RV Tire Blowouts – 8 Tips to Prevent an Accident
On our recent trip to the Quartzsite RV Show in Arizona, we saw numerous RV’s (mostly trailers) on the side of the road and the owners were replacing a blown out or flattened tire.
Not only are these scary moments for the RV driver, but also for all those in the nearby area. Flying tire debris can not only destroy the siding of your vehicle but also creates a serious, if not deadly debris field.
Here are 8 Tips to Prevent an Accident from a RV Tire Blowout
1. Know Your Tires Maximum Speed Rating
If you’re a truck pulling a trailer, there are reasons why speed limits are posted slower than a normal passenger vehicle. Most trailer tires are not rated to exceed certain speeds. I see it all the time, where a truck pulling a trailer speeds past me like they’re privileged or something. I’m sorry, but the laws of your tires speed rating don’t care who you think you are. If you go too fast and your tires start to overheat, you’re eventually going to have a blowout AND the faster you’re going, the more dangerous the predicament.
We have had some renters in our RV going 85 mph! Luckily we have a GPS on our RV and we get an alert if the renter is speeding. We had to call them and tell them to slow down. Not only were they going way over the speed limit (trying to see too much, too fast) they were also almost at max payload with four adults and four children in the motorhome. Insane!
Do everyone a favor and check your tires maximum speed rating and adhere by the laws. You will not only save your tires but you may save someone’s life (even your own).
2. Know Your Tires Load Range
What is the maximum load your tires can carry? This is another very important (an overlooked) question.
A tires load capacity is based on a Ply Rating, Load Range and Load Index.
The amount of air a tire holds determines the amount of weight the tire can carry. So, to achieve a higher tire load capacity, a tire must hold more air. The tire also must be strong enough for it to hold more air volume and pressure.
Steel ply materials and radial construction are constantly evolving. This makes the Ply Rating Number less effective in determining a tire’s load range. The Load Index, on the sidewall of a tire, is a newer guide that more accurately provides the tire’s load carrying capacity.
3. Invest in a Tire Monitoring System
Investing in a tire monitoring system makes sense in a lot of ways. Not only can you check your tire pressure quickly but you can also see how warm your tires are getting as well. Keeping a Tire Monitoring System in the cab of your vehicle will give you a peace of mind. The system will also audibly alert you if your tires are too hot or cold or the pressure is too high or not enough.
4. Keep Your RV Tires Protected
Keeping your RV tires out of the sun and standing water is the best way to protect your tires when parked for an extended time. We recommend the a waterproof and UV protected tire cover. Having these on your RV tires will dramatically cut down on the sun exposure and possible dry rot.
5. Visually and Physically Check Your Tires
Every time I pull over to get gas, have lunch or some other reason I need to stop our RV, I always get out in visually and physically check my RV tires as well as our towed vehicle dolly tires and vehicle tires. I visually check to ensure none of the tires are low and I put my hands on them to ensure they are not too hot.
Our dolly’s brake system engaged once while going through a tight turn and when I pulled over to check the tires, the tire on the left was extremely hotter than the one on the right and that warned me immediately that something was wrong.
Always look for signs of damage, tread wearing unevenly and anything else that looks suspicious.
6. Beware of "China Bomb" Tires
Google, “China Bomb Tires” and you will get over 11 Million results. In a nutshell, a lot of RV manufacturers and dealers opt to install very cheap tires made from China to reduce their overhead. You, however, get stuck with tires that may or may not be very reliable. If you follow steps 1 thru 5 above though, you should still get years of use out of these tires. We have Michelin tires on our RV and I have to say, I definitely feel a little more at ease.
7. Know When to Replace Your RV Tires
If you are using your RV a lot, you will most likely keep a good eye on your tires for wear, rot, low pressure and everything else we have covered above. However, if you don’t use your RV much and you actually can’t recall the last time you purchased tires, check your tires for the manufacture dates and change them before they start to crack, show signs of degradation, etc. It’s always better to be proactive than reactive.
8. Have a Good Spare or Set of Spares
Okay, you followed all the rules above and you still have a blowout or get a flat tire due to some unfortunate event (i.e. debris in the road). If you have 24/7 Roadside Assistance, call them. If not and you can change the tire yourself, ensure you have a good spare (or set of spares) before this happens. We have a direct replacement (same exact tire) for our RV as our spare. Changing a tire on a travel trailer will be much easier to do than a motorhome. Know your limits and hire a professional if you are uncomfortable or don’t have the proper tools to fix it yourself.
Of course, this is a very broad overview of ways to prevent an accident by adhering to tire safety. Tires are as important as brakes and steering.
Thanks for reading. If you have any stories, comments or information you would like to share, please comment below.