We are in the dog days of summer here, and also the height of vacation and RV season. Naturally, here at Coach Specialists here in Dallas Texas, we have been seeing a slew of RV’s and travel trailers with blowouts and damaged caused by blowouts.
When a tire blows on a travel trailer RV or coach, it often does some significant damage to the wheel wells. Damage like this is not always avoidable, but it can be somewhat preventable. The key is to recognize some common ailments before they become tire throwing problems for you when on your next RV trip. Here is what you need to look for to keep your travel trailer from becoming a tire throwing monster on your next outing:
- Excessive heat– A travel trailer tires’ worst enemy is heat. Common preventable Heat can result from under- or over-inflation, driving faster than the tire’s speed rating or from overloading the tire with more weight than it is designed to handle.The first thing you need to check before going on a long trip in the high heat is tire pressure. It takes about five minutes and can save you thousands in RV repair costs.Next re-acquaint yourself with the tires load and speed ratings. Add up the total tire capacity and compare to the loaded trailer’s gross weight.With a travel trailer pulled behind a Pick Up truck or SUV at typical highway speeds of 70-75 mph on interstates, a standard trailer tire is typically rated for 65-mph. What you really need a tire with an M speed rating (up to 81-mph).
- Axle alignment issues– Beyond simple tire fixes, one thing that will wear out a trailer tire quickly is having axles that are out of alignment. Now this is one of those issues that you might not notice when looking at your travel trailer. Because the misalignment might be slight. But if a trailer’s suspension is really out of alignment, has a bent spindle or badly sagging springs, it can become a tire throwing monster on a long highway drive.Closely inspect your trailer’s suspension. Over a couple of years, leaf springs do wear out and lose their weight-carrying capacity and this can lead to more motion from the overall system than with new springs. There are other wear and tear items such as shackle straps that can wear. You can diagnose worn shackles by inspecting for mounting holes that have become enlarged or egg-shaped. If a combination of components in a trailer suspension are worn you can end up with excessive motion and axles that come out of alignment.
- Porposing- One big tire blowing problem when pulling your rig is porpoising. This is when you hit something in the road such as a pothole and the trailer just keeps bouncing up and down like a dolphin in the ocean, and seems like it will never settle down.One often over looked, but potential cause for the porpoising is the movement of water in the tanks. Water is pretty heavy and once set in motion it tends to keep moving.
- Overloading your trailer. Trailers and the vehicle they are being pulled with both have a specific safety rating for weight. But how often do you really weigh all the stuff that you are putting in your RV before heading out the road. Let me tell you, it can add up very fast. If your total trailer weight is near the maximum for your weight distribution system, then it may be unable to steady the trailer. Check that your actual TW is near the middle of the weight distribution system’s operating range.
- Tires coming into contact with each other- On a tandem or a triple axle trailer, if the front and rear tires or middle and rear tires make contact with each other then some part of the suspension could be broken or worn so much that it allows a lot of movement. You will want to inspect the suspension components for anything broken or signs of severe wear. Usually the wear you will see is egg-shaped holes instead of round holes where the springs hang.
- Wrong tire size- It is possible, if you bought your unit used, that the previous owner put the wrong tire size on it. It might not be apparent sitting on the ground, but when hitting a bump the tires could come in contact with each other. If the suspension is fine and nothing is broken then the tire size may be too large for the trailer. Check the trailer for the plate that lists the correct tire size for your RV.
Hopefully these tips will prevent a major blow out for you on your next trip.