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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Help It's hot and I need tires

That's the message I read on an RV forum.
Here is the pertinent background info.

   "I am having a real issue with Michelin tires.  I live in Las Vegas and there are 3 tire companies that carry Michelin tires.  The problem is they all tell me they are back ordered and have been for awhile.  They have no idea when they will get any.  I have a 40' 2008 RV that came with Goodyear tires and have serviced us well.  I just don't know what do do since I can't get Michelin tires which seems to be the tire to get. Should I settle for Goodyears that are in stock?  My other issue is we are going on a trip next week that we can't get out of and because of the extreme heat here in Vegas we are afraid that our old tires might just fly apart. What should I do?"


While I can't address tire availability from Michelin, you need to remember that there are generally considered to be 3 tiers of tire companies. Michelin, Bridgestone & Goodyear as #1 with the tires made & sold by these companies as being essentially the same  ie Firestone & Dayton ~ Bridgestone, Kelly & Dunlop~ Goodyear and Goodrich & Uniroyal ~ Michelin.

Now there are some minor differences within a corporation but many times the rubber compounds and reinforcement materials are identical or very similar. Tread designs may be a bit more advances in the Corporate brand and the top of the line tires may not have an equivalent in the 2nd brand  but for most people you will not see a difference in performance.

#1 tier have their own tire stores with many hundred nationwide.

Now Tier #2 would be tires made by corporations that have their own tire plants. These would be companies like Toyo, Pirelli, and others seen on this list. They may not have any company stores and jsut depend on large tire distributors to market their tires.

3rd tire would be companies that are not on the list above. These may actually be just sales companies the have other companies make lower cost product for them as "private brand" , Sometimes the same tire is made for a number of importers with only a name-plate change in the mold to differentiate the "brand" These companies seldom have their own stores but sell their products through wholesalers.

Check the tire warranty and I think you can get a good feeling for the real quality of the tires you might be considering. Are there lots of exceptions or if the warranty short could be a tip off that the seller isn't real willing to stand behind the products they are selling

Now to your concern about your current tires and the hot temperature.  It's kind of hard offering an opinion or suggestion on if you need new tires right away or not, but tires simply do not fail simply because it is hot outside. Excess heat is not good for long term durability but if the tires have always been properly inflated, never been punctures or run even a few psi low you should be OK for a while.

You didn't offer your actual age of your tires but they are probably 7 to 8 years old. You also failed to provide info on how you store your tires. Inside or out in the Sun? Do you have a lot or a little extra load capacity based on actual individual tire position weights? Do you run a TPMS and have never run lower than what is needed to carry your actual measured load. All of these items can contribute to making a suggestion to change your tires right away or suggesting that you can wait a few weeks or months.

If concerned about road or ambient temperature just drop the speed down. Don't run 70 when 60 will still get you there. Last Aug I drove Ohio to Oregon at 60 - 62 with no problem.

Can you increase your tire pressure without exceeding the tire or wheel max?

Where are you headed?  Have you checked to see if there is a large tire dealer at a future location that has tires for your RV in stock?

In the meantime I would suggest you go to a Goodyear truck tire dealer and have the tires inspected. Let them know your concern about the tire age and current hot temp in Vegas. Let them know your actual scale weights (Go to a local truck scale location first. There are a number around Vegas I'm sure)  and your normal cold inflation. WHile there ask if they would confirm the accuracy of your pressure gauge. If a stick type +/- 5 is about what I would expect. If digital (better) +/- 2 would be good. If outside these numbers you need a new gauge. Check my blog on tire gauges and how to have a reliable "Master Gauge" of your own for less than $15.
The tech should be familiar with the Goodyear tires you have so can offer first hand information on the condition of your tires.
Remember you can always get just the two fronts replaced as a failure there would be the greatest concern. With a TPM on the rear duals a failure would be less dramatic and you should get plenty of warning so you can safely pull over quickly before serious damage is done.

It would be nice to be able to offer more specific answer to his question but all to often people fail to provide important information that would allow more than a wild guess.

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