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Tires Don’t Last Forever

One other aspect of tire safety. TIRES DO NOT LAST FOREVER! We never worried about the age of our passenger car tires, because after a few years the tread was worn out, and we replaced them. But, in the RV world, it is common to find RVs that are perhaps 10 years old with less than 20,000 miles on them, so the tire tread looks good, yet the owner experiences frequent tire failure, and of course, blames the name of the manufacturer engraved on the sidewall for building defective tires. We cannot tell you exactly how long a tire will last because there are so many variables that affect aging of the casing, but we know from statistics that the average service life expectancy of a tire in RV service is 5 to 7 years. In fact, it is important to note that tires age more quickly when not used! Tires are designed to roll, heat up, and release anti-weathering chemicals that help to keep the tire supple and resist aging. In the RV world, we frequently subject tires to the absolute worse case scenario; We sit for a season in the sun and ozone, then pull onto the interstate and dash down the highway at speeds in excess of 65 miles per hour, then park it for a few months, etc., creating an extreme duty cycle. Every RV owner should know the age of the tires on his coach and be alert for signs of aging. The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that every tire be marked on the sidewall with its ‘birthday’, or when it was in the mold. Find a string of numbers and letters that starts with ?DOT? on the sidewall. It’s only on one side of the tire, so you may have to crawl underneath to see it. At the end of the string you will find three numbers; the first two indicate the calendar week of the year, starting with ?01″ in January. The third number is the year, so a “089” might indicate the tire was born on the 8th week of 1999. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers supply us with the decade, so this tire might be a 1999 or a 1989. You need to have some knowledge of when the tires were installed. Michelin provides a decade indicator; if you see a small arrowhead just after the last digit 9, it is a 1999 tire. Fortunately, our government has seen fit to resolve this confusion in the new millennium, so tires being built now have four digits; two for the week and two for the year. Be sure you know the age of your tires, and don?t risk your safety for the few dollars (relative to an accident) a new set of tires will cost you.

A’Weigh We Go is a SAFETY PROGRAM, and our educational seminars and weighing services are subsidized by our sponsors. It costs us about $70 to weigh an RV, but we only charge you $30, for which you get weighed by individual wheel position, a comprehensive weight analysis of your ratings versus your loads, and everyone gets a load/inflation table for their specific tires. You can find our weighing schedule on our web site at aweighwego.org, or call us at (423)257-7985, or e-mail us at awwg@rvamerica.com. We publish a comprehensive RV Weight & Tire Safety Handbook, which we sell for $15 plus $4 for packaging & shipping. The handbook contains all of the information we use in our Safety Seminars, and describes how to weigh your coach by individual wheel position. Simply send a check for $19 to: A?Weigh We Go, 211 Mae McKee Road, Chuckey, TN, 37641. Tire load/inflation tables are supplied without charge. Send a self addressed STAMPED business size envelope and include : Tire manufacturer, tire size AND load range, and the rating data from the sidewall, both maximum load and inflation pressure for single & dual.. Requests without complete information cannot be handled.

This article is not intended to be a sales pitch for A?Weigh We Go, but to save your life, so I urge you to find someplace to weigh your coach properly, AND, use the data to verify your safety.

About the author:

John Anderson is President of A’Weigh We Go, an RV Weight Safety Program designed to help the entire RV industry; consumers, manufacturers, dealers, and suppliers, resolve the overload problem. John and his three teams; Curt & Carole Peircey, Neil & Pat LeKander, and Walter & Amy Cannon conduct Weight Safety Seminars and provide RV weighing services at more than 70 events each year, throughout the United States and parts of Canada. A?Weigh We Go is the recognized authority on RV Weight & Tire issues, and is available to consult with RV owners and RV shoppers at no cost. A?Weigh We Go is sponsored by: Michelin Tire, Dexter Axle, Atwood Mobile Products, RV America on Line, Tekonsha Engineering, MOR/ryde, Farm & City Insurance, GPI Corp., Ford Motor Co., Tire Guard, SmarTire USA, Freightliner Custom Chassis, ipd Corp., Tenneco Automotive (Monroe), and Trailer Saver 5th wheel hitches. These companies make it possible for A?Weigh We Go to bring its services to the RV community.

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