rv tire blowouts

rv tire blowoutsRV tire blowouts, though somewhat rare today, can be dangerous when traveling at highway speeds. These events can be significantly worse than automobile blowouts. If a blowout occurs on your motorhome, the results can be far more costly, even if you manage to stop your vehicle safely.

Unlike an automobile, a motorhome often suffers body damage in the wheel-well area caused by the thrashing tire carcass. This damage can be severe and may cost thousands of dollars for a single incident.

RV Tire Blowouts — Causes

So, how can this issue be prevented? Well, while there is no way to 100-percent eliminate this ever happening, you can reduce the chances substantially. To understand how to protect ourselves from having this happen, we must first look at the root causes of these tire failures.

  • Exceeding the tire’s maximum weight capacity
  • Operating outside of the specified air pressure requirements
  • Road hazard damage
  • Advanced tire age or poor condition

Of these, low pressure is said to account for nearly 90 percent of rapid deflation or blowout. RVs also have another al- too-common cause of failure: tire age. This aging deteriorates structural integrity, causing failure due to carcass or sidewall separation.

RV Tire Blowouts — Prevention

So, how can we protect ourselves from RV tire blowouts. Exposure can be substantially reduced by following these simple rules.

  • Replace aging or damaged tires immediately
  • Check tire pressures daily and correct, if needed
  • Know the weight of each wheel position and air up each tire as needed
  • Inspect or have all tires checked for wear, damage, and general condition
  • Keep axles in proper alignment
  • When stopping for a break, walk around and visually inspect tires, and if you have a laser temperature test device, check each for consistency
  • Think about installing a tire-pressure monitoring system. Even the low-priced units provide an instant alert in the event of an issue.
  • Cover tires if parked for extended periods of time and keep them clean to help in protecting aging.

The need to maintain the correct air pressure can’t be overstressed. Keep in mind that no tire is airtight: molecules pass through the tire’s casing on an ongoing basis. This pressure loss must be replenished at regular intervals.

Your tires are your only contact with the road. Look after them and they will support you for many years. Find replacement tires here, and check out more RV tech tips.

Peter Mercer – With a Tiring Thought

Leave a Reply

8 comments

  1. Anonymous

    I bought the Tire Minder system that screws onto the valve stems. It told me exactly when each of my two tires blew on the trailer. I won’t use it again since I’m certain to blow another tire. I believe the problem was multi-fold, monitors loosened enough to release air, stems were rubber rather than fully metal, tires were over 2 yrs old. Now I check air pressure before I leave, every time I stop, and when I arrive. BTW, I wouldn’t use valve stem extenders either since the release air if imperfectly installed.

    • Peter Mercer

      Peter Mercer

      The external screw on sensor tire pressure monitors are the easiest and quickest solution to install. They do, however come with some issues. They are better if installed on steel valve stems, not the extended ones, just the regular length. These type also are not capable of providing tire temperature, only air pressure. There is no question that the internal type have advantages. However, the external screw on models remain to be very popular with very little issue in most cases. Doing a physical check with a good tire pressure gauge each day when travelling is what you should do. The tire pressure monitor is to maintain an ongoing watch while you travel.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience with us.

  2. Anonymous

    What is the best cleaner and protecterant for RV tires?

    • Peter Mercer

      Peter Mercer

      There are many good products available for both cleaning and protecting your tires in today’s environment. They can be found at your local Camping World or automotive supplier. Look for products that contain an ultraviolet protector. Most of the products sold for this application work quite well. Like anything else, you will get people that swear by one or another.
      Keeping your tires clean is a great first step in keeping them in top shape. While you clean them you can inspect their condition.
      Thank you for your input.

  3. Anonymous

    Do these tips also apply to travel trailers……smaller ones especially?

    • Peter Mercer

      Peter Mercer

      Yes, smaller trailer tires are also exposed to the same issues and the prevention steps are similar. Unlike an automobile, which in general weighs the same at each wheel location forever, RV’s of all sizes can vary greatly in weight from one trip to the next. In addition, trailer wheel bearings should be checked and serviced regularly. While this type of service is generally carried out on large wheeled motor homes during their regular maintenance time, trailer owners sometime do not do this as frequently as may be warranted.
      So, maintain the needed tire air pressure and check it daily while travelling. The use of an inexpensive IR temperature gun would be wise. These can also monitor the wheel bearing temperatures when you stop for a break. Weigh your trailer and confirm it is within the manufacturer’s specifications. If it is over the specified weight, empty some of the items you carry until you are at or below the maximum weight.
      Safe driving.

  4. Anonymous

    unfortunately, we didn’t read this before our latest trip. Tires looked good, lots of tread, little wear, but we suffered blowouts of two tires (luckily not at the same time) and did quite a bit of damage to the side and undercarriage of our 5th wheel. Too late smart and paying the price for it!

    • Peter Mercer

      Peter Mercer

      Sorry to hear of your two blowouts. If the tires were in good condition this was probably a failure due to under inflated, overloaded, or both. As tire pressure reduces so does the operational weight limit. Remember, all tires inflated with air, lose pressure over time. Nitrogen filled tires maintain their pressure somewhat longer than air filled, but should be checked and maintained as needed.
      While there are product solutions that can eliminate or substantially reduce vehicle damage in such an event, it may be better to take steps to reduce the chances in the first place.
      Thank you for sharing your real life blowout experience.

      Peter Mercer