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Old 10-23-2013, 07:46 AM   #1
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Default Camper tires are ?

I've read it's not good for camper tires to be parked on concrete.
I've read it's not good for camper tires to be parked on dirt.
I've read it's not good for camper tires to be exposed to the sun.
I've read camper tires should be replaced after 5 - 7 years regardless of use.

On every farm, lots of equipment with rubber tires are used/parked outside in the sun and on dirt all year and last for decades.

Cars/pickups parked in driveways or garages are usually on concrete without incurring any 'damage.'

I've owned vehicles that had little use annually, yet the tires lasted for decades.

Are camper tires made from a rubber compound that is different than other tires?

Just askin
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:55 AM   #2
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I don't think it's the surface it's parked on so much as leaving it parked with the trailer weight on the tires for extended periods of time. The problem is that the tires will tend to develop flat spots. That's why people with expensive sports cars they don't drive in the winter put them up on blocks.

As for longevity, even cars tires should be replaced after 5 years or so. The problem is the rubber starts to break down making them more prone to failure and they tend to lose some of their 'grip'.

As for farm equipmet, I don't have any experience with that, but I would guess its not so much of risk as it typically doesn't travel over the highways at high speed, so there's not as much of safety risk if a tire fails while pulling a plow. Just a guess though.

The other thing that tends to be frustrating with trailers is that they typically don't get used enough to wear down the tread very much over 5 years so they can look almost brand new visually.

My tires have just gone over the 5 year mark, so unfortunately I'm going to be replacing mine soon.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:41 AM   #3
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In my experience, growing up on a farm Dad purchased a new IHC KB5 2 ton farm truck in 1948 or 1949.

That truck was used to haul hay bales in the winter, to haul cattle spring/fall and to haul grain during harvest. Most of the time it wasn't used and was parked, sometimes with the tires on dirt and sometimes on concrete....but never put up on blocks.

That IHC truck was sold in 1985 with only, maybe 20,000 miles on it....and it still had the original tires, good tread and no noticeable weather checking.

Those tires did just fine in those 35+ years and probably many more years after it was sold.

Thinking of that; raised the question about camper tires.
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Old 10-23-2013, 01:51 PM   #4
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Farm trucks and tractors, even lawn implements, get a very different type of use. Usually low miles, low speeds and they are built differently.

Trailer tires, on the other hand, are used very little (lots of idle time), take a tremendous beating at high speeds (remember, they are only rated to 65 mph; how many do you see at 75 and up?), but, the biggest reason they don't last too long is the scuffing. Tractors, trucks, etc. have steering tires and driving tires. When you turn them, the fronts keep their relative alignment and the rears follow. With a trailer, every time you turn, even slightly, the sidewalls twist and the tread scuffs (unseen stresses on the tread plies and belts), you should watch sometime the extreme twist that the tires and axles take when backing at a sharp angle; looks like they are going to pop off the rims. All that sitting also keeps the additives to the rubber that help combat those stresses stay trapped deep in the tire (rolling helps move those compounds throughout the rubber) and if you let them sit in the sun, the sun bakes them out of the surface rubber (hence, you should always keep them covered when the trailer sits for any length of time). Leaving them sit on various surfaces, not only flat spots them (another belt stress), but, concrete will leach moisture up into the rubber and asphalt, due to its petroleum base will also degrade the rubber if left in contact on one area for long lengths of time. Dirt, per se, isn't necessarily bad for the tire, but, if parked on dirt for long periods of time, the tires make depressions and compress the dirt under them. These compressed depressions will collect water and the compressed soil will not drain as readily; the tires are going to sit in puddles, again, not a good idea. AFAIK, the best "long term" storage for trailer tires is: hang them in air (I keep both of my antique cars on low hydraulic lifts with the tires suspended in mid-air), park it on firmly packed gravel with a deep bed (you don't want a single layer of gravel in a dirt depression) or parked on lumber (what I do with my trailers) and keep them aired up and covered. I even keep my antique auto tires covered (along with the rest of the car) even though they are both garaged to prevent UV exposure through the windows; the tires on my Eldorado are 12 years old, still round, still supple and no sidewall checks. On lumber the tires will still flat spot, but, the water, even if it soaks the wood will evaporate out leaving a dry surface and that wood, above ground, really doesn't soak up that much water unless it rains for 40 days and 40 nights! Truck (heavy duty trucks, not light trucks) and tractors have tremendously thick rubber compounds designed to take those long periods of sitting idle, but, they also ride like they have tremendously thick rubber...

Is all of the above gospel and scientifically documented? Not a chance, but, it is a collection of logical reasons gleaned over many years of experience and a heck of a lot of threads as to why our darned ST tires don't last as long as the tires on your bicycle, your lawn tractor, your farming tractor, etc... They just plain don't, but, the above can help you get the maximum use out them. I've gotten more than 5 years out of even "China Bombs", but, usually, by the 5 year mark you'll start to see sidewall checking and that's the "handwriting on the wall", changem' or loosem'



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Old 10-23-2013, 03:54 PM   #5
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Ok......what you say makes sense considering all factors.

I didn't know they were speed rated at only 65 mph! That is news to me.

And, thank you for the information. Cleared up my question.

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Old 10-23-2013, 04:10 PM   #6
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Take a real close look at the printing on the sidewall...if they are ST (Special Trailer) tires, you'll see that they are only rated up to 65 mph. I've been blown off the road by many folks hauling their RVs at 75 mph or better (especially out West) only to come up on them in 10 or 15 minutes sitting on the side of the road with a blow out. I had one truck come by me doing ~75 and it blew out almost next to me. Fortunately, I happened to look over at him, kind of shaking my head as he went by and I noticed his tire starting to delaminate. I got on the brakes and, fortunately, he had just passed my front bumper when it blew, sending him and a bunch of "gators" over into my lane. The good Lord was watching out for me or I'd have had his toy hauler in my lap...of course the DW had no idea what was going; all of a sudden I'm on the brakes and there's smoke, rubber bits and a toy hauler dead ahead. She calmed down in about an hour...

Worst things for your tires: underinflation, over speed and over loading. Most won't admit it, