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No matter how many thousands of dollars are on design, powertrain, energy, and appliances, the whole RV driving interface are those small patches of rubber in contact with the terrain, The Tires.
Tire failure ranks as #1 vehicle-related factor in large trucks fatal crashes – US DOT FMCSA May 2019.
Excluding external factors, Tire failure is usually related to not paying attention to two elements: INFLATION AND STRUCTURAL CONDITION
An underinflated or overloaded tire will build up more heat that could go beyond the endurance limits of the rubber, steel belts, and radial cords. This could cause sudden tire failure.
Underinflation will cause poor handling, faster and/or irregular tire wear, and a reduction in fuel economy. Overinflation, on the other hand, will reduce the tire’s contact area with the road surface, which reduces traction, braking ability, and handling. A tire that is overinflated for the weight it is carrying is more prone to a harsh ride, uneven tire wear, and impact damage.
As a complex piece of engineering under several forces interacting at the same time, tires are susceptible to structural damage which leads to progressive and/or catastrophic failures.
A detailed inspection of the tires’ exterior could reveal key signs for preventive or emergency maintenance.
Dual Kissing damage occurs when two tires in dual configuration make contact with each other while in operation. The heat generated by the friction between the two tires severely weakens the casing material of both tires. The condition may be caused by incorrect wheel width, incorrect wheel offset, or underinflation.
Fatigue Rupture damage is sometimes called a “zipper” because of the zipper-like effect it creates in the steel casing cords of the damaged tire. When casing cables are repeatedly bent due to overload and/or underinflation, they are damaged and will eventually break.
Since all of the tire cables are exposed to the same amount of stress, many will rupture at the same time. This severe rupture is extremely dangerous and can happen unexpectedly: hours, days or even months after the initial overload happened.
The purpose of alignment is to minimize tire wear and to maximize predictable vehicle handling and driver control. Toe misalignment is the number one cause of steer tire irregular wear.
Prolonged exposure to extreme weather and UV rays, not proper inflation, constant contact with chemicals and normal aging could generate a cracking appearance on the tires’ sidewalls; when the cracks extend deeper than 2/32”, the tire should be inspected or replaced.