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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tire design goals: what are they?

Usually a sales and marketing department decides they want a new tire design or size based on expected needs or wants of customers. The customer can be the end retail buyer or in some cases a vehicle manufacturer.

If it is a vehicle manufacturer such as Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota or any other car or light truck manufacturer, they will have a long list of performance characteristics they want for their new vehicle. Some of these will include measurables such as weight; high speed capability; wet, dry and snow traction; noise characteristics on different road surfaces; ride characteristics also on different road surfaces; rolling resistance (fuel economy) and of course pricing, quantity and delivery volume rates.

Since most Class C motorhomes are built on what is called a “cut-away” van chassis, the list will have many but not all of the same type of performance measurements, albeit with different numbers.

It is important to remember that when a van chassis is designed the manufacturer does not know if the vehicle will be used as the base for an RV, ambulance or delivery truck. So the tires are normally not specified to provide performance specific to a certain type of vehicle, but a compromise for use on all of them. Class-B motorhomes basically use regular delivery vans which are modified with RV features.

If the vehicle manufacturer makes a heavy truck chassis like those under Class A motorhomes, their list is much shorter and may only include a couple of characteristics. In some cases they will select a tire from existing production so the only details to be worked out are pricing, quantity and volume delivery. Travel trailer manufacturers usually select tires that meet the expected load capabilities of the trailer and purchase in bulk from existing inventory.

NEXT TIME we will cover the process of taking a tire design from concept and “wish-list” as we turn it into a prototype. Later we will cover manufacturing then we can move on to performance, tire care and maintenance and finally tire problems.


  1. this is extremely interesting and important information for someone like me... i am currently fulltiming it in my class c... i am not keen on stereotyping myself, however i am a woman and i know practically nothing about tires... let alone my rv!!... i have not checked my tire pressure for some time... i am grateful i can come to your site to get the info that is and will be invaluable to me...

  2. This is really great information for all drivers.
    We've just put the first 2,000 miles on our brand new Lazy Daze 31TB motorhome. It's built on the Ford E450 chassis, and has Michelin tires.

    We've been considering if we would benefit from having a tire monitoring system, since we'll be towing our 2009 Honda Fit. Will you be covering any information on these systems, at all?

  3. Lary,

    Welcome aboard. I will cover the basics of tire inflation in the next couple of days.

    There are a number of options for TPMS. I will definately be covering them soon. Dis your Fit come with a TPMS from Honda? If so then we need to consider how to keep that system and at the same time be able to monitor from the RV. I will try and remember to mention that in the upcomming post.

  4. Roger,
    Thanks for the response. No, the Fit does not have a TPMS on it. That's one of the reasons we were thinking about a system that would monitor the 6 tires on the motorhome and the 4 tires on the Fit.

  5. Roger,

    I heard about you from reading Nick Russell's blog. I found your blogs well written and easy to understand and I am not a belt and suspenders type of guy. I hope you will spend more time on “Reserve Load”.

    Is it possible to get an automatic notification whenever you have a new blog? i do this for my readers.

    thank you for taking time to create this important blog.

    George Stoltz
    2000 Foretravel

  6. George,
    Welcome on board and thanks for the comments. I am preparing the first of a number of posts on Load & Inflation. Check back early next week.

  7. They should always aim to design a tire that is really relevant to every cars.

  8. The most-desirable characteristics of custom wheels vary with owner's goals: People may use lighter, bigger or thicker wheels. Now people like racers tend to go for weight and strength, width, achieved by maintaining multiple sets of wheels.

  9. The most-desirable characteristics of custom wheels vary with owner's goals: People may use lighter, bigger or thicker wheels. Now people like racers tend to go for weight and strength, width, achieved by maintaining multiple sets of wheels.

  10. Plumbing
    Thanks for joining the blog but we're going to focus the discussion here to tires and wheels for RV application.


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