recall after an investigation. No investigation will ever start because you posted a complaint on Facebook or an RV Forum.
Have a tire question? Ask Roger on his new RV Tires Forum here. It’s 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.
The tires should have DOT rating. I think it is required by law. That doesn’t necessarily mean much since they only have to meet the very minimum rating and are the least expensive tires they can put on by the trailer manufacturer. Trying to file a claim with the tire or trailer manufacturer will lead no where. They can blame you for not having the correct tire pressure, not inspecting tires for damage, having too much weight or incorrect loading of the trailer, ignoring the speed rating. etc.
Reporting to the NHTSA may help but only if they are receiving multiple complaints about the same tire. They can then contact the manufacturer and file a complaint. But in the end it is up to the manufacturer to initiate the recall. They will only replace the tire in question, but you will need to hire an attorney to get any compensation for damage caused by the tire.