Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Tire failure could have been prevented with TPMS

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

This tire failure was not a “blowout,” but definitely was a Run Low Sidewall Flex failure. The cause was not having a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

I read the following on an RV trailer forum:
“BOOM, it happened again; however, this time it was with the upgraded Maxxis tires. It seems to me that a lot of these ‘trailer tires’ are just plain garbage. The only positive thing I can say is that the Maxxis tires did not blow up like the Towmax tire did; thus I suffered zero damage this time. Call that a win-win.

“All tires were checked prior to departure and filled to 80 psi. Less than 20 miles to our destination (220-mile trip) I saw a bit of smoke coming from right side. Pulled over and the side wall gave out. Changed it with the spare Goodyear Marathon that Camping World lovingly overcharged me for last year ($197.67 to be exact) and went on my way very slowly. 

“Found a tire shop called Gatto’s in Palm Bay, FL, that had my size – 235/80R16 – and installed four new Goodyear Endurance tires. (FYI, the tire shop was way less than Camping World by $34 dollars per tire!)
Why four tires, you might ask. Well it just made sense to me with kids, wife and dog in the truck – better safe than sorry. Took the three good Maxxis home with me as they look fine. May use one and make a second spare tire. 

“Let’s hope the Goodyear Endurance tires are as good as they say. At least they are made in the USA versus the Marathon that’s made in China and had a really bad track record. 

“Anyway, just sharing my experience. Will be purchasing a TPMS system very soon before our next trip – that’s for sure. Any recommendations? Seems many offer a six-tire system. All I need is a four-tire system.”

My reply:
Sorry to see you had another tire failure, but there is no such thing as a “failure-proof” tire. All tires need to be properly inflated – ALL THE TIME – not just at the start of a trip.

The picture provides the evidence with that nice 360 flex that resulted in one side ending up with just the bead area and lower part of the sidewall. This piece of convincing evidence is seen in the upper left part of the picture.

I’m glad you held onto the other three Maxxis tires as there is no reason to expect them to fail since they apparently didn’t lose air like the failed tire did.

In case you wonder about my diagnosis, you might review this blog post where I was provided with a number of sharp pictures of the failed tire.

As covered in this post, 99+% of tire failures are due to one of two different causes. Your tire has clear and convincing evidence of failing due to Run Low Flex Failure of the sidewall.

I would strongly suggest a TPMS be installed so you could get advanced warning of air loss.

Note: I have even seen instances where the valve core sticks open and if the valve cap is not metal with an internal “O” ring the tire just takes longer to go flat as plastic caps are really, IMO, only reliable at keeping dirt and small birds out of the valve core sealing ring. You might review this post on valve cores to understand why metal caps with “O”rings or TPMS sensors are the only items I consider acceptable to use on the end of a valve stem.

[Editor: Here is the link to the TireTraker, a long-time RVtravel.com supporter, whose TPMS system we recommend. We travel with this system on our motorhome.]

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



Roger Marble
Roger Marblehttp://www.RVTireSafety.net
Retired Tire Design and Forensic Engineer w/50+ years of experience. Currently has Class-C RV. Previous Truck Camper, Winny Brave, Class-C & 23'TT. Also towed race car w/ 23' open trailer and in 26' Closed trailer. While racing he set lap records at 6 different tracks racing from Lime Rock CT to Riverside CA and Daytona to Mosport Canada. Gives RV and Genealogy Seminars for FMCA across the USA. Taught vehicle handling to local Police Depts


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Mike Ackerman
5 years ago

We have a TPMS (TT-500) on both our 32′ Class C motor home and our 14′ Enclosed trailer that contains our motorcycles. A total of 10 sensors.
We have had the TPMS set an alarm twice on the trailer indicating a low pressure in one of the tires.
I”m sure the TPMS saved us LOTS of money by giving us an early warning of the low pressure.
Both times there was a nail/screw in the tire tread and we were able to get it repaired within a few miles of where the alarm sounded.
Well worth the investment.

Fletcher Christian
5 years ago

I bought a TPMS system for my dually and 5th wheel. The system was only a couple of weeks old when I took a trip. Every time I stopped for fuel, 1 to 3 sensors would go off for low pressure. A tire on my 5th wheel blew out with no warning from the TPMS system and after an hour sitting on the side of the road waiting for roadside service, the TPMS system still showed the tire to have full pressure in it. After much heated conversation with the TPMS people, I got my money back.

5 years ago

Go ahead and get a system with six sensors. Use one of the extras for the spare tire and keep the other as a spare sensor in case one goes bad on you (nothing is fool proof). Also, if the TPMS on your tow vehicle is just one that sends warning after your tire pressure goes dangerously low (which is what most of them are, consider getting a system for both your vehicle and trailer tires. That way you can see ahead of time when something starts to go sideways and have more time to deal with it.

Something else to consider is vehicle TPMS systems rarely, if ever, tell you the temperature of the tires. While not particularly accurate, the temperature reading you get from an add on TPMS can alert you to a problem before failure, such as a bad wheel bearing or dragging brake shoe or pad causing the tire to constantly run hotter than the others.

I bought a six sensor set for my ’08 F150, put one on the spare (I’m too old to frequently crawl under the truck to check the spare) and the other in the arm rest storage compartment in case one sensor goes belly up. I also got the external ones so I can change them out or replace the batteries myself. If going the external route, be sure to get metal valve stems since the rubber ones can’t safely handle the extra weight of the sensors (I don’t trust rubber ones anyway) . I also keep a small, 12v air compressor in my truck so I can air up a low tire if necessary no matter where I am.

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