We all have them. We all use and need them. But most would prefer to never have to think about them. As a Tire Design and Quality Engineer, I am one of the few that actually like tires. While I doubt that I can change your feelings about tires from dislike to liking them, I would hope I can at least get you to better appreciate what they do and why with just a little care you can get many useful years of service from the tires on your motorhome, truck, trailer or car.
It is important that we all have a basic understanding of what a tire is or some will be working off incorrect assumptions. Let’s start with a little information on just what goes into the process of designing modern radial tires. Unless I point out something as specific to one type of tire you can assume the information presented applies to all tires used on vehicles intended for highway use. In future posts we will cover tire development, manufacturing and with that under our belts we will move on to tire failures and the probable cause or causes.
For those wondering, perhaps I should give a little bit of my background. I am retired and have 40 years experience working for a major manufacturer developing tires for applications in North, Central and South America. During my career I worked on many kinds of tires -- heavy truck, passenger, light truck and Indy-car types.
I hold two design patents. I developed failed tire inspection procedures and taught classed to more than 300 engineers and technicians in the tire and car industry as well as to engineers of the US Department of Transportation. I also put my tire and vehicle knowledge to use as a race car owner and driver setting lap records at six different road courses and have even taught vehicle control to police officers from a number of local towns. I have owned a travel trailer, a 5th wheel, three race car haulers (open and closed), a slide-in camper, a Class-A and two Class-C motorhomes.