JimK

RV Tire Issues

42 posts in this topic

Tires seem to be on the top of the list when it comes to RV safety.  I have a few questions and would appreciate some help.

I am sure it is best to have tires that greatly exceed the load capacity.  Unfortunately I have 17 inch rims on my truck and choices are limited without spending a great amount of money to upsize both rims and tires.  I would like some additional information on tire load capacity.  Is it safe and reasonable to run tires at the load capacity ratings?  If so, is it still safe it run those tires at full load when the tires have tens of thousands of miles on them?

Now that I am not a full timer, my mileage is low.  I am concerned about the number of years that a tire can be kept in service.  I saw on the Michelin webpage that minor cracking is acceptable and expected over time.  I certainly do not know how to make a judgment about what is minor cracking.  Regardless of the definition is a tire still safe at maximum load when some cracking is visible?

Several years ago I pulled a spare from under my truck and intended to use it.  At the time it was 4 years old.  It showed signs of severe dry rot with deep cracks.  Is there some way to extend the life of tires?  In this case there was no exposure to sunlight but can covers help?  Do tire sprays and treatments help or hurt?

Again, it seems that tires are extremely important for RVers.  I would appreciate any help or reliable sources of additional information. 

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Now that I am not a full timer, my mileage is low.  I am concerned about the number of years that a tire can be kept in service.  I saw on the Michelin webpage that minor cracking is acceptable and expected over time.  I certainly do not know how to make a judgment about what is minor cracking.  Regardless of the definition is a tire still safe at maximum load when some cracking is visible?

Several years ago I pulled a spare from under my truck and intended to use it.  At the time it was 4 years old.  It showed signs of severe dry rot with deep cracks.  Is there some way to extend the life of tires?  In this case there was no exposure to sunlight but can covers help?  Do tire sprays and treatments help or hurt?

Again, it seems that tires are extremely important for RVers.  I would appreciate any help or reliable sources of additional information. 

You first need to know that your truck is plated to carry what ever loads that you want to carry.  The engineers place the appropriate tires on there to carry that load.  The amount of years depends on a lot of factors, but the tires will give you indications, signs.  If you are concerned about the judgement on cracking, I would take it to a reputable tire shop for them to look at them.  It should only take a few minutes and they hopefully, should not charge you for looking at them.  

I treat my tires with 303 Aerospace.  Cracking is basically the rubber losing moisture, dry rotting.  303 helps to keep that from happening and has a UV blockers in the product.

 

303® Aerospace Protectant™

 
  • Matte finish with no oily and greasy residue
  • Keeps treated surfaces looking new
  • Prevents fading and cracking
  • Restores lost color and luster
  • Powerful UV blockers
  • Anti-Static, repels smudges, dust, soiling and staining
  • Easy to use, simply spray on and wipe dry
  • Safe and effective for vinyl, clear vinyl, gel-coat, fiberglass, carbon fiber, synthetic/natural rubber, plastics and finished leather

 

Edited by rynosback

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Tire age is clearly an important issue as is the place where those tires are stored when not in use. 

8 hours ago, JimK said:

Is it safe and reasonable to run tires at the load capacity ratings?

The answer to this is clearly yes, since the tire design does allow for some margin of safety, but that also assumes that the tire is in good condition and all tire manufacturers have an age limit to the warranty, usually about 7 to 10 years. Once past that age, it becomes very difficult to say with accuracy, particularly for we who are not experts. Most tire manufacturers say that to run older tires they should be unmounted and examined by an expert each year of use. Because of the cost for that service, many of us tend to just replace the tires at some point in time, based on tire age.  On the issue of tread depth, I think you will find that the tire manufacturer will stand behind that as long as the upper age for warranty has not passed.

Spare tires are problematic today because we use them so little. Most manufacturers say that a tire ages better when being used on the roads than it does just sitting idle because the flexing and heating of travel keep the compounds in proper condition. It should be safe to use a spare up to the stated time limit of the warranty but beyond that the risk increases. The lack of use is the reason that so many motorhomes today do not come with a spare. I wonder if that will soon happen on trucks as well. 

There are at least two members of these forums who work in the tire industry, Tirerman9, and TireHobby, so perhaps one or both of them will read your thread and join in as they are probably a better source of information than most of us. 

 

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Thanks for the responses.  I would like to add one more concern/question.  Since I run my rear tires at 100% of rated load capacity I am very careful about tire pressure.  Of course, I set the pressure when the tires are cold.  I just am not sure what cold means.  The temperature variation in the Spring is especially variable.  One morning it might be 50 degrees and the next it might be 75.  That variation will make a substantial variation in the tire pressure.  So far I have been shooting for some sort of average but I don't know if that makes sense.

