Why do tires fail? - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 11-03-2019, 04:38 PM   #1
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Why do tires fail?

Tires fail from two basic causes.

Low air pressure
and/or
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 loosing air till 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. HERE is a post on how to know if you have a run low flex failure. 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 loosing 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 measured load is a good first step. Running at 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 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?
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Old 11-03-2019, 05:53 PM   #2
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Thanks for the followup.
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Old 11-03-2019, 10:30 PM   #3
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Good summary. I believe you missed a couple of items. In the south, starting with cold inflation at max tire pressure can lead to too much air pressure, I have seen as much as a 15 psi rise in tire pressure on a really hot day according to the trailer TPMS system. Depending on weather I will start off 5 psi below max tire pressure. I think this excessive air pressure can start a tear in a belt leading to a blowout.
The other thing I see is turning very sharp and really pulling on the sidewalks of the tires. I believe this can start a tear in the belts also that can lead to a blowout.
Watching tires closely, ensuring they are not under or over inflated, and keeping turns as gradual as possible has never lead to a tire issue in all the miles I have pulled a trailer. Not a guarantee on never having a tire problem, but I believe it helps.
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Old 11-04-2019, 01:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by pctomlin View Post
Good summary. I believe you missed a couple of items. In the south, starting with cold inflation at max tire pressure can lead to too much air pressure, I have seen as much as a 15 psi rise in tire pressure on a really hot day according to the trailer TPMS system. Depending on weather I will start off 5 psi below max tire pressure. I think this excessive air pressure can start a tear in a belt leading to a blowout.
The other thing I see is turning very sharp and really pulling on the sidewalks of the tires. I believe this can start a tear in the belts also that can lead to a blowout.
Watching tires closely, ensuring they are not under or over inflated, and keeping turns as gradual as possible has never lead to a tire issue in all the miles I have pulled a trailer. Not a guarantee on never having a tire problem, but I believe it helps.

In my blog I have some very technical posts, specifically on Interply Shear which is the real belt separation initiator.


Pressure should only rise about 2% for each increase in temperature of 10F. When setting and talking about inflation we should only be concerned with the "cold" inflation not the running hot inflation. Cold pressure is set with the tires at ambient temperature and not been driven on or in direct sunlight for previous 2 hours.


"Blowouts" are a catch all for both belt separations and sidewall flex failures which are two completely different root cause failures as explained above.
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Old 11-04-2019, 02:06 AM   #5
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A lot of fancy talk that completely misses the point that tires made in China (99.99% of trailer tires) are poorly designed and poorly made. The failure rate of these Chinese tires is very high yet gets no federal attention due to being installed on trailers and not passenger vehicles. Remember the Firestone fiasco? Are there passenger vehicle tires with the same failure rate? NO as production would be stopped immediately to determine the cause of the failures. The feds don't care about trailer tire failures and the high failure rate continues.
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:26 PM   #6
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My two cents on this. Been TT ing for long time. Most trailer tires are china made as mentioned above and are not really quality controlled. All tires are made with a chemical which helps keep the rubber flexible when the tires are used. Sitting tires do not "move" the chemical around in the rubber. Also your rig needs to be weighed fully load ready for travel, weigh the full unit and then weigh the just the axles. (subtract two to get tongue weight). Now you know what the load will be on the tires so you can select to correct load capacity. I personally prefer Goodyear Endurance made in US tires, they tow and track very well. YEP not the cheapest. As above you set your tires when COLD as state on the sidewall, the tires are made to allow for the pressure increase as you use them. I also use a tire pressure monitoring as well. On our last trip 4,000 miles one of our friends with china tires had two with tread separation on the china tires, and he takes care of the tires. I really do not think this is place to save a few dollars.
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:27 PM   #7
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A lot of fancy talk that completely misses the point that tires made in China (99.99% of trailer tires) are poorly designed and poorly made. The failure rate of these Chinese tires is very high yet gets no federal attention due to being installed on trailers and not passenger vehicles. Remember the Firestone fiasco? Are there passenger vehicle tires with the same failure rate? NO as production would be stopped immediately to determine the cause of the failures. The feds don't care about trailer tire failures and the high failure rate continues.
I agree with you! The entire point about "china bombs" is that they fail prematurely and usually catastrophically. My tires were well maintained, always had the proper pressure, always used nitrogen, never overloaded the RV, always LEVEL when towing, only a little over a year old-no real reason for an excuse to say I was to blame.

