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Old 09-07-2011, 08:06 PM   #1
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Tire blow out - cause unknown

Okay, so last weekend we're pulling our Rockwood TT (ultra lite 9315SS) to the beach. We're going about 58-60 mph and heard a very loud bang and it sounded like it came from the hitch area. We reflexively thought that because this is the first trip with the Reese dual cam sway control. Once we pulled over, the hitch looked fine (but should have inspected more as you'll read below). So upon checking the tires we noticed the front right tire had blown out on the inside. The tear/blow-out hole was about 16 inches following the tread of the tire and a 5 inch tear along the inner wall. This was our first blow out so we were def rattled. So we drove slowly to a flat and safe location, broke out the 2 ton bottle jack and changed it no problem. Finally got to use the air tank that I always bring along for the spare! Once we got to the campsite and I was releasing the left wd bar, I noticed that the piece that "wraps" over the frame and has the hook for the chain link was very loose with the bolt having come off the inner frame. I could easily slide it up and down the frame. And the chain link was not snug in the "hook" as it was on the tip of it. This was definitely not how it was upon leaving and hitching it up. The tires are 5 yrs old with very minimal miles on them as we only put about 500 miles a year on them. I also ensure they are right at 50 psi and always looking for tire wall issues and tire wear. I know that at the time I did not notice anything in the road that would have caused this. The first thought is that the tire was wearing on the inside and blew out from this and that the sway control issue was coincidence. The other thought, and I know a far fetched one, is that an object hit the wd bar or frame area, jarring it loose, and then that same object richocheting and blowing out the tire. Does anyone else have any opinions for this or have a similar incident happening? Would love to know what the cause was. One thing is for sure. It was a great learning experience!

Fayne and Bonnie
2016 F-350 4WD Crew Cab 6.7 Diesel SRW
2013 Keystone Outback Sydney 5th Wheel 331FRK
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Old 09-08-2011, 01:50 AM   #2
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A 5 year old tire might go like that just because it's five years old, regardless of miles on it. Also generally speaking, tires that sit unused last less than tires that roll down the road more often. My opinion is that the blowout probably caused the rig to jerk which caused the bracket to pull loose. Sounds like it might be time for new tires.

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Old 09-08-2011, 06:45 AM   #3
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I work in a campground in Maine during the summer.

I've seen several TT's come in this year with similiar problems- IE: blowouts, flats.
It almost seems to happen on warm summer days, and older tires.

I agree with Yellowreef, go get new tires and inflate them to the max. cold psi stated on the sidewall of the tire.

Good luck,
Max H,
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:25 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. That was our other thought that the jerk of the blow out caused the bolt to come away from the frame. We dropped it off on the way home to get the tires inspected and seeing they don't get many miles and sit through a long winter we're just going to replace them and be on the safe side. Thanks again!
Fayne and Bonnie
2016 F-350 4WD Crew Cab 6.7 Diesel SRW
2013 Keystone Outback Sydney 5th Wheel 331FRK
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Old 09-21-2011, 08:55 PM   #5
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If you are thru using it this summer, I would wait till spring for the new tires.

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Old 09-27-2011, 09:31 PM   #6
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I knew that it was typical on MH tires for them to have a life of 7 years but I was unaware that 5 years was 'old' for a TT tire. But, it's been a while since we had a TT.
Mike & Cindy, (of course with Lucy the Miniature Schnauzer & Eddie the Yorkie) Dublin, VA / Fun Finder TT / X215WSK
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:27 PM   #7
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Tire Blowout

Originally Posted by clarkgriswold View Post
I knew that it was typical on MH tires for them to have a life of 7 years but I was unaware that 5 years was 'old' for a TT tire. But, it's been a while since we had a TT.
Hi, I think that 7 years is way more than recommended for MH tires. I have been told 4 to 5 years and you really have to check the code on the tire to find the age of the tire because sometimes the tires are older than the vehicle.

I have just posted an important video on what to do if your tire blows out when you are driving your motorhome or trailer, everyone should watch this. It is really informative and it could save your life. Micheline produced the video.

