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Friday, November 9, 2018

Remember: A tire is just a "tool" you use to get a job done

This in response to a report of tread cracking of some traction design tires placed on a custom heavy car hauler trailer. The owner was blaming the 4-year-old tires.

I do note that when there are tire problems, including actual "failure," it's common for some to say "My xxx brand tires failed, I will never buy xxx tires again".

Well, sorry to tell you but there is no such thing as "Fail-Proof" tire. This was even part of the testimony mentioned by DOT spokesperson during the Ford Explorer rollover fiasco of 2000.

Today's tires are amazingly robust. Even when they are made in Japan or Timbuktu, and we all remember how bad "Made In Japan" was when were growing up. As I pointed out in the thread, the subject tire an All season traction design was not at all appropriate for heavy trailer application. Both the tire type/size was wrong and the tread pattern was wrong.

Why is this the tire's fault?

If you put a truck tire with a heavy off-road mud traction tread design on the front of your 40' DP and had loud noise and vibration and harsh ride would that be the tire's fault? Would simply changing tire brands from say Bridgestone to Michelin solve the problems if you selected just another heavy off-road mud traction tread design? No of course not.
From my experiences as a tire engineer, I can tell you that I can probably "fail" any tire in under an hour and under 50 miles if you let me set the conditions.

A tire is just a tool you use to get a job done. If you don't select the correct tool that is appropriate for the job you want to be done why is it the fault of the tool manufacturer? Think of the absolute best tool company. Now select one of their flat blade screwdrivers.
 OK now start using it as a chisel and pound on it as you try and cut through some rusty bolts. After cutting through a few bolts would you blame SK or MAC or  Snap-On or ???? if the point of the screwdriver is dented and chipped?

Different tires are just tools with different intended usage.

Basically I would suggest "Rib" or "All position" designs for the front position and if you intend on occasional off-highway travel (a gravel road at a campground doesn't count) then you could select something with a bit more traction capability but I would consider any "Drive" position as not a great choice for Motorhomes or trailers.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Do you need your own air compressor? & Certified tire inspectors

Saw an RV forum post on this topic.  Here was my answer.

If you are running a TPMS (which you, of course, should be), you should have received plenty advance notice of needing to add 3 to 5 psi. This slight loss of pressure is due to normal air loss and pressure change due to change in ambient temperature. You can easily top off your tires at your next fuel stop.

If you don't have TPMS and discover you have been driving on a tire that needs more than 20% of it's required inflation, you should be calling road service and have the tire changed, as there is a good chance you may have done permanent internal structural damage. I consider this operation on the under-inflated tire made the tire unsafe to re-inflate until the tire has had a complete internal and external inspection by a trained tire service person, not just the guy that mounts tires who probably has not received the training.

AFTER the inspection, the tire should only be inflated in an approved safety cage as doing otherwise can lead to serious personal injury.

 Regarding how to find trained, certified tire inspectors...  Use THIS link    from Tire Industry Association.

There is a directory that you can search by zip code. Those listed are TIA Members, and those with the Certified Patch next to them have been TIA Certified.

I will suggest that folks with 19.5 or larger tires or with Load Range E, F, G or higher or with any steel body ply of any Load Range go to Certified,  Commercial inspection

People with Passenger, LT or ST type tires of lower load range, can use the "Automotive" link but a certified Commercial person should be able to inspect smaller tires too.

Remember as Sgt. Esterhaus said 'Let's be careful out there'