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Monday, January 9, 2017

Want better quality tires on your RV?

Many people want to complain around campfires or on RV forums about the poor quality of various components on their RV. While I can't address systems such as Refrigerators, Holding Tanks, or Furnaces, I can comment on the quality of tires selected for placement on RVs.

With an industry that focuses on quantity and low cost, is it any wonder that tire performance isn't as good as we would like? We need to remember that while there are laws specifying the minimum performance and capabilities of RV tires, I am not aware of any legal requirement against providing tires that can support more load than the minimum requirement or with speed capabilities higher than what most feel is a reasonable and safe operating speed for large RVs and/or trailers.

I have written a few times about how to file a complaint with NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency that establishes minimum performance requirements for tires) and you can easily find those posts using the list of links on the left side of this page.

I feel this topic continues to be important given recent posts on and that have been on the low quality of RV components.

I just read a post from a fellow RV owner that had a couple of tire failures. When I asked if he filed a complaint with NHTSA, he said: "Couldn't report anything. We were on the side of I-95 middle of nowhere going south. All I know is tire blew out on inside, there was a hole. Front passenger tire."

So, because he no longer had the tire he can't provide the info needed by NHTSA for their database.

I replied: "Well, that's a perfect example of why it is important for everyone to have a written record of the tire DOT, size and brand info on file with other important information you keep for other components of the RV such as Refrigerator, Furnace, Generator, TV, etc.

"Many complain about the poor durability of tires in RV application but very few bother to take the basic steps needed to get the information to the DOT. NHTSA (department of DOT) can investigate products if there are sufficient complaints received, and if they find an automotive component doesn't meet the required standards they can order a recall. Recalls can result in replacement tires being given to owners.

"However for a complaint to be minimally helpful in establishing poor performance the full DOT (including date code) is needed. All too often there is confusion in the terminology of tire company, brand and model. Some owners do not provide the correct or complete tire size, giving info such as 225-15 for example.

"I have a number of posts on my blog about recalls and NHTSA if people want to learn more.

"If not interested in getting better-performing tires on your next RV, that's your choice. But I have little compassion for people who have problems but aren't willing to spend 10 minutes filing an actionable complaint. Remember a bit@# session around the campfire or on an RV forum will never result in an improvement in RV component quality."

I have also read an account of an RV owner who did file a complaint and apparently the tire importer read the NHTSA report and the guy ended up getting a set of tires free. Now, this is very unusual but it did happen. But again, if you don't have the DOT S/N, I do not see how you can file a complaint, and if you don't file complaints why would you expect there to be a recall?

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  1. Roger, you and I both beat this to death. It just seems like no one is listening.

  2. I agree, but the quote is from an RV forum post of last week. I will probably continue to say the same stuff over and over again till I give up trying to help people avoid problems.


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