I read a story about someone that had a couple of tire failures on their trailer. He was trying to build a solid steel shield over the tires in the wheel well in an attempt to contain the "Exploding " tire.. I offered a reply...
but IMO trying to "build a shield" just is not a reasonable approach. I
doubt that you can spare the 500 or more pounds of steel it would take for the shield and structure to support the shield. Since
a failure of a tire can be explosive event a solid wall will not let
the force dissipate. You need an open grate. Check out this video to see the forces involved and note the damage to the steel 'safety cage. Note that most of these did not involve a tire spinning at 50 to 65 mph which would add significant force to any explosion.
You need to remember that tires simply do not fail catastrophically without some reason. There is no magic involved.
Starting with a new tire...
It can fail in the sidewall if it is run at highway speeds (30+) while
significantly under-inflated ( 40 to 80% low). Polyester melts. Steel
tires do not need the speed but steel fatigues so after maybe a couple
thousand cycles you get a "zipper" failure. Properly functioning TPMS
can warn of the air loss in the first couple seconds of a loss ( of just
a few psi for some brands). In most cases this early warning will come way before the tire has lost enough air to result in steel fatigue or body cord melting. If you have a TPMS have you tested it? Can
you hear the buzzer over the loud radio?
2. Radials can have a
belt/tread separation. This takes many hundreds or even thousands of
miles to grow large enough for the tire to come apart. This is where the
close inspection in my blog post comes in. As I showed a tire with even
significant separation does not have to come apart at once but it does
leave visible clues.
The reason for belt separation is a
combination of initial tire design and material selection and the long
term use. Initial design can not prevent all damage done through excess
heat and age but current technology in first class radials should
deliver 5-6 years or 30 to 60,000 miles at specified inflation and a max
of 80% load, except for multi axle trailers.
Due to trailer
suspension design there are unique forces "Interply Shear" placed on TT
tires that result is about 24% higher shear forces than seen in
motorized vehicles. This means you would need to run very much decreased
load ( maybe -25% to -50%) to get the same life on a TT application
than the same tire on a TV application.
I do not know of any direct
comparison real life testing so can only guess at the above figures
other than the 24% that comes from Finite Element computer simulation
that is a well developed tool in automotive circles other than the RV
Rubber strength degrades with time and heat with HEAT
being an over-riding contributor. Do you cover your tires with white
covers? This can result is a very significant lowering of tire
temperature. Every hour of full sun exposure can be equivalent to two to
3 hours of use running down the highway at top speed.
example: 8 hours a day 7 days a week for two months each summer can be
the equivalent of 10,000 miles use as far as rubber degradation is
concerned. So if we assume a tire is good for 40,000 miles and you park
it as in the above example after 3 years you may have "consumed the
equivalent of 30.000 mile tire life, just while parked.
IMO making some effort to prevent a failure in the first place (TPMS & frequent inspection) would be a better use of time and money than trying to prevent damage to the RV with some sort of shield.
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