Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tire Issues

I have read,with great interest, my fellow bloggers concerns and issues that have arose due to the experiences of http://theeastsheadwest.blogspot.com/ this past weekend. Add to that the issues that have come up over at http://rickpaulettervjournal.blogspot.com/
and http://ticknortribe.blogspot.com/ and all kinds of safety issues pop up.

Cheap tires are just that, cheap tires. So if you are looking for tires for you truck, motorhome or travel trailer you should steer clear of CHEAP. Tires are rated for specific load levels and the manufacturer of your trailer and suspension system have determined what the maximum load of you trailer is. When loading the trailer do not exceed the trailer Gross Axle Weight Rating(s) (GAWR). Weigh the fully loaded trailer from time to time to verify that trailer GAWR and GVWR are not exceeded, and that the loads on the right-hand and left-hand wheels are approximately equal.

When replacing tires make certain you replace them with tires that either have the same load and speed rating or one that is capable of handling more weight than is needed. Here is a picture that I stole to give you an idea of what you are looking for.

Here we have the typical tire sidewall. For RV owners we are specifically interested in the Load Index and Speed Symbol. Each load index is capable of carrying X number of pounds, no more. If your trailer is designed to have a GVWR of 10,000 pounds, your tires had better be up to the weight your putting on them. You must determine which load rating is suitable for your application.

In short, the actual GVWR is one of the most important numbers you need to know. It is critical for getting the correct tires and maintaining them properly.

Most tire manufactures recommend keeping tires inflated to the maximum cold pounds per square inch listed on the side wall of the tire for the best performance. With maximum pressure the tire will perform better and wear better, and you get the advantage of better gas mileage. Reduce the psi, and you effectively reduce the functionality of the tire. Check your tire pressure often with a good quality tire gauge. You can't be overly cautious.

There are ultimately three keys to avoiding tire troubles while towing: Make sure your rig is equipped with the proper tires; (2) Maintain the tire meticulously; and (3) Replace trailer tires every three to five years whether they appear worn out or not.

After a blowout on a tandem-axle trailer, you should replace both tires on that side. The remaining tire was likely subjected to excessive loading and, as a consequence may fail in the near future.

Finally protect your tires when in storage. Off the ground if possible but at least on level well drained ground. Protect tires from UV rays from sunlight. And take as much load off as you can by unloading the trailer and draining the tanks.

My last comment on all of this...know your GVWR and adhere to it like you life depended on it. Staying within the Manufacturers Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is the single most important thing you can to do to protect yourself from possible frame, trailer or tire damage.

Have a great week


  1. Great info -- thanks for sharing this. Safety should be everyone's top priority!

  2. Good information. I also want to note - CHEAP tires should not be confused with inexpensive tires. The CHEAP Beijing made tires we bought in New Mexico in the middle of nowhere, actually cost more than the Cooper tires we just replaced them with!