RV Tire Safety: Truing a tire – Is it properly mounted?

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with RV tire expert Roger Marble

I received a question from “Fred” on “truing tires”:


On the Escapee’s forum, there was a conversation about tires, and someone mentioned truing new tires. IMO, truing of new tires today only covers up poor mounting procedure versus 40-60 years ago when tire construction was not as advanced. What are your thoughts on this?” —Fred

First, let’s be sure everyone knows what we are talking about.

The process of “truing ” a tire involves shaving part of the tread rubber off to make the mounted tire more round. HERE is a YouTube video showing the process.

I tend to agree with Fred that most out-of-round problems can be traced to a tire not being properly mounted and seated on the rim. It is also possible that the wheel itself may not have been properly mounted on the hub or it is even possible for the wheel itself to not be round.

If you have a vibration problem you first need to ask, “What has changed?” Did you just get new tires? Are the tires the same but the wheels were off the vehicle for something like a brake job? Have you been driving on especially rough roads with many large potholes? Or is this a “new to you” vehicle and you have no history with the tires and wheels.

On some vehicles “heat set flat-spot” may be the cause. This happens when tires have been run, getting hot, and you just stop and park the vehicle. Sometimes leaving the vehicle parked for weeks or months can also allow the tire to get a flat spot which could take a couple of hours running to work the flat spot out. High-performance passenger tires are more susceptible to this problem than large 22.5″-size radials, but even 22.5 tires can develop a flat spot.

The problem of vibration can usually be traced to either out-of-balance or the tire/wheel assembly being “out-of-round.”

If you have vibration on a new tire, I would first confirm it was balanced. Next, I would measure the assembly on the vehicle and confirm it is in-tolerance. This usually means less than 0.030″ radial runout goal with 0.125″ the upper limit.

If you are exceeding the above, the next step would be to try and confirm which component is not “round.” Ideally, you would confirm the wheel, with no tire mounted, was below the limit. If the wheel is “round” when measured on a mounting machine then we would need to confirm it is round when bolted to the hub. Some wheels are “hub-centric” and others are “lug-centric”. Hub-centric means the wheel centers on the ledge of the hub on the brake drum. Lug-centric means it centers on the bolts holding the wheel to the hub.

A lug-centric wheel can easily get “off-center” if one lug nut is fully tightened before the other lug nuts are snugged up. There are patterns for the sequence and steps of tightening lug nuts depending on the number of lug nuts. Here is the sequence as published by Chilton, a publisher of numerous automotive repair manuals.

RV Tire Safety: Truing a tire – Is it properly mounted?In addition to this sequence, it is advisable to tighten the nuts in three steps of 1/3rd of the torque level. Example: If your torque spec was 90 Ft-Lbs you would first do all the nuts to 30 Ft-Lbs, then again following the sequence tighten to 60 Ft-Lbs, then finally to the 90 Ft-Lbs spec, again following the pattern.

If the pattern and amount of torque are not followed it is easy to end up with a round tire and wheel assembly to be mounted off-center to the hub which results in an out-of-the-round situation and unacceptable vibration.

Before I resorted to shaving a new tire I would measure the out-of-round. If you have confirmed all the above yet still have vibration on new tires, I would work with the tire dealer to confirm there is nothing in the individual tire that might contribute to some vibration by simply switching tires around or trying a different set of tires.

In all probability, by now you would have found and fixed the cause of the vibration.

RV Tire Safety: Truing a tire – Is it properly mounted?

 

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

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