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Why do tires fail. Answer from a Tire Design Engineer


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Tires fail from two basic causes.
Low air pressure
Long term degradation of the rubber usually from excess heat.

Low pressure (active leak from puncture or loose valve stem or valve core are most common reasons) can lead to a Sidewall Flex failure or more commonly called a "Blowout". The sidewall cord can melt (polyester) or fatigue (steel). Many TT owners fail to realize that they will never "feel" the results of a tire losing air till it is too late and they are surprised when the sidewall lets go. The rapid air loss "bang", even when the tire only has about 10 to 20 psi in it, is a big surprise IF they even hear it.  A TPMS can provide warning of air loss so is good insurance and can easily pay for itself with a single warning of air loss.

The long term degradation of the rubber at the edges of the belts can lead to a belt and/or tread separation. Even if the tire keeps its air you can have this type of failure so a TPMS will not provide a warning. This degradation comes with age as rubber is always loosing flexibility. Just think of those rubber bands you found in the back of the desk drawer. Even in cool and dark they got brittle. HOWEVER running at or near or above the load capacity of a tire will result in increased heat generation. Increased heat actually can accelerate the aging process with a doubling of the rate each increase of 18F. Running a margin of at least 15% between capacity and measured load is a good first step. Running at high speed can also generate excess heat. (65mph max for ST type tires and &%mph max for all other RV applications. (Note, there even are a few tires out there with a 62 mph max)

Realizing that over half of the RVs on the road have one or more tire or axle in overload is one main contributor to the high rate of tire failures. Simply thinking that a tire will fail because the tire plant building is painted blue rather than green is not logical.

Buying the lowest cost "no-name" tires is IMO a major contributor to poor results. If the main objective is the lowest cost tire why would anyone be surprised with short tire life.
Just paying more however is no guarantee of better quality. I believe the best tool available is comparing Warranty and service support.

Can you get multi year warranty on the tires? Is it possible to get Road Hazard coverage? Is there a nationwide network of dealers who stock the brand & size & type  you are considering?

If you want to learn more from an actual Tire design Engineer check out one of my tire seminars or read my blog on RV Tire Safety.

Check out my Blog www.RVTireSafety.NET


I serve on Tech Advisory board of FMCA as their Tire Expert.

Give three different seminars on tires at RV events and I also give three seminars on Genealogy too.

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