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Monday, January 26, 2015


Saw this Press Release and thought it was timely. It is printed with permission.

January 23, 2015


Harvey Brodsky
Managing Director

Retread Tire Association

If you are a football fan in North America you are probably aware of the scandale du jure going on in professional football caused by the alleged under-inflation of footballs used by the New England Patriots in their Sunday victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
I won’t go into my personal feelings regarding this scandal except to state that it saddens me and in my opinion it tarnishes the word sportsmanship, and sets a horrible example for young people regarding what is right versus what is wrong.
Now back to why deflation doesn’t work for tires. If you have ever spoken to a real estate agent regarding the best place to open a tire store or any other business, you will usually hear the three words, “Location, Location, Location,” as being the most important.
There are also three VERY IMPORTANT words when it comes to tires that should be etched into the minds of every trucker, whether he or she has one truck or ten thousand trucks, and if you haven’t already guessed, the three most important words are “Inflation, Inflation, Inflation.”
By inflation we mean Proper Inflation for the load being carried!
More tires are ruined and money lost by improper tire inflation than any other cause, yet far too many truckers will still resort to pounding the sidewall of their tires with a stick to determine if their tires are properly inflated instead of checking their tires with a calibrated tire gauge.
If they really believe they can tell if their tires are properly inflated by pounding them with a stick, they should then pound the hood of their truck to see if the engine needs oil.
Crazy? You bet!
 There is an old saying that I love, because it is absolutely true! It’s simple but it isn’t easy. I’m the first to admit that it is not easy to use a good tire gauge to check the air pressure on your tires, especially in a stormy day when the temperature is below freezing, But we should ask ourselves is it better to ignore checking our tires on a regular basis or is it better to have a tire problem thanks to a severely underinflated tire on a rainy or snowy night in the middle of nowhere with no help in sight?
You know the rest and now it’s up to you to do it. Please remember that THERE IS NEVER A RIGHT TIME TO DO THE WRONG THING AND THERE IS NEVER A WRONG TIME TO DO THE RIGHT THING, especially when it comes to tires!

“The secret of happiness
is to count your blessings
while others are adding
up their troubles.”

~ William Penn

Retread Tire Association (RTA)
Toll-Free: 1-888-810-8861
phone: 831-646-5269 | fax: 831-646-2006
900 Weldon Grove, Pacific Grove, CA 93950 USA

Friday, January 16, 2015

Basic tire inflation procedure - Motorhomes

Thought a short post covering the important points of setting and ensuring you have the necessary inflation on your motorhome tires was in order.
 NOTE Trailers have slightly different needs for establishing the "set" pressure than motorhomes but the rest of this post would apply to towables too.

1. Ensure your gauge is sufficiently accurate. To me this means +/- 3 psi of the real pressure. This level of accuracy is easy to confirm yourself if you follow these steps:
      A. Get and keep a "Master" gauge. This is not used for checking the air in your tires but is used to confirm that your daily use gauge is sufficiently accurate and to allow you to adjust the reading of your daily gauge accordingly. I have provided an example of what a low cost "Master" gauge could be in THIS post. The master gauge should NOT be kept in your tool box but in a box or case inside the RV where it is protected from damage.
     B. At least once a month, measure the air in one of your tire with the Master gauge and immediately get a reading with your daily gauge. You now know how much to adjust your reading when setting your tire pressures. If your daily gauge reads 3 psi lower than the Master then you need to set your tires 3 psi high when using your daily gauge.

2. Learn the actual load on each position of your RV. This has been covered in a number of earlier posts that have the label "Load". Please review those posts if you do not know how to learn your "corner" loading. The minimum inflation for all tires on any one axle is based on the inflation needed for the heaviest loaded end of the axle. ALL tires on an axle should have the same cold inflation.

3. Establish your "Set" or "Goal" pressure pressure that you should have each morning of a travel day. I suggest this be 10% above the minimum needed to carry the load on your tires you learned in step 2. above

4. Set your TPMS to provide warning if you have lost air to the point of being 10% below the Set Pressure. This should provide adequate warning to allow you to safely get off the road or at least out of traffic. If you don't already have a TPMS then get one. If you don't think you need a TPMS then I would challenge you to try this experiment. Get some black tape and cover all your dash gauges and see how comfortable you are traveling down the highway without having any of the factory provided warning instruments you have become accustomed to.

I feel these steps are the minimum every motorhome owner should take

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

DOT Date Code - Why do they make it hard to find and read?

How old are your tires? 

How do you learn the answer?

What is the DOT date code and why is it so hard to find and read?

