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RVing Tip of the Day

The crisis of RV tire quality
by Steve Savage, Mobility RV Service

If you haven't had an RV tire blowout on your trailer or fifth wheel yet, the betting man says you will soon.

Scanning RV Internet forums, it doesn't take long to see tire failures are costly and, unfortunately, all too frequent. The naysayers proclaim with proper air pressure and good maintenance none of this would be happening. If that were the case, why does it seem to be commonplace with towable rigs, but not nearly so common in automobiles and pickup trucks, despite the fact that cars and trucks dramatically outnumber RVs?

Easy, you say. Most if not all RV tires come from suppliers based outside of the United States and are made to a different standard (Special Trailer, or ST) than tires made for light trucks (LT). Trailer tires should be built with stiffer sidewalls and operate at higher air pressure than those found on trucks. In my opinion, it's not the standard to which the tires are built, nor is it due to the fact many RVs sit outside for months at a time, neglected. Many cars and trucks sit outside for the same amount of time or longer and are just as severely neglected.

Here's my two bits' worth: The problem with RV tires rests on the shoulders of RV manufacturers and RV owners. The RV industry markets trailer wheels on the components that are designed to move them off dealer lots — the things that people pay attention to — and tires are just not on the list. Like the carpet on the floor of most RVs, which is usually the cheapest, shortest-lived product in the carpet catalog. For tires, it's the same — the cheapest tires mounted under those shiny new RVs.

Take a look at the tires on your rig and read the label. Ask yourself: Who the heck makes these? Because 99 times out of 100, I bet you never heard of the brand name gracing that sidewall. If there is any truth to "you get what you pay for," you sure must not be paying much for most RV tires.

How is this the consumer's fault? Simple. The majority of buyers don't properly educate themselves before making that first purchase. They buy a floor plan or a color scheme and ignore more basic construction features. How many buyers ask to inspect the roof of the rig they're contemplating buying? How many ask to weigh the new "love of their life" before they buy it to see if the weight stickers are accurate? Did you lie on that mattress before you dragged it to the campground? The same holds true with the tires under that camper. Until buyers start paying attention to them, manufacturers won't either.

"So what? I'll hardly put any miles on my new trailer anyway. Why should I care what tires are under it?" My response? Every week during the camping season I get calls requesting tire service from families broken down on the Interstate. These calls often come at night or on the weekend, times when stores are closed and most people are in bed. You get the picture. Neither I, nor dozens of technicians like me, have an assortment of every tire and wheel size made at our disposal. That means when you break down and need a tire, you are likely broken down for hours and in some cases days, not minutes! Tire failures disrupt long-planned vacations, family reunions and you-name-its. So, first of all, tire failures have a human cost.

Second, blowouts have a financial cost that often goes way beyond the cost of a tire or a tire and wheel. When your RV tire blows, the sidewall unravels and takes with it trim, sidewall, floor, water lines, wiring, propane lines, or whatever is in its path. I have seen more than one camper lose up to eight feet of floor, a foot wide, above the tire that failed. Yes, it all can be repaired, but it sure is an inconvenience having to deal with repair centers and insurance adjusters. Again, this is the kind of thing that cuts into that long-awaited trip to Disney or Aunt Fanny’s Fun Factory.

What to do? First, stop buying RVs with tires that would serve better as trash can liners. What tires are junk? Look at what's on the rig. If it's new, almost certainly the tires are the cheapest thing the manufacturer could find when it rolled down the line. If it's a used rig, see if the name is one you recognize. Chances are good it won't be, so you should probably assume the tires will have to be replaced. But if you are simply going to park it in a campground someplace and leave, then you won't need to replace the tires until you move it.

You could be daring and negotiate the price of new tires into the selling price. Imagine what would happen if everyone buying a new trailer told the dealer replacing the tires was part of the conditions of the sale. If that happened a thousand times, it would create a revolution in RV tires.

I can't name by brand the bad tires — there are so many. We run Maxxis on our towables because the tire salesmen swear they're better. They sure are more expensive. Are they perfect? Hardly, but so far, they have not left me sweating on the Interstate changing a flat. Another thing: Every RVer should carry a spare, no exceptions. And when you replace your tires, jump up a rating from a C to a D, or from a D to an E. You'll get more carrying capacity. Keep 'em aired up to the maximum pressure shown on the tire sidewall and stay safe in your travels.


Original Owners Club Member
I saw that. It seems the writer is putting the blame equally on the rv owner as well as the manufacturer.


Founding Texas-West Chapter Leaders-Retired
would love to hear an opinion from the Heartland folks on this.

I doubt you will hear anything, especially if it's a cost-cutting, industry-wide practice.

But, Heartland has stepped up to offer Sailun tires, rather than TowMax, on the LM-BC-BH line, as reported here by an owner taking a recent plant tour.


Well-known member
A few small issues with that piece:

1. He claims RV tires fail more often than car or truck tires. Where are the stats to back that up? No one so far has had any real luck getting failure rates for RV tires.

2. He thinks as a condition of sale we should demand "better" tires. Good idea. Ok, show me the evidence one is better than another. Evidence is failure rate of x per thousand on the road for y years. No? Kind of kills the negotiation.