 

BTW, I have not had any RV tires that lasted 7-10 years.  I pulled a spare from under the truck to put it in rotation.  It was only 4 years old and had never even been exposed to the sunlight.  It was cracked and dry rotted.  I just has to replace my front tires dated 5 years ago.  The treads had plenty of life but the tires had minor cracks.

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Tires are a very a subjective subject for most RV' s and everyone has different ideas that work for them. In my case I run the tires until they fail, either with noticeable cracks or belt separations, in fact I had one blow out last week and it was no big deal for myself. Other people will treat tires as a rocket science project and replace tires as soon as they reach a certain age. My advice would be to take your truck to a knowledge tire dealer (or couple of dealers) and let them advise a tire based on your usage and level of risk you are willing to accept.

Greg

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9 hours ago, JimK said:

Thanks for the responses.  I would like to add one more concern/question.  Since I run my rear tires at 100% of rated load capacity I am very careful about tire pressure.  Of course, I set the pressure when the tires are cold.  I just am not sure what cold means.  The temperature variation in the Spring is especially variable.  One morning it might be 50 degrees and the next it might be 75.  That variation will make a substantial variation in the tire pressure.  So far I have been shooting for some sort of average but I don't know if that makes sense.

 

BTW, I have not had any RV tires that lasted 7-10 years.  I pulled a spare from under the truck to put it in rotation.  It was only 4 years old and had never even been exposed to the sunlight.  It was cracked and dry rotted.  I just has to replace my front tires dated 5 years ago.  The treads had plenty of life but the tires had minor cracks.

A cold tire is a tire that has not been driven on for several hours, overnight.  A tire will heat up with just driving on them for a mile.  The tire pressure should be set to the pressure that is posted on a sticker inside you ur door jamb. The max  pressure on the tire is the tire manufactures max cold rating.  Go by the plate as the manufacture has calculated everything.  

One thing that you could also do is have your tires filled with nitrogen.

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What type truck?  I ran Michelins in a 17" rim size for several years.  You can move to a 19.5, or even 18" aftermarket depending on the brand.  Ram, Ford, Chevy all offer 18-20" rims on stock trucks depending on configurations.  Many aftermarket tire and rim sellers will have new takeoffs from the guys that have to have bling on their new truck.  

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I have a 2010 Ram 2500 with 17 inch rims. 

It seems that the most feasible upgrade is to 19.5 inch rims.  Rickson wanted about $3500 for rims and tires with new TPMS sensors, balancing and shipping.  At this point I have been putting new tires on the rear, running for about 30K miles and then moving them to the front.  At least that has been the plan.  This year I had to replace the front tires due to age.  Now I have pretty new tires all around.  This year's purchase of 2 tires was $550.  That is a long way from the cost of upgrading.

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8 hours ago, JimK said:

I have a 2010 Ram 2500 with 17 inch rims. 

It seems that the most feasible upgrade is to 19.5 inch rims.  Rickson wanted about $3500 for rims and tires with new TPMS sensors, balancing and shipping.  At this point I have been putting new tires on the rear, running for about 30K miles and then moving them to the front.  At least that has been the plan.  This year I had to replace the front tires due to age.  Now I have pretty new tires all around.  This year's purchase of 2 tires was $550.  That is a long way from the cost of upgrading.

Why move the worn to the front?  If you move front to rear then you always have the most tread on the steer axle.  Or depending on where you travel and purchased the tires from, you can have them rotated at 7500 miles for free.  Discount tire will do that nationwide, provided it's feasible to use that chain.  

Since you have 4 ties on the ground and the spare that you may or may not want in the rotation due to the rim, or extra cost in removing and remounting the tire, I would do the standard mileage rotation X or Front to Back.  

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Remo..., thanks for the link.  I took a quick look and it seems interesting.

A&J, For a car or even an RV with a relatively even axle weight distribution, it makes sense to have the best tires in the front.  That is not the case for a truck camper or an RV with a lot of weight on one axle.  I have a bit over 5000 pounds on the front axle and over 6000 pounds on the rear axle.  That difference in weight distribution has a huge effect.  The rear tires wear at a much faster rate.  The front tires are set for about 75 psi and on the road the pressures go up to a bit over 80 psi.  I set the rear tires at the maximum of 80 psi.  On the road the pressures quickly build to 93 psi and then the TPMS stops working and just shows a nonsense pressure reading of 254.  Clearly the rear tires are working much harder.  That is why I want my best tires on the rear axle and also why I started this thread.

BTW, free or not, I never rotate tires on my cars and haven't done so for the past 30 years or more.  If there is a problem with something like alignment, tire rotation just covers up the issue.  I have not had an alignment issue.  That was something that seemed to happen frequently in the old days but not with modern cars.  When I was commuting to work I got about 90K miles out of my tires.  Now I drive much less and expect to have to replace car tires strictly due to age.

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On 6/8/2017 at 0:00 AM, JimK said:

Tires seem to be on the top of the list when it comes to RV safety.  I have a few questions and would appreciate some help.

I am sure it is best to have tires that greatly exceed the load capacity.  Unfortunately I have 17 inch rims on my truck and choices are limited without spending a great amount of money to upsize both rims and tires.  I would like some additional information on tire load capacity.  Is it safe and reasonable to run tires at the load capacity ratings?  If so, is it still safe it run those tires at full load when the tires have tens of thousands of miles on them?

Now that I am not a full timer, my mileage is low.  I am concerned about the number of years that a tire can be kept in service.  I saw on the Michelin webpage that minor cracking is acceptable and expected over time.  I certainly do not know how to make a judgment about what is minor cracking.  Regardless of the definition is a tire still safe at maximum load when some cracking is visible?

Several years ago I pulled a spare from under my truck and intended to use it.  At the time it was 4 years old.  It showed signs of severe dry rot with deep cracks.  Is there some way to extend the life of tires?  In this case there was no exposure to sunlight but can covers help?  Do tire sprays and treatments help or hurt?

Again, it seems that tires are extremely important for RVers.  I would appreciate any help or reliable sources of additional information. 

Are your current tires the same size as the Original Equipment tires shown on the truck's certification label/tire placard?

Are they Passenger or Light Truck tires?

 Do you exceed your truck's GVWR?

 

P.S.   I'm not a trained tire expert. Just a layman that studies tires. Tireman9 has 30 years experience as a tire engineer. 

Edited by TireHobby

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Tires are LT, size 265 70R 17 rated just at 3190 pounds.  Truck is a Dodge Ram 2500.  GVWR is just under 10K; Truck and camper weight about 11.5K.   About 5K on the front axle and 6.5K on the rear. 

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On 6/11/2017 at 0:16 AM, JimK said:

Tires are LT, size 265 70R 17 rated just at 3190 pounds.  Truck is a Dodge Ram 2500.  GVWR is just under 10K; Truck and camper weight about 11.5K.   About 5K on the front axle and 6.5K on the rear. 

So you're over the truck's GVWR. You don't need tires, you need to get under the truck's GVWR. Tires are fitted to GAWR with some reserve load capacity in the GAWR. When you exceed the GAWRs you're automatically going to go over GVWR.

The weakest link is the GVWR. It's your "do not exceed limit".  

Edited by TireHobby

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15 hours ago, TireHobby said:

So you're over the truck's GVWR. You don't need tires, you need to get under the truck's GVWR. Tires are fitted to GAWR with some reserve load capacity in the GAWR. When you exceed the GAWRs you're automatically going to go over GVWR.

The weakest link is the GVWR. It's your "do not exceed limit".

Not True, GVWR is calculated and tested by the manufacture for the max weight the vehicle should handle with out sacrificing handling, braking, and drivetrain stress. The "do not exceed limit" or fail point design is way above the GVWR suggested weight. An operator can safely operate a vehicle and legally with a little extra caution and skill. We run farm trucks all the time over GVWR and they do ride like a lumber wagon and are slow, but they are still legal and safe with a cautious/skillful operator. I suspect JimK is a fully capable operator and claims he has been running 100% loads for a while.

Edit - LEO's only check wt according to the individual axle rating. Driving skill is more important than exceeding a manufactures suggested GVWR (comfortable ride rating).

Greg

Edited by gjhunter01

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13 minutes ago, gjhunter01 said:

Not True, GVWR is calculated and tested by the manufacture for the max weight the vehicle should handle with out sacrificing handling, braking, and drivetrain stress. The "do not exceed limit" or fail point design is way above the GVWR suggested weight. An operator can safely operate a vehicle and legally with a little extra caution and skill. We run farm trucks all the time over GVWR and they do ride like a lumber wagon and are slow, but they are still legal and safe with a cautious/skillful operator. I suspect JimK is a fully capable operator and claims he has been running 100% loads for a while.

Greg

Just because you can run over the GVWR and have done so does not mean it is legal to do so.  If you exceed any of the manufacturers weight ratings and get stopped and weighed by a LEO trained to do so, you can and probably will get cited or maybe even shut down until the load can be off loaded to another vehicle to get you under ratings.

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1 hour ago, Chad Heiser said:

Just because you can run over the GVWR and have done so does not mean it is legal to do so.  If you exceed any of the manufacturers weight ratings and get stopped and weighed by a LEO trained to do so, you can and probably will get cited or maybe even shut down until the load can be off loaded to another vehicle to get you under ratings.

I agree.  Why would anyone want to drive white knuckled?  Like said, you need to have a different camper or a bigger truck.  ALLWAYS better to have to much truck.  It makes it safe for you and most importantly safer for the innocent bystanders that are around your u when driving.  Because something fits in your bed does not mean that it is safe.  Every factor like, brakes and cooling systems are designed to carry loads up to a certain weight.  

