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Flat Tires and Blown Tires

An RV Life and Travel reader asked....
(Can Heat Be Causing Our Tire Problems?)

Out of the last three camping trips, we have had two flat tires each on different tires. Our camper is only two years old. We have a 35 ft. 5th wheeler. The last tire was a complete blow-out with only the rim left and damage to the camper. We are wondering if the tire sensors help. We were completely unaware that the tire was gone, until a car next to us informed us. Also, another question, could the heat be causing the sudden problem with the tires? We are getting a little concerned about towing now. We love to camp and it is the only time we enjoy getting away.


Bob, the RVing editor's husband replies:

Yes, heat has a very detrimental effect on tires. Heat is the enemy. Under inflation causes tires to heat. Higher speeds cause tires to heat. Overloading causes tires to heat. Hot pavement on a summer day causes tires to heat. Do what you can to keep your tires cool.

Slow down a little.

Watch your tire pressure. I have a good, commercial grade tire gauge, and use it every morning before starting out. I haven’t had any experience with remote sensors, but if they work as well as they claim, they should be a good way to monitor your tire pressure.

Another thing you should look at, are your tires rated for the load you are carrying? RV’s are sometimes equipped with tires that are barely suitable to handle the weight of the unit by itself. When you put in your supplies, food, clothes, fill your water tank, and fill your propane tanks, it can put your weight over the load rating of your tires, and sometimes over the gross vehicle rating of the RV. To be sure, you need to weigh your RV. There is an outfit at many RV rallies and conventions that weigh RV’s and give individual weight per tire. If you can’t do this, many truck stops have scales that will give your weight by the axle.

In my experience, we were running one brand of trailer tires that were rated for well above the load we were carrying, but even with careful attention to proper inflation, and three-quarters tread left, these tires would blow out at about 10,000 miles. After replacing four tires, we had one of the blown out tires inspected by a factory rep. Even he couldn’t tell us what was wrong. We switched to Cooper tires of the same rating and had no problems for over 30,000 miles, and they're still in good shape.

Tire problems can be dangerous and take the fun out of RVing. I hope you get your tire problems taken care of and have safe travels.

P.S. An axle out of alignment will cause irregular wear and heating of tires also.

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Comments for Flat Tires and Blown Tires

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Axle Alignment
by: Mike Rehmus

One of the significant things about tires on trailers is the alignment of the axles. I know of three people who have had to have the axles removed and realigned or replaced because the factory put them on crooked. Maybe not so bad for a single-axle rig but when the wheels point everywhere but straight ahead on multi-axle rigs, the stage is set for big tire problems.

So put a board on the side of your tires and see if they are aligned and if they generally point straight ahead.

Tire Sensors
by: Anonymous

I have been using the tire sensors for several years and it has saved us several times. We have picked up nails and screws on the road and would not have known we had a leak until we checked them the next morning. We even had a cut that left the tire empty by the time we could quickly pull over. At least we avoided the damage.

This also makes checking them in the morning easier. All I have to do now is press buttons. The sensors will not be as accurate as the tire gauge, but if you properly fill the tires before installing the sensor you will have a base line number for each sensor to compare the morning reading to.

Weight, tire load range, and pressure first. Sensors for piece of mind and the occasional road hazard.

New Valve Stems May Prevent Blow Outs on RV Tires.
by: Rick

All mentioned are good answers. I'd add replace valve stems with high pressure stems. Don't assume your stems are replaced when tires are and with high pressure ones. Verify.

Blown Tires from Rubbing on RV Frame
by: Dave

I had a problem with blown tires on our 32 foot Jayco. The cause was discovered to be a tire rubbing on the frame. Check for rubbing on the frame causing the tires to blow.

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