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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Michelin Goodrich tire recall

Just heard about a tire recall which may apply to your pick-up truck or SUV.

Michelin Goodrich tire recall

NHTSA Campaign ID Number: 15T016  Synopsis: Michelin North America, Inc. (MNA) is recalling certain BFGoodrich Commercial T/A All-Season tire size LT275/70R18 125/122Q LRE, BFGoodrich Commercial T/A All-Season 2 sizes LT275/70R18 125/122R LRE, LT235/80R17 120/117R LRE, LT265/70R17 121/118R LRE, LT245/75R17 121/118R LRE, LT245/70R17 119/116R LRE, and BFGoodrich Rugged Terrain T/A sizes LT275/70R18 125/122R LRE and LT275/65R18 123/120R LRE.

 The affected tires may experience rapid air loss due to a rupture in the sidewall in the bead area. If the tire sidewall ruptures during use resulting in a rapid air loss, it can cause loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash. MNA will notify owners, and dealers will provide similar replacement tires free of charge. The recall began on August 24, 2015. Owners may contact BFGoodrich Consumer Care at 1-866-524-2638.

NOTE you will only get a notification if your vehicle/tire dealership filled in the registration card and gave it to you when you bought the vehicle/tires. AND you then finished filling out the card and mailed it in.

If you did not register your Michelin or Goodrich tires you can do so on-line HERE

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What temperature for CIP "cold inflation pressure?

I occasionally see posts on the need to do an adjustment of your Cold Inflation Pressure ( CIP )when the temperature is not at some "standard".

Many times the "standard" is stated to be 70F or 68F. Neither of these are correct.

From a tire design standpoint CIP means when a tire has not been warmed up either by being in direct Sunlight or from having been run.
We are not talking about some chemistry lab experiment but real life. This is defined by the Tire & Rim Association, the organization that published the standards book for tire dimensions and recommended Load & Inflation for all kinds of tires, wheels and valves.
 These standards are primarily intended to provide "interchangeability" as we want to be sure that every 15" tire fits properly on a 15" wheel of the appropriate type. Or that the valve will properly seal against air leaks by having the hole in the wheel of the correct diameter.

Now you don't have to get all wound up with temperature probes or IR guns to confirm a tire has not been warmed up. Just follow the guideline that when checking or adjusting tire pressure to your CIP, the tire should not have been driven more than 2 miles in the previous 2 hours, AND that the tire has not been in direct sunlight or otherwise artificially warmed up in the previous 2 hours.
"Cold" really means when the tire is at the temperature of the surrounding air or what is called "Ambient" temperature.

So unless you are taking your RV to the Antarctic or to the Sahara desert you can use the above as a simple guideline. Even if I were planning a trip from the top of Pikes Peak to Phoenix in a single one day drive I would not worry about making adjustments based on expected temperature. Tires are designed to have a large tolerance for pressure increase due to variations in the surrounding temperature.

Remember the rule of thumb is that tire pressure will only change about 2% for every change of 10F so even going from 30F to 100F might only result in a pressure change of 14%. Now you would probably need to adjust the CIP the next morning before setting out but again you would set the CIP when the tire is in the shade and not driven on for a couple of hours.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Is it time to consider buying tires "Made In China?"

My most popular post was the one back in Jan. 2012, "How-good-are-chinese-tires"

Recently I read a post that I thought some might find interesting on what some with strong sales background have to say about tires made in China, so I'm passing along this link from AutoGuide: "Should-I-buy-tires-made-in-china?" I consider this article to be a good, well-thought-out article on tires made in China.

I have also noticed that while many of the low-cost tires seem to have a warranty that ends about the time you pull out of the tire store or RV dealer's parking lot, there are a few offering 3- to 5-year warranties which make them, in my opinion, worth your consideration.

There are even a couple I know of that are offering 75 mph speed rated tires in ST-type sizes that appear to actually be real commercial-grade tires.

Now, please remember I have not personally conducted testing on many tires made in China so can only work with some limited data, but I do believe that there are tires coming out of China with acceptable quality in them. You still need to consider general availability and what you might need to do if you actually want to make a warranty claim. If you are buying on the Internet, then obviously you will not have a "brick & mortar" location you can go to to get service. You do need to figure the cost and hassle associated with having to ship a failed tire back to some location and what you are going to do about having a replacement available. This might entail the need to have a mounted spare on hand at all times. Just something to consider.

