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Old 11-28-2018, 10:00 AM   #1
Winnebago Owner
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 159
Why do tires fail?

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 until 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. [moderator edit] A TPMS can provide warning of air loss so is good insurance and can easily pay for itself.

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 losing 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 on 18F. Running a margin of at least 15% between capacity and the measured load is a good first step. Running at a higher speed will also generate excess heat.

Realizing that over half of the RVs on the road have one or more tire in overload is one main contributor to the high tire failure rate. 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 a 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 you are considering?
Retired Design & Quality Tire Eng. Have a tire blog RVTireSafety.NET Scheduled to give tire seminars at FMCA Convention in Lincoln, NE Aug 23-27 2022
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:01 AM   #2
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rarebear.nm's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Santa Fe, NM
Posts: 133
I have followed your postings and have learned from them- thank you. One question I do not remember being addressed is if there is an effect and to what extend does out of balance tires have on sidewalls in term of slow damage and over temperature while running at speed (say 65 mph).

I use balancing beads in all tires on both RVs. They "seem" better than fixed weights, but no real data just my opinion. Any thoughts on this?
Fred & Denise (RVM157) New Mexico
2007 Excel Classic 30RSO & 2015 Mini Winnie 22R
2007 RAM 3500, Diesel, 6Spd Auto, SWD, 4x4, CC & LB
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