I also have posted a picture of my tire that blew out and the my story. Motorhome Madness | Scoop.it

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Old 10-05-2011, 11:47 PM   #8
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For some reason the 7 year figure gets thrown around even though there is no basis for it. Michelin says to inspect the tires starting at 5 years and absolutely replace them at 10. I went 9 years on ours with no problems even though the fronts were, with Michelins permission, run underinflated according to their charts.

Michelin Technical Bulletin
May 15, 2006

Service Life for RV/Motorhome Tires

The following recommendation applies to RV/Motorhome tires. Tires are composed of various types of material and rubber compounds, having performance properties essential to the proper functioning of the tire itself. These component properties evolve over time. For each tire, this evolution depends upon many factors such as weather, storage conditions, and conditions of use (load, speed, inflation pressure, maintenance, etc.) to which the tire is subjected throughout its life. This service-related evolution varies widely so that accurately predicting the serviceable life of any specific tire in advance is not possible.

That is why, in addition to regular inspections and inflation pressure maintenance by consumers, it is recommended to have RV/Motorhome tires, including spare tires, inspected regularly by a qualified tire specialist, such as a tire dealer, who will assess the tire’s suitability for continued service. Tires that have been in use for 5 years or more should continue to be inspected by a specialist at least annually.

Consumers are strongly encouraged to be aware not only of their tires’ visual condition and inflation pressure, but also of any change in dynamic performance such as increased air loss, noise or vibration, which could be an indication that the tires need to be removed from service to prevent tire failure.

It is impossible to predict when tires should be replaced based on their calendar age alone. However, the older a tire the greater the chance that it will need to be replaced due to the service-related evolution or other conditions found upon inspection or detected during use.

While most tires will need replacement before they achieve 10 years, it is recommended that any tires in service 10 years or more from the date of manufacture, including spare tires, be replaced with new tires as a simple precaution even if such tires appear serviceable and even if they have not reached the legal wear limit.

For tires that were on an original equipment vehicle (i.e., acquired by the consumer on a new vehicle), follow the vehicle manufacturer’s tire replacement recommendations, when specified (but not to exceed 10 years).

The date when a tire was manufactured is located on the sidewall of each tire. Consumers should locate the Department of Transportation or DOT code on the tire that begins with DOT and ends with the week and year of manufacture. For example, a DOT code ending with “0304” indicates a tire made in the 3rd week (Jan) of 2004.
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Old 10-06-2011, 10:29 AM   #9
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I had a MH with 10 yr old Michelins and drove it over 10,000 miles with no problems. They had little wear or cracks and looked new. Maybe I got lucky.

I just replaced the cheap 6 tires on my 5th wheel with LT truck tires because stock TT tires are not heavy duty enough for hot roads and maybe over weight trailers. I see too many of them on the side of the road and I don't wish to join them... The cost difference is small compared to the hassle of changing and buying new cheap tires...
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Old 10-16-2011, 06:23 AM   #10
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I just changed my tires on my 32ft Jayco which we have owned for 5 years. Tires looked great, we put about 12k on the tires and when parked I always had covers on the tires. When I had the tires changed the guy showed me the old tires and two of the had the tread that I could see the tread was ready to separate. Yikes! I would always visually inspect the tires and never seen this issue. No matter how much you use your trailer, change the tires every 5 years.
Tires are a petroleum product and thru use, keeps the oil in the tires active and plyable. Being an RV sits so much, tires tend to loose plyability and unseen issues arise. Blown tires suck.
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:15 AM   #11
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This has been an ongoing discussion on the T&TTT forum because a number of folks have had catastrophic failures, blowouts on very light weight trailers (well below rated capacity). I decided to really look into it as our teardrop came with Goodyear Marathon trailer tires.

In talking with a former Goodyear tire exac who was fairly high up in the Goodyear foodchain indicated that virtually all trailer tires are now made in China and that Chinese made tires are "crap". One thing to remember is that trailer tires and motorhome tires are not the same at all due to their construction and specific use.

The Good Sam RV club recently released the results from a survey of RV owners on tire failure. From 17,000 respondents, the club was able to put together an interesting picture on a much-discussed subject.
If the survey is an accurate representation for the RVing community as a whole, a minority of us have suffered some sort of tire failure in the last three years: 26% of those responding said they'd had a tire failure, described as either a "blowout," "tread separation," "visible bubbles," or "other." Trailer owners had more problems--32% of owners, versus 19% of the motorized class.
We often wonder how much the age of a tire factors into a failure. Among all types of RVs, the majority of failures seems to occur when tires are between two and five years, accounting for 50% of failure rate. Motorhome drivers reported the highest failed tire age was more than five years (30%) while trailer owners noted their worst years were at 2 to 3 years (30%). In terms of miles run, trailer tires seem to come in for the least longevity: A whopping 71% of failures on trailer tires occurred within the first 10,000 miles. At that same mile factor, motorhomers reported only a 29% failure rate.
These motorhome versus trailer tire statistics are alarming. One immediately wonders if trailer owners are less likely to properly care for their rig's tires than motorhome folks. Since tire loading and inflation are definitely linked to tire longevity, the survey results were revealing. When it comes to knowing the fully loaded weight of their rigs, trailer owners were more likely to know their weight (75%) than motorhome owners (65%). And what about keeping tires inflated? Of those who checked their tire pressure daily, trailer owners exceeded motorhome owners by 30% to 24%; of those checking at least weekly, trailer owners again edged out motorhomers by 39 to 34 percent. Of those confessed they never checked tire pressure, 340 motorized owners should feel shamed, versus 170 trailer owners.
Are tires built for towable units simply not as good as motorhome tires? Are there other factors at play that seem to make the trailer crowd more likely to be stuck beside the road with a failed rubber donut? Perhaps the tire industry will take notice of the survey and begin a little investigation of their own.


there are a whole lot of factors that are involved here and if you wish I will go into excruciating detail. I for one will be switching to either P or LT tires not made in China. These are well within the load characteristics.
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:54 AM   #12
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I don't think you'll ever know if the tire just failed or you hit something causing the equalizer to loosen first, etc. But, as you said, it was a learning experience. And thank you for the link to the Good Sam survey. It tends to confirm what I've seen posted over the years. Clearly, even frequent tire inspections cannot prevent all blowouts. With MHs, I'd start to think seriously at replacing tires at the 5-6yr mark based on my experience with Michelin tires (one blowout and cracks starting to appear). Now that I have a FW, it appears I should be more concerned at 3-4 years, or perhaps earlier. I will definitely add a bottle jack and better lug nut tool to my load.
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Old 11-11-2011, 08:51 AM   #13
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Without looking at the tire it is anybodys guess how it failed. However, you do provide some clues. The inside of the tire failed, the side that is probably not looked at when checking tires. So maybe you had a problem in the works for some time. Also, if part of the hitch came loose and the tire hit it, then perhaps the tire failed from that. However, many tires fail and they do it without anything piercing the tire. 500 miles a year is not much mileage and that can also cause some issues with tire longevity. You probably are doing the right thing getting new tires, just check the date code prior to letting the tire shop install them.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:02 AM   #14
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one thing i have not seen mentioned here is the weight of the OP's trailer. the tires that manufacturers puts on trailers barely meets the weight loading of the trailer GCWR. if a trailer is over the GCWR that puts additional stress on the tires. Aside from age, the major reason for tire blowouts is heat. even if you set tire pressure to the maximum pressure, if the trailer is overweight it will increase the heat build up in the tire.

My suggestion to the OP is that when you do get new tires, go up 1 Load Range rating (e.g. if you have LR-C now, get LR-D). Now this will NOT increase the GCWR of your trailer and is not why I suggest doing so. My rational is that by going to the next higher rated tire, you widen the gap between the maximum weight rating of the tire and the GCWR of the trailer.

John, Joyce & Libby the Yellow Lab. - Fulltime since `08

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