One final comment re the low cost ST-type tires from China seen on many trailers. When evaluating the tires you might see if the tires on the trailer are a brand that you can buy at retail or if they are only seen OE (original equipment) on trailers. If you can't find the tire at retail then there is a good chance it is a low cost "container baby" where the lowest cost per tire in container lots is the only performance criteria considered important by the importer or RV assembler.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

22.5 tire inspection. Confusing answer from dealer

Got this Private Message (PM) about sidewall "Bulges". Will keep it "private" redacting any identifying details but think there is a good learning experience for others here.

 Thanks for sharing your knowledge, and I do like your blog!

I have 5 1/2 year old xxxxxxxxxxxx Mich XZE* tires on our coach. No cracking, and have performed well.

I found sidewall 'bumps' on two tires ("Tire store" Tire Center gent, said they're not 'bulges', as they're so slight). One maybe 3/32" of a protrusion, the other much less. The "tire store" gent said they could be belts that are misplaced or broken. But, he also said the "*" XZE's have a thicker sidewall, and that the outer layer of the tire could have separated.

I know it's hard to give advice based upon a description, but, I wanted to ask your thoughts on the opinion given to me by this "tire store" gent.

He suggested that I monitor the size of the 'bumps' daily, and if they don't grow, he felt that they were safe to drive on. When asked if he would drive on them with his family, he said from what he could see, yes. He commented that the tire was so overrated for what it was carrying weight wise on my RV, that it was not working hard.

I've always thought that once a tire starts to break down, that it was at risk for a catastrophic failure?

The tire was not unmounted for inspection, but if it was a outer layer separation as he said it could be, how would they be able to see this?

Opinion? At 5 1/2 years of age, is it worth even considering monitoring and watching for growth? Or just replace and move on?

(I have a thread on Class A, asking for ride opinions between the XZA2 and the Cont HSL1 in 315/80R size. These are the two I'm currently considering to put on the steers. But, open for input on others to consider too!)

Hope you don't mind the PM, but, I was just a bit uncertain on which way to go.


Here are more pictures of the feature of concern. You can see the small bulge right above the "M"

Here is my reply
First off I do not feel that sidewall "bumps", "bulges" or "protrusions" occur because of misplaced or broken belts. Belts are under the tread not on the sidewall so I have to wonder what training, if any, the "gent" at "tire store" has received on tire construction or inspection procedures. Also not sure what he is talking about as the "outer layer" of the sidewall. In a TBR tire there is basically the thin innerliner then the body ply then the sidewall. So if he thinks the sidewall has separated then the tire has failed and should be replaced.

Now some fact based observations on sidewall bulges or outward protrusion vs depressions that are inward toward the air chamber and are indications of two completely different causes.

The inward depressions can occur once or twice around almost any radial tire. If you take a close look if full sunlight of smooth sidewall tires you will see depressions than might be about 1/4" to 1/2" wide in the circumferential direction. These are caused by the lap splice of body ply material that provides more resistance to the slight growth seen in all radials due to inflation. The depressions will run a radial direction from the wheel to the tread and seem to dispensary as you get near the tread or near the wheel. These are normal and I would only consider them minor cosmetic features of a tire.
An outward bulge may be 1/2" or as large as a couple of inches in the circumferential direction. The larger or more distinct the more concerned I would be about the durability of the tire. Usually bulges are the result of some impact damage done to the body cords that resulted in a few being broken due to shock loading.

Here is a blog post I did with pictures to help people understand.

Here is a post on an Impact Failure I had on my personal car

Now some with small features the eye plays tricks as to it being a bulge out or a depression in.  I have even seen instances of two depressions being close together such that the normal sidewall between the depressions gave the appearance of being a depression. The simple tool to use is a ruler or straight edge and to lay it across the area of interest. This will quickly identify if you have a bulge or depression.

