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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Why are tires such a hot topic on RV Forums? - Quick question; Quick answer

Here is part of a post I just read...
" I do not understand why there is such an issue on this forum on tires? Yes many RVs come with junk tires and you need to replace them with a better tire as I did.
A few people post the facts but as the saying goes you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it take a drink."

My reply:
I think the reason tires are a hot topic on each of the RV forums I try and monitor is that most people only have their experience with their personal car as a background. With their car they basically have learned, incorrectly, that they can usually get away with doing zero maintenance i.e. checking load or inflation, and they still never seem to have tire problems.

The reality is that car companies have teams of engineers working on just tires & wheels. The tires have dozens of performance requirements that the tire company must meet before they can sell tires to the car company. In the RV world I think the only requirement from the RV assembler is low cost.

Another thing is that cars specify inflation that gives 15% to 25% safety margin for load (with a few notable exceptions such as Ford Explorer of the 90's with what I think was a 1 psi margin.) This means people can go from oil change to oil change and not have to check their tires and just trusting the service station will adjust the air every few months.

When someone purchases their first RV there is lots to learn and tires are low on their list since they never had problems before so since everyone knows tires are just round black things that cost too much why bother to learn how to make them last?

Then they have a failure or see someone with an RV have a failure and suddenly they learn they need to pay attention. What they get is "Campfire Experts" providing partially correct to completely wrong information.

Then they discover RV forums. So they ask the same questions and with a few notable exceptions they get the same answers they got around the campfire.

I know of only two actual tire engineers lurking on various RV forums. There are few others with what appears to be solid engineering background and sadly a lot of self proclaimed "Experts" who base their answers on their personal experience rather than the Science of tire mechanics.

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