Tire ramps or blocks may damage your tires

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RV Tire Safety

with RV tire expert Roger Marble

Last year I was at a large RV event and noticed many Class B RVs were using various blocks or ramps in an effort to get the RV level. Here are a few examples:

 

 

None of the above is what I would consider acceptable. They all are too narrow or the tire is not properly centered.

Tire ramps or blocks may damage your tiresThe ENTIRE tread contact patch should be supported. On the left and below right you can see the contact patch and the size board I use.

Tire ramps or blocks may damage your tiresToo narrow or with part of the tread hanging off one side can put extra stress on the belt edge and result in the initiation of microscopic cracks that could grow into a belt separation.

If you have some of the plastic supports you first need to confirm they are wider than your tire. You also need to pay attention and be centered side to side and fore/aft on the support.

 Tire ramps or blocks may damage your tires

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


 

 

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Thomas Becher

I’ve always preached about 2×6 boards being too narrow. I found the very best thing is a 2×10 laminated beam. You can usually go to a home construction site and ask for the cut off’s from the framing
Best if you can get plywood laminated and give them a treatment of wood preservative

Booneyrat

Those plastic pads are not worth the effort to blow them up.Get a treated 2×8,or two if you have dual wheels,and cut to length to put under your tires.Make sure you have ALL the footprint covered asstated in the article.

Roger Marble

Plastic blocks look like a good idea BUT the ones I have seen may only be good for smaller tires. Tread width AKA “footprint” can be all over the place so I am reluctant to say a specific size. If you check the marks in the dirt you can see the tire width BUT you also need some extra to allow for less than perfect alignment. Wider the “blocks” the easier it is to ensure support of the complete footprint. Even 8″ may not be wide enough for some of the larger 22.5 tires seen on some Class-A units. Bottom… Read more »

Omer Murray

I agree with the point of fully covering the footprint of the tire. I think otherwise would cause premature damage to the tire. I use flat plywood directly under the tire footprint, even if I put stackable blocks under the plywood. I would like to ask a tire question that may have been covered in the past but I have not seen it. I have a 13.5K dry weight 5w. Over the years, I have used several tires, usually Michelin trailer, and have gotten poor results. The last time I needed to replace, I put on the same Nexen LT… Read more »

Ken

I’ve been using LT tires, Goodyear G614, for over 10 years. I haven’t had any tire related issues.

Roger Marble

The G614 are “Commercial” grade tires and I am glad you have had good luck with them.

Booneyrat

It all boils down to speed and weight.

Tsu-Lin

Just as a question, how do you check the alignment of trailer wheels? I agree with Boonyrat that speed and weight are major factors, but where does alignment fit? Is the trailer in parallel alignment with the towing vehicle? To check it, I can only imagine that you have to have someone that can do very exacting geometry. If your axle or wheels are not parallel, have a straight caster, and no camber (?) …your tires may wear really fast.

Roger Marble

Ideally, trailer axles would be parallel to each other. You can do a quick check of this with a tape measure to check the distance from the center of the dust cap for each side. Caster is a function of steering so does not apply to trailers. Camber should be zero. Also the diagonal from each wheel to the hitch ball or pin would be equal on both sides. I do not know of any nationwide list of shops that can do trailer alignment. I would suggest you do a Google search on “RV trailer alignment” Review the videos and… Read more »

Roger Marble

I have covered the use of LT tires in trailer application in my regular blog http://www.RVTireSafety.net but basically, if you have confirmed the actual load on your individual tires (not just the axle load divided by 2) and select a replacement tire that can support 115% of the heavy end of your axle AND always inflate to the tire sidewall inflation you should be OK for 3 to 5 years. I also suggest that starting at 2 years, owners of multi-axle trailers do a “free spin” inspection as I have covered with a video in my blog you should get… Read more »

Elaine Ashton

THANK YOU SO MUCH for this article. Last year we purchased another 5th wheel. My husband used all sorts of boards to level the 5th wheel. I thought the whole thing looked unhealthy as the tire was on the edge of one of the boards. Shortly afterwards — my son borrowed the 5th wheel and had TWO blowouts — damaged the 5th wheel siding — cost a LOT of time and trouble for everybody. Now that “I” know how to properly level the 5th wheel — I will make every effort to do things correctly. It makes me sick that… Read more »

Roger Marble

Sorry to hear about your problems. Are you sure your tire inflation has been correct and checked each travel day? Do you use a TPMS? Have you confirmed your actual tire loads with scale readings? You might find the info on my RV Tire blog informative. RVTravel got my blog started and is a major supporter. By subscribing to the newsletter you get notice of the latest posts on my blog but you can also go directly to my blog and check out the over 300 posts on tires, inflation, wheels, valves and TPMS stuff.