What to do:
Review my blog posts above.
You might also find a different dealer. A simple Google for "Truck Tire Dealer Town"  where "Town" is a near-by larger community, should give you a number of options.
Are you dealing with a TCI  "Passenger/Light truck center" or a "Commercial Truck Center"  For 19.5 and larger size tires I would only deal with a Heavy truck Center.
You might also contact Michelin at their Customer Contact identifies on their RV tire page for a suggested location with people sufficiently trained in tire inspection to pass judgment on your tires.
you can tell them that your not happy with the inspection you got from "tire store" as they don't seem to understand the basics of tuck tire construction.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Are you smarter than a tire dealer? Part 1

With apologies to the TV show "Are you smarter than a 5th grader"...

I sometimes wonder if RV owners are or at least need to be smarter than the average tire salesperson.

I bring this up based on a few recent observations and experiences. Let me give you some examples and then some suggestions to help you get the tires and service you want and need for your RV.

I have read a number of examples where RV owners had their tires inflated by a tire dealer only to later discover a variety of issues such as too much air, too little air, loose or missing valve caps or even loose valve cores. While I am sure that many dealerships want to provide good service, I think it important to remember that many times it is the "new kid" that gets the job of doing a pressure check and the on the job training may be done at your expense.
I would suggest that if you are going to have a dealer do tire inflation, it is in your best interest to provide the tire tech with clear instructions on the pressures you want. If you have more than a single inflation (fronts different than rears for example) maybe just an index card with a simple graphic along with the inflations you want will avoid confusion. You might even consider specifying a few psi higher than your real Cold Inflation Pressure or CIP so the next morning when you do your check with your Master Gauge you can let the pressure down which is always easier than needing to add a couple psi.
Also I suggest a quick walk around after the inflation check to be sure you have metal caps on all your valves. A light tightening twist may not be out of line to ensure you don't loose a cap on the way home.

Now the biggie Tire Buying.

 Next to going to the dentist, buying tires may be one of our least favorite activities in life. I do not expect to change your mind on this and turn the act of visiting a tire store something you look forward to, but I would like to offer some advice to make the task less stressful and possibly extend the time between visits so you have to go tire shopping less often.

Here is where some fact based knowledge can pay off in making the activity less stressful and might even end up saving you some money in the long term for I believe that a better purchasing decision will lead to lower probability of problems.

Lets start off by deciding if we are simply "replacing" out tires with more of the same or if we are "shopping" for tires that might deliver better performance, fewer problems or longer life.

Tire Replacement
If the tires you currently run have delivered satisfactory service, why would you think you need to make a change to a different size, type or brand? To me this would fall under the "It ain't broke, but I'm gonna try and fix it" approach. If your plan is to simply replace the tires you have with a newer set then you have it easy, simply shop for tires identical to what you already have.
When shopping I suggest you first go out and read the sidewall of your current tires. Note the Brand i.e. Goodyear, Michelin, Maxxis, Duro, Cooper etc. Next the type or design. This might be a name like "Marathon" or a number like "S637". Finally and maybe most important the COMPLETE tire size this includes the letters and numbers in front of and after the dimensional numbers and would also include the Service Description part, if any, that comes after the rim diameter. Service Description has two parts: Numbers for Load Index and a letter for the Speed Symbol or Speed Rating

For size something like "235-15" isn't correct and if that is what you tell the tire dealer, what you are really doing is sending the message that you really don't understand tires so an unscrupulous dealer may try and take advantage of you.
Technically an "LT235/75R15 107/110Q Load Range D"
is a different tire than an "LT235/75R15 Load Range D".

If you are not completely clear on this you might want to review THIS post that covers the differences for Passenger and Light Truck type tires.

Trailer or "ST" tires will have markings similar to LT type tires

Class-A Truck Bus Radials or TBR type and European commercial tires will also have size information similar to LT but with no letters in front and of course bigger numbers like "275/80R22.5 Load Range G". For TBR type tires the Service Description part is optional. If your current tires have a Service Description I would include that information when identifying the tires you want to the dealer.

You may find that shopping on the Interweb an exercise in confusion as I find many tires listed with incomplete or even incorrect tire information. Poorly designed web site may not be an indication of the competence of the dealership but it is not a good sign. This might be the first sign that you actually are smarter than the tire dealer.

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