I believe, they manufacture tires to pass the tests and specs then all QC is out the window after they get the required certifications.... Tireman, I think you should rethink your evaluation and excuses for tire issues on RV's. I wish I still had my tires, I would have sent them to you as a present and a representation of the junk they are putting on RV's. I don't believe they should be putting a 2 ply sidewall tire on an RV that is 37' long and weighs 8k to start with (empty).

I replaced them with a tire with the same specifications but the ply rating is much higher (goodyear endurance). These tires turned out to be about an inch taller, a good deal wider and take 80 PSI for max (I keep them at 70).
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Old 11-04-2019, 06:58 PM   #8
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Some facts.

- Until recently I believe all ST type tires were made off-shore with most from China, This include the GY Marathons.
- Actual measurements (25,000+) of scale weights on each tire position, show that the majority of RVs had one ore more tire or even the entire axle in overload.
- If essentially all tires on trailers came from China then it follows that essentially all tires that failed were made in China. While a true statement correlation is not the same as causation. Since tha majority of RVs are made in Indiana then doesn't it follow that essentially all manufacturing problems on RVs was because they were made in Indiana?
- All tires sold in the US must be capable of passing the DOT testing, not just the first batch. I have personally run the full gamut of DOT testing on a number of tires made in China and all passed. When working as an Expert Witness on a legal case, I also reviewed the test data on over 300 production tires made in China as required by DOT. No tire failed to pass the ongoing production testing.
- This post covers the two main reasons for most tire failures and the link goes to the detailed examination (autopsy) of a tire that failed but was improperly diagnosed as the fault of the tire when the evidence points directly to a loss of air pressure even though the owner said they checked the air pressure an hour before the failure occurred. Would you have us believe that the opinion of an untrained person is to be taken over the opinion and supporting evidence of a tire industry expert?
- Unless you are running you do not know the air pressure in a tire at the moment of failure. Tire sidewall Run-Low-Flex failures can occur in just a few minutes so while an owner may have checked the air that morning or even "thumped" a tire at a rest stop an hour prior those facts do not contradict the physical evidence of melted Polyester in the tire sidewall which can only develop when the tire is run at highway speed after loosing 70% to 90% of the air before the sidewall "blows out".
- A puncture or cut or impact or leaking valve core can result in a loss of Nitrogen just as easily as a loss on regular air.
- RE sidewall construction. Before you complain about "two ply sidewall" I suggest you go and read the sidewall of all your tires as the number and type of reinforcement is molded on the sidewall of all tires per law. How many sidewall "Ply" or "Layers" do the Goodyear Endurance ST tires have?
- If your original tires were LR-D replacing them with the same size but LR-E is not considered to be the "same specification".
- Yes NHTSA does not order recalls of ST tires as often as on P or LT type. One main reason is that so few RV owners or tire dealers bother to file complaints with NHTSA or if they do file a complaint the complaint is missing critical information or the information is wrong. You can see this by simply reviewing the complaints which can be viewed as the records are public on the NHTSA web site.
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Old 11-04-2019, 07:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tireman9 View Post
Some facts.

- Until recently I believe all ST type tires were made off-shore with most from China, This include the GY Marathons.
- Actual measurements (25,000+) of scale weights on each tire position, show that the majority of RVs had one ore more tire or even the entire axle in overload.
- If essentially all tires on trailers came from China then it follows that essentially all tires that failed were made in China. While a true statement correlation is not the same as causation. Since tha majority of RVs are made in Indiana then doesn't it follow that essentially all manufacturing problems on RVs was because they were made in Indiana?
- All tires sold in the US must be capable of passing the DOT testing, not just the first batch. I have personally run the full gamut of DOT testing on a number of tires made in China and all passed. When working as an Expert Witness on a legal case, I also reviewed the test data on over 300 production tires made in China as required by DOT. No tire failed to pass the ongoing production testing.
- This post covers the two main reasons for most tire failures and the link goes to the detailed examination (autopsy) of a tire that failed but was improperly diagnosed as the fault of the tire when the evidence points directly to a loss of air pressure even though the owner said they checked the air pressure an hour before the failure occurred. Would you have us believe that the opinion of an untrained person is to be taken over the opinion and supporting evidence of a tire industry expert?
- Unless you are running you do not know the air pressure in a tire at the moment of failure. Tire sidewall Run-Low-Flex failures can occur in just a few minutes so while an owner may have checked the air that morning or even "thumped" a tire at a rest stop an hour prior those facts do not contradict the physical evidence of melted Polyester in the tire sidewall which can only develop when the tire is run at highway speed after loosing 70% to 90% of the air before the sidewall "blows out".
- A puncture or cut or impact or leaking valve core can result in a loss of Nitrogen just as easily as a loss on regular air.
- RE sidewall construction. Before you complain about "two ply sidewall" I suggest you go and read the sidewall of all your tires as the number and type of reinforcement is molded on the sidewall of all tires per law. How many sidewall "Ply" or "Layers" do the Goodyear Endurance ST tires have?
- If your original tires were LR-D replacing them with the same size but LR-E is not considered to be the "same specification".
- Yes NHTSA does not order recalls of ST tires as often as on P or LT type. One main reason is that so few RV owners or tire dealers bother to file complaints with NHTSA or if they do file a complaint the complaint is missing critical information or the information is wrong. You can see this by simply reviewing the complaints which can be viewed as the records are public on the NHTSA web site.
All of the above is an attempt to say "the tires from china are just as good as anywhere else"... bull!
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Old 11-04-2019, 11:48 PM   #10
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Another cause of failure is driving faster than the tires are rated for. It clearly states the maximum speed rating on the tire. I often see trailers going down the highway far in excess of 100 KPH (60 mph). Only recently have SOME ST tires been rated for speeds over 100 KPH.
The China Bomb rep is old and IMHO is caused in a large part by drivers not operating the units correctly in addition to the comments above.
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Old 11-05-2019, 02:22 AM   #11
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Another cause of failure is driving faster than the tires are rated for. It clearly states the maximum speed rating on the tire. I often see trailers going down the highway far in excess of 100 KPH (60 mph). Only recently have SOME ST tires been rated for speeds over 100 KPH.
The China Bomb rep is old and IMHO is caused in a large part by drivers not operating the units correctly in addition to the comments above.

Correct. Another fact is that the load formula for ST tires is based on 65 mph MAX speed. Higher speeds can be achieved BUT there need to be adjustments in inflation or in Inflation and rated load according to US Tire & Rim Association.
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Old 11-05-2019, 12:33 PM   #12
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In 2014, when I bought my Voltage, I immediately went to Discount Tire for 6 Michelin XPS Rib truck tires. I don't baby them, I barely pay any attention to them, they've never been at 80 psi, and they have been wearing fine for 5 years. Been all over the US with no issues. Yet I see new trailers coming into the dealership where I work with blown tires just coming from Indiana. Chinese bombs need to be outlawed.
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Old 11-05-2019, 03:09 PM   #13
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In 2014, when I bought my Voltage, I immediately went to Discount Tire for 6 Michelin XPS Rib truck tires. I don't baby them, I barely pay any attention to them, they've never been at 80 psi, and they have been wearing fine for 5 years. Been all over the US with no issues. Yet I see new trailers coming into the dealership where I work with blown tires just coming from Indiana. Chinese bombs need to be outlawed.

It's unlikely they will be outlawed given the price sensitivity in the RV market. With so many folks buying when the quoted price is just a monthly amount that is so low they will always be "underwater" on their purchase. The RV industry seems to only focus on making the sale and as long as it feels it can only make the sale by offering the lowest possible price the industry will fight tooth and nail to not have to spend an extra $100 on a set of tires that can provide better durability.
In 2000 after the Ford Explorer recall both Passenger and LT type tires were forced to meet newer, tougher quality & durability standards as required by the "TREAD Act" but I believe that because of pressure from the RV industry, ST type tire requirements were excluded from the new requirements as complying would have increased the cost to the RV company a few bucks and they simply didn't feel they could stay in business if they had to increase their prices.
So we are stuck with tires built to 1970 quality and durability levels.


IMO Until or unless the RV community in large numbers, demands an improvement in the tire quality with an update & upgrade in the performance standards required by DOT there will only be improvements on a small number of models that offer ST tires with more Reserve Load or offer actual LT tires. How many RV owners have made the minimal effort of filing a complaint on a tire failure to NHTSA? Or written a letter to the Administrator of NHTSA? U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE. Washington, DC 20590


When was the last time you heard someone not ask about buying tires at the lowest price? Or walking away from a sale if the dealer didn't provide better tires OE? or the dealer didn't offer a multi-year warranty on tires that came on the RV?


A review of some comments on this forum shows the truth in what I am saying. The new Goodyear Endurance seems to be providing a significant improvement in tire durability for ST type tires but we see a number of people stating they are not willing to pay the price.


If you are only willing to pay Harbor Freight prices for your tools why would you expect SK, Milwaukee, Proto, or MATCO quality?


From day one ST type tires were introduced as a low cost option to higher cost Light Truck type tires, when comparing Pounds load capacity per dollar cost. We also had the 55 mph National Speed limit so offering tires with a 65 mph max wasn't a deal breaker
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:50 PM   #14
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Here's a Chinese bomb that blew up on a brand new Tiffin Vilano 5th wheel in transit from the factory in Mississippi to Tucson.(about 1500 miles) Can't blame age, rot, or overweight trailer (cause they're empty). Low air presssure? Perhaps, but I really doubt that on an empty trailer coming from the factory. We get this quite often at my dealership.
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Old 11-08-2019, 05:00 PM   #15
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Here's a Chinese bomb that blew up on a brand new Tiffin Vilano 5th wheel in transit from the factory in Mississippi to Tucson.(about 1500 miles) Can't blame age, rot, or overweight trailer (cause they're empty). Low air presssure? Perhaps, but I really doubt that on an empty trailer coming from the factory. We get this quite often at my dealership.

Almost certain (better, sharper, closer pictures would help with the analysis) this is a standard "Run Low Sidewall Flex" failure. Some of the tell tail signs are the nice 360 line around the sidewall also the hard ends of the polyester cords. Doesn't matter how light the trailer was as when you get down to less than 20 or 10 psi the sidewall flexes too much and generates the heat necessary to melt polyester (390F and up).
In Steel sidewall tires this ends up as a "zipper" failure.
Wondering if you looked at the pictures and the forensic analysis in the link in the original post.
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Old 11-08-2019, 05:50 PM   #16
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Here's some more pics of VERY TAKEN CARE OF TIRES. The second one blew on the interstate during hurricane evacuation at 45 MPH on an RV that was just over a year old. You seem to like to defend these "China Bombs"
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Old 11-08-2019, 05:55 PM   #17
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the tire says "2 steel plus 1 nylon". Do you think that is enough to support a Dutchmen Denali 287RE??? Weighing in around 9k with 2 axles, no water, empty???

Own up to the fact that they are made poorly and probably have little to NO QC other than a cursory visual examination (if that).
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Old 11-09-2019, 04:08 AM   #18
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the tire says "2 steel plus 1 nylon". Do you think that is enough to support a Dutchmen Denali 287RE??? Weighing in around 9k with 2 axles, no water, empty???

Own up to the fact that they are made poorly and probably have little to NO QC other than a cursory visual examination (if that).

I suggest you re-read the tire sidewall. It probably says "Sidewall one ply Polyester, Tread one ply Polyester, 2 steel plus 1 nylon"
Since it is the air pressure that supports the load not the tire structure I see no reason why the tire could not support your Denali. If you doubt this could you explain how all tires are covered by Load & Inflation tables. There are no Load & construction tables.


RE the latest pictures. Better but maybe posting results in degradation. I did mark up a shot with what looks like melted body cord.
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Old 11-09-2019, 04:16 AM   #19
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Trailer tires must be run at max pressure. Why? To minimize heat buildup, of course, which leads to tire destruction. Do I run my truck tires at max pressure? My car tires at max pressure? My Harley tires at max pressure? No to all. Do I run my RZR tires at max pressure? NO, in fact I run my RZR tires at 9 psi. Should create tons of heat and they should be exploding at 60 mph. But do they? No. But chinese bombs are so cheaply constructed they must be run at max pressure.

When I had boat trailers with chinese tires I had several blowouts. Yet I took painstaking care of those tires, didn't do much good.

I've had two 5th wheels in the past 8 years and have never had a tire issue with the Michelin truck tires they both had. Truck tires win.

I had a flat on my truck when the valve stem failed but no tire failures.

Bottom line is truck tires, car tires, motorcycle tires, and RZR tires are much better made than the chinese bombs.
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Old 11-09-2019, 01:18 PM   #20
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Reading through this, IMO, Tireman9 and all of us are saying the same thing, TM9 is focused on the engineering root cause for the failures. As noted by TM9, ST tires did not follow the tire specification change from the Firestone incident. Ford did create some of the issues by specifying a lower inflation pressure for a smoother ride. The China bombs pass the standards testing, however they are not the best choice. Many manufactures put tires on RVs that don't match the load rating placed on them by the RVs weight. You see 4500# axles where 5200# axles should have been installed etc. also. Know the weight distribution of your RV by putting it on the scales, make sure the running gear is not at the limits according to the actual weights. If you don't trust the made in China tires you have never heard of, spend the money and get a set of tires that you trust. This does not guarantee you won't have a blowout, I have seen some Goodyear Endurance that have let go, however this is a rare event.
The best mitigation to preventing an RV damaging blowout is to install a TPMS system on the RV that monitors air pressure and temperature for the tires. It surprised me what is going on during normal operation with the pressures and temperatures while pulling my TT. Especially the sunny side versus the shaded side. This data has prompted me to make some changes according to the weather forecast for the day for adjusting the cold inflation pressure before starting that days trip.
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