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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

TPMS batteries, Changing tires, Tire Size info, ST type tire speed rating and RV control with tire Blowout

Few quick topics in this post.
Saw a few posts on RV forums on TPMS sensor replacement.
It seems some people have had their TPM systems long enough that they need new sensors
because their batteries are low. So some folks are confronted with spending $200 to $300 on a set of 6 sensors.  I suggested that they look into the TireTraker system as it has low cost watch batteries so the cost is only a few bucks for a new battery rather than $35 to $50 each sensor. Full disclosure. TireTraker is a sponsor of this blog but I did buy my TPMS from them at a rally a couple years ago based on their features.
I suggest you do a "Life Cysle" cost comparison based on 5 years. Include the initial system cost, the cost of replacing the batteries if your system allows that or the cost of replacing all the sensors if you can't replace just the batteries. You might also want to consider the length of the initial warranty.

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Another person said he had 8 years on his Class-A tires and was asking "What brand should I buy"
This of  course immediately started a flurry of "I have had great success with Brand-X" or I had a failure with
Brand-X so will never buy another one of their tires, etc.
I asked the poster why he was considering changing brands if he had had 8 year  good service from the tires he had? When it comes time to consider new tires I suggest you make a list of the Pros and Cons of your current tires.

 Be sure not to include things like the puncture with the roofing nail as that can happen to any brand tire.

 I often tell people you are buying a tire company and their dealer network not just a set of tires. If you get a great price from Billy-Jo-Bobs Cheap Tire Emporium and Bate Shop but there are only a handful of dealers in the country where you can get a replacement and you have to pay shipping back to Billy-Jo if you want to make a warranty claim I doubt that the total price of owning that set of tires is as good of a deal as you first thought.

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When asking a question on an RV forum, it helps if you include the complete tire size designation. Some folks say nothing about the size but want specific answers on load capacity. Others provide only part of the size such as 235/75R16 and leave off if they are talking about a "P" type or "LT" type or "ST" type. The answer to these questions will probably depend on which type of tire we are talking about. It also helps if you include the Load Range as in LR-D or LR-F or whatever is molded on the tire sidewall.
Sorry but indicating that you have a Mountain Top Rambler RV doesn't help as there are just too many makes and models of RV out there for anyone to know all the tire options that migh be used.

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ST type tires have a normal Max Speed of 65 mph. You should consider this like the redline on your engine. While it is possible to exceed the red-line it isn't good for long term durability. When covering this topic some point to the Goodyear Tech Bulliten that indicates you may increase this max speed rating up to 75 mph if you also increase the tire inflation 10psi above the inflation associated with the max load on the tire sidewall. While Goodyear may be willing to stand behind the warranty of their Marathon ST type tires at this higher speed you should not do the same for other brands of tires unless you get something in writing from that tire MFG. Tire company Tech Bullitens only apply to the brand and line of tires mentioned in the bulliten.

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Finally I had a question on what to do if you have a  blowout on your RV.  Michelin has a good video on this topic covering Motorhomes. Similar driver reaction if you are driving a tow vehicle would probably apply, so there isn't much I can add. The question however asked about blowout on an RV trailer. Now I have not tested this myself but I have seen more than one example where the impact on vehicle control was so small the driver never knew he had a trailer tire failure till someone flagged the driver down.
As explained in the Michelin video the forces would be drag on the trailer which would keep it generally straight behind the tow vehicle with only a little side offset.
If your trailer did start to sway I would use the manual brake control to slow the trailer down. This should quickly stop the side to side sway and allow you to bring the tow vehicle and trailer to a safe stop.

1 comment:

  1. Carlisle Tire has indicated their top line of ST tires will now have some speed ratings up to and including 81 MPH. They have gone as far as to have modified the speed letter J to include 62 MPH for bias ply tires and 65 MPH for like sized radials. The TRA charts do not list a speed letter for 65 MPH. Is Carlisle Tire inventing a modification to the speed letter J or has TRA allowed it?

    FastEagle

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