Yes there is a little cushion in GVWR, but to carry over weight for a period of time is not safe.  If you're u went to Home Depot and picked up a little to much mulch and only had to drive a mile or so. I could understand.

Edited by rynosback

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People who advocate and drive overweight vehicles make me angry. I have a class A diesel pusher and drive conservatively. Last year we were on I-40 in New Mexico and an overload vehicle passes me and about 100 feet past me he lost a rear tire. he came across my lane about 25 feet in front of me sideways. Because I leave space around me and try to keep the space along side me clear I was able to safely switch lanes and barely miss him as he went off the side of the road. Because he decided to or had no clue he was overweight he endangered everyone that was on the road near him. Please get a properly sized vehicle so innocent people around you are not endangered.

Edited by accumack

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My questions are about tires.  I know I am plus or minus a couple hundred pounds of the max load rating for the rear tires.  I have reduced some weight so I am probably on the low side at this point. 

Regarding the GVWR, I am over.  My truck is a Ram 2500.  If I had the Ram 3500 I would have a GVWR of 12,200 pounds which is well over the weight of my rig.  I would have bought a 3500 but there were none available and a very long delay waiting for a order from the factory since Dodge was starting to tool up for the next model year.  Research showed the 2500 and 3500 for that model year are almost identical.  They have the same turbo diesel, transmission, brakes, axles and body parts.  The differences are wheels, tires and springs.  I am within the wheel load ratings.  I have a snow blower option and extra capacity front springs.  I also upgraded to Rancho shocks so I could tune the ride.  To up the spring capacity and allow some further suspension tuning, I started with airbags.  Later I added Supersprings.  The Supersprings were the biggest improvement and probably all I needed.   

Again, where I am marginal is with the tires.  I wish I had 16 inch rims since there are plenty of tire load rating choices.  With 17 inch rims, it seems the max load rating available is 3195 pounds.  Upgrading seems to mean 19.5 inch rims.  If I lived in the Midwest or West, I could go to tire shop and upgrade at a cost of about $2500.  On the East coast my options seem very limited.  I have quotes from Rickson at about $3500.  That seems like a huge cost.  I probably should have done that upgrade at the start of my RVing.  Now my travels are minimal.  I have not gone anywhere in well over a year.  This summer I am starting with new tires and will probably only drive 7000 to 10000 miles.

So far I have used my truck and camper for 7 years and 75K miles.  I have had two issues with tire damage.  The first was a minor sidewall cut at about 30K miles.  I decided to replace 2 tires and put the newest on the rear axle.  At year 4 and about 50K miles, I decided to replace my 2 original tires.  I planned to buy one tire and use the spare.  The spare was dry rotted so I bought 2 new tires.  I drove about 3K miles including a few miles on a gravel road.  A sharp rock cut right through the center of the tread of one of my new tires.  I only replaced that tire.  Now 2 years later, my oldest tires were from 2012.  They had minimal tread wear but were starting to show signs of dry rot and cracking.  I replaced them.  Now I have 2017 new tires on the rear and 2015 tires with about 10K miles on the front.  So in 7 years and 75K miles I have had to buy 7 tires.  I am not sure if 19.5 tires would have made any difference except for increasing the cost of those replacements.    

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Your tires are not marginal for a properly loaded truck. Get down to GVWR and balance your load and you're well within the tire's specs. 

As an owner you can do nothing to gain or increase their truck's GVWR. Only the vehicle manufacturer or a certified vehicle modifier can do that.

Read vehicle certification in 49 CFR  Part 567.

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The GVWR comes from the manufacturer.  Of course, I cannot change it.  Nor would I want to.  I just want  to know if it is safe and reasonable to run tires at the tire manufacturer's load rating.

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It sounds like your tire issues are from road hazards not load issues. Even the best and newest tires can get cut and punctured with road debris. If you had tire overload issues, you would have experienced more blow out issues.

Greg

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I just read JimK's locked thread. I don't think I want to participate in his thread. I think he knows exactly what he wants to know and this thread is less about tires than it is about stirring the pot.

See ya

Edited by Big5er

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I guess you decided to participate anyway.

In terms of "stirring the pot", I asked specific questions and expressed specific concerns.  I did get some help, including a thoughtful response from Kirk and a link to some additional information.

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3 hours ago, Big5er said:

I just read JimK's locked thread. I don't think I want to participate in his thread. I think he knows exactly what he wants to know and this thread is less about tires than it is about stirring the pot.

See ya

The forum policeman strikes again!

Most problems don't have black/white solutions, there are many shades of gray to solve a individuals problem. By bringing up other points (stirring the pot) a discussion can better refine a solution. Discussion is gaining knowledge and a lot cheaper than buying the wrong tires, It's what engineers do to solve problems, look at everything.

Greg

Edited by gjhunter01

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