Answers to these and other important quests can be found right here at

DOT regulations (Law) specify the size of the serial ( 1/4" min) and parts of the content as well as placement (below the midpoint of the sidewall).

The first two characters are a "Plant Code" which as far as I know is standard as I have never seen a variation from the industry code list.

Characters #3 & 4 are not uniform across all tire companies but would be uniform within a tire company and these are a code for the tire size. Sorry but I have never seen a list for all tire size codes for all tire companies. In reality you don't need to know how to "translate" the code as you simply read the size off the tire sidewall.

The next series are optional. These may be used by different tire companies for internal coding. Some companies us no code others may use 1, 2, 3 or 4 characters.

The last four NUMBERS  are the date code, with the first two numbers being the week number starting with 01 and ending at 53 ( The code is changed on Sunday and some years have 52 and some have 53 Sundays. Bet you didn't think of that.) The last two are the last two characters of the year.
Prior to May 2000 the year portion was just a single number but since you should not have tires older than TEN years on your RV you better not have a tire with just  three digits!
The year part changed in 2000 as before that only the last number of the year was used along with another symbol but it was decided in late 1990's that this was too complex so the switch from three to four numbers for the date code.

Since the date code MUST by law, be changed each week this presents some challenges to the manufacture of tires as a person has to do this change. This presents safety issues as reaching the top part of the mold would require a person to climb into the cure press which is HOT (250° to 350°F) and the equipment could accidentally close on the person, so only the bottom side of the mold gets the date portion of the code.

Some car companies have a practice of placing the side of the tire with the full code on the outside but with dual application this means that for RVs the rear tires will have to be different than the front or the date code would be facing the tire that is its mate and very difficult or impossible to read without dismounting the tires from the RV so RV companies do not have this requirement.
This is one reason why whenever buying new tires you should ask for the full DOT serial to be recorded by the dealer on your invoice and that information be stored along with other important papers and information you keep available for future use.

 Here is some information from earlier posts on the DOT serial. If you want to read more just search using the Label list on the left side of this blog.
The DOT Serial

This has important information used in determining the tire age. Other information such as the location of the tire plant that made the tire is part of this code ( first two characters  8X in this example). If there is a recall, this code is used to identify which tires are covered by the recall. NOTE that the last portion, the 4 digit date code, 3908 in this example is only molded on one side of most tires. Every tire sold for use on the highway in the USA must have a full DOT serial including the date code molded on at least one side. This tire was made the 39th week of 2008.

 Do not confuse the fact that the 6E7378 ends with four numbers as there is no 73rd week of the year 2078.

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year Resolution on Tires

Happy New Year!

Well it's that time when we make Resolutions. Many make ones that they know, deep down they will probably not keep. You know the ones like "Go a diet and loose 25# or to start walking 5 miles every day.

Well I would like to offer some suggestions for resolutions that won't be too difficult to keep and could pay BIG dividends in improved fuel mileage or decreased chance of a tire failure or improved tire wear.

#1. Get a your own "Master" tire gauge. This should be a digital gauge that you keep packed away and not in the bottom of your tool box. You can use this gauge to check your regular hand gauge against once every few weeks.
My personal favorite is this Accutire gauge
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You don't need a $100 special truck gauge as you simply use this gauge to measure a front tire and compare the reading with the reading on your normal gauge. I have found this gauge to be accurate to +/- 1/2 psi or better, when checked against ISO Laboratory test instruments,.which is more than accurate enough. If your regular gauge is within a couple psi of this one that should be good enough PLUS you know if your regular gauge is reading high or low.

#2. On your first trip pull off the Interstate at a truck stop that has scales and confirm the current load on each axle. Now hopefully you have had each tire (for trailers) or each "corner" for motorhomes weighed in the past. Doing a quick axle weight check will confirm you haven't made a significant change in your loading as the axle total should match the total of the individual tires you previously had measured.

#3 At least once each year have your tires completely inspected by a tire dealer that sells your brand of tire. If you have a trailer you should have a "Free Spin" inspection to check for Radial or Lateral runout as seen in this video.  I covered the examination of this "Failed" tire in my post on how to inspect your tires.

#4 And now the tough one here. Go to my blog Archive (lower right side) and go back to oldest post and "Resolve" to review four posts each week. Now you don't have to remember everything but I do hope that when you are done you will have an idea of where to go when a question comes up and you will hopefully remember reading something on the topic of interest and you can then go back and re-read the specific post.

May you all have a Safe and Tire Problem Free 2015.
Roger Marble   aka Tireman9

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