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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rolling Resistance - Time For Tires!

    Tires. If your RV moves, you need them. I didn't give much thought to my tires when I bought the Aero Cruiser. They were from a warm climate. Stored with tire covers and looked great. Still do in fact. I knew I would need to buy them at some point and I knew that tires can have many things go wrong inside over time that WILL NOT show on the outside of the tire. It's not only about environmental conditions and driving style/speed. There are many factors that can reduce a tire's life-span.



After a little bit of research, I found that every tire has a date code stamped on it. If your tire was manufactured after 2000 it will have a four digit code molded into the sidewall rubber. The first 2 digits are the week it was produced in the year. (06 would be February) and 2 digits denoting the year. (11 would be 2011.) If your tire was manufactured previous to 2000 then the date code will only have 3 digits. 2 for the week and ONE for the year. Mine were made in 1999!!

Aero Cruiser Wheel Well Destroyed
Old tires aren't worth the stress and possible disaster. Another Aero Cruiser owner had a rear tire disintegrate while driving. Thankfully no one was hurt, but the damage to the RV was significant. The tire chunks ripped through the fiberglass wheel well through a support and destroyed quite a bit of the interior. This could have been MUCH worse. I am not trying to scare anyone, but with the cost of most tires, it's not much of a cost savings to put it off buying until a failure. The repair to this RV will get into the thousands very quickly.


Looks Can Be Deceiving!
Check your tires! Low or high pressure, condition and age all can contribute to early failures. Yes, I know that tires can go past the 7 year limit imposed by the manufacturer. You'll probably be OK. I mean I'm riding on almost 13 year old tires now. That being said, I WILL be replacing them in the spring before I take any trips at all. My tires aren't that expensive or too hard to find. They are LT235/85 R16 - 10 Ply Load Range "E". That translates to a "Light Truck" tire. I will likely buy whatever model came after the ones I have now from the same manufacturer. The most important thing is to make sure the tire you buy has at least the same load range as the one your RV manufacturer calls for.

Size And Ply Rating
Load range is what specifies how much weight and individual tire will carry at a given pressure (PSI.) It's a good idea to have your RV weighed at a location that can give you all four corners separately. Make sure you load all you gear and fill the water tank. You can go further and check the weight when you are at half tanks. Often that will change the weight distribution based upon where the tanks actually are mounted in your chassis. These weights will give a true indication of the load/weight that each tire is required to carry. You may find you are overweight...this is bad as it puts additional stress on the tires that could lead to a failure. Not to mention odd handling quirks.

The bottom line? Get the correct load range tire for your RV!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"
www.thewanderman.com








13 comments:

  1. We had a used 1993 Fleetwood Flair that we had repainted and refurbished. Ran great! Tires looked great too! Had a blowout on our winter trip last year on a dual. Thought it was a fluke. A few miles down the road, the spare blew out too! (AAA loves us). Found out about the DOT codes, and our tires were born in 2000, which made them 11 years old. Plus, the inside of the tires had anti-freeze in them! Could only find 4 new tires at a dealer in the area and had them put all 4 on the rear duals, as they weren't the exact same size as the other tires. Planned to get the other 3 tires about 350 miles further into our trip. Wouldn't you know it -- the FRONT passenger tire blew out and from all the twisting of the RV frame, all sorts of mechanical damage happened. The blowout itself was violent and very scary. We are lucky to be alive. We did give up the RV and had to rent U-Haul to get home. (AAA paid for all). We are so lost without our RV and plan to get another, but what a trip from hell that was. The max we'll go now on tires is 7 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon,
      Glad everyone was OK.. It could have been MUCH worse. Have fun looking for your new RV!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

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    2. Where can I take a 5th wheel so that each corner can be weighed separately? Great article.

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    3. Anon,
      Thanks! I had luck getting four corners weighed at some Truck scale companies, even airports. Some FBO (fixed base operators) have portable scales. There are companies that sell by the ton...gravel, stone, sand, etc. That have scales. Often garbage transfer stations will have scales. The newer the scales the more likely they can do separate corners.

      Thanks again,

      Rich "The Wanderman"

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    4. Take tour unit through a CLOSED Oregon or British Columbia weigh station, They leave the power on and you can read the weight. Since noone is around move over and weigh one side then move over and weigh the other side. I find the front wheels fit on the front scale, rear tires on middle scale and towed completely fits on last scale, so the entire rig can be weighed at one time.

      Delete
    5. Anon,
      Great Idea! Though you'd have to be in Oregon!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

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    6. Ethyl glycol will eat a tire alive from the inside.

      Either someone hated the sellers, or someone was deliberately trying to cause a wreck cause there's no reason anti-freeze should ever be inside a tire.

      Delete
  2. Wanderman, If you haven't been in Oregon yet, you haven't seen Heaven. That is what it will look like.
    Late one day I was driving thru the Mojave Desert and one of my tire peeled the tread. Did $1900 damage to the RV. Sitting next to the road where trucks and cars and low flying jets were going by at least 70 MPH for an hour and a half was no fun. Then 90 miles further on the other inside dual also peeled off. No damage from this. But these tires were only 2 years old. Lesson, don't buy cheap tires. I did get paid for the tires by the installers and he reminded me I went for cheap instead of good. I spent twice the price for the new ones (all 6) and the insurance paid for the damage.
    ChuckD

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    Replies
    1. Anon,
      Oregon on Next season's travel list...check!

      Amazing how much damage can be caused by a disintegrating tire carcass! It all and well to say, "everyone was OK," but the pain in the wallet can be significant as well!

      Glad you were OK.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  3. I weigh my truck and 5th wheel on a CAT scales at a local Loves. It gives me a printed certified readout of all 4 axles.

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    Replies
    1. Anon,
      Excellent suggestion!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

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  4. I find it odd that I've never found a Cat scale in NC, SC or VA that will weigh individuals tires; only front and rear axles. I have a Class A 37 foot so driving around an airport with many low clearance lanes is not appealing to me. I've asked truckers all over the southeast about the weigh stations off the various interstates and they said individual corners are not weighed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maryann,
      As always YMMV. I've never been to a CAT scale, so I am not familiar with their gear. The airports I am talking about are the smaller ones. NOT a giant city version. Call first, they're usually quite helpful!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete

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