RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
I have been looking at the “Tire Placard” aka Vehicle Certification Label for a number of 5th wheel trailers. I learned a few things.
A couple of manufacturers have upgraded the tires on the newer units. Some went from ST235/85R16 LR-E to ST235/85R16 LR-F. The inflation went from 80 to 110 so they are clearly offering improved load capacity or giving you a better margin above the tire capacity.
If you have an older 5th wheel and have either ST235/80R16 LR-E or ST235/85R16 LR-E you might want to check and confirm if your wheels are rated for 110 psi. If so, you might consider moving on up to LR-F and doing the slight up-size if you have the needed clearance as the 85 series tire is a bit larger in OD.
I also found one model that went from 16″ to 17.5″ wheels. It appears that the new RVIA 10% load margin requirement achieved some better-than-expected results. While this may not help out those with older trailers, just knowing there are wheel and tire options available that are approved by your RV company could be considered good news.
On a related matter, I wonder how many of you have ever read the section on Tires in your owner’s manual. I was surprised to see that some manuals have pretty good and detailed info. They cover stuff like weighing each side of the RV and not just the total on the 4 or 6 tires. While this isn’t as good as learning the individual load on each tire, a side-to-side comparison may identify some load imbalance. Since I suggest that trailers run the tire sidewall inflation, we are not looking at calculating a minimum inflation. BUT we still want to be sure you have at least a 15% margin on load, so you should use the heavier side of the RV when doing your “safety margin” calculations.
I also found some clear info on “cold inflation” and operation speed, which was better than I expected. Tire life and expected replacement age were not uniform brand to brand, but some of you may be surprised to see that some manufacturers actually tell you the number of years use you should expect from your tires.
Hope to meet a few of you at the FMCA GLAMARAMA in Michigan in a couple weeks, or in Gillette, Wyoming, in July. Safe travels.
Read more from Roger Marble on his blog at RVtiresafety.net.