3. Ratings. He suggests upgrading when you get new tires. I like this idea, but different experts disagree. Higher load rated tires behave a bit differently. Personally, I think it is a good idea, but I was just reading an online blog (trying to remember which one, but it has been around forever and appears authoritative) that suggested the RV makers engineer the tire performance characteristics into the trailers. I doubt that strongly. After all, there is an off-order-sheet option on Bighorns for Goodyear G614's. Has Heartland checked them out?

What's bugging me so much about all this is the certainty people have about what's right or wrong. I know from my automotive (track driving) experience that tires are a critical part of the vehicle and that it is very important to match the tire to the suspension, etc.

Having said all that, I will personally be more comfortable with G rated tires. Whether or not they reduce my chances for a blowout are unknown.


Well-known member
Didn`t have time to read you long post but I feel if I have GY 614 tires at $400 each I can`t do any better.


Founding Utah Chapter Leaders-Retired
I doubt you will hear anything, especially if it's a cost-cutting, industry-wide practice.

But, Heartland has stepped up to offer Sailun tires, rather than TowMax, on the LM-BC-BH line, as reported here by an owner taking a recent plant tour.

I received G-rated Sailun tires three and a half years ago on my factory ordered 2011 Bighorn 3670RL.
They were actually very decent tires that I got about 15K miles out of.
The only reason I had to change them when I did, was due to my own negligence in not keeping them properly inflated. Trace
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Well-known member
OK, here is my $0.01 worth. Speaking from, been there, done that, and have a couple of T-shirts. Had 2 of the factory tires fail, within 500 miles of each other, with between 3K and 4K total miles on them. On my triple axle trailer, one was in the middle on passenger side and one was front axle on driver's side. Had done extensive reading and knew to keep at max 80psi, checking pressures every day and temp readings at every stop. Replaced all 6 with G614's, inflated to 100 psi (not 110 max) and no more tire problems with over 20K on tires. However, did have Correct Trac installed at Goshen last year. OP compared reports of truck tire failure reports with RV reports and led us to believe it was only the tires or owners. However, if my P/U was significantly out of alignment, I would know it immediately...not so with a trailer I was towing (not driving) down the road. The OP also indicated we should keep our tires inflated to max pressure indicated on side wall. I was doing that with the original tires that failed and 100psi in G614's, but then 3 out of 6 E rated wheels cracked. I have had everything weighed at each of the 3 National rallies we have attended and at each one they indicated I could run less pressure in my tires according to the Manufacturer's inflation charts they provided. I was hard-headed and didn't make the change until we left Urbana. Lowered pressures in trailer from 100 to 80psi and in my rear duallys from 80psi (their max psi) to 70psi. The ride was amazing. Jolting was minimal and was less stressful on me and the rig. So, in the end, I will replace tires on the new rig ASAP but will only run the tires at max pressure until I can get an accurate weight and then go by the Mfd's inflation chart. And, because the new rig comes with Correct Trac, will find an authorized service center to check alignment ASAP. To the OP, I appreciate your comments, but, as usual in most subjects, simple and generalized answers don't fit every situation in life.


Well-known member
Lou and Bette,

Great post! I have correctrac too. I can't find a place that can do the alignment. Do you have any suggestions?



Well-known member
Bob, since the newer rigs are coming with Correct Trac, I believe you can call HL customer service and they can direct you to a dealer authorized to do this. Also, I believe you can call Lippert customer service and they can direct you also. I believe there is a charge for the alignment check but, if you are still in warranty, there is no charge for actual alignment if needed...charge for this if you are out of warranty. (Don't hold me to charge info)


Well-known member
The check uses a laser alignment tool provided by Lippert to the dealer. If axles aren't tracking correctly relative to the pinbox, usually due to uneven weight distribution, CorrectTrack gear lets them make corrective adjustments. If you have an older coach that didn't come with CorrectTrack, an aftermarket version can be installed to allow adjustments.

Many Camping Worlds have the equipment and in the past have priced it at $99. I've seen $50 off coupons bringing it down to $49. I've never heard of it being free under warranty.

A shop that doesn't have the laser alignment equipment would have to figure out a way to measure the distance from the pin to each wheel and how to make the adjustments correctly.


Well-known member
Talking about ST tires is so important, by doing so we might save someone from major repair and or disappointment. We might even save someone's life.


Well-known member
Many Camping Worlds have the equipment and in the past have priced it at $99. I've seen $50 off coupons bringing it down to $49. I've never heard of it being free under warranty

Sorry Dan, I thought I read on the Forum somewhere that if the alignment was off from the factory, HL would pay to have it corrected...seems I am the one corrected. I knew HL wouldn't cover the cost of the measurement but only the correction if needed if the condition noted was present. Still, cheap if it saves only a tire, not to mention any collateral damage. I plan on having it done ASAP on the new rig.


Lou, most of the trailers at Urbanna had the Saliun tires. Maybe you'll luck out - or at least request a swap out.
I just bought a Heartland Mallard M210RB, I made new Maxxis tires part of the deal.
After I made the deal, I said allow me $500.00 for new tires, they said no, I walked. The next day I got a call, done deal. I wish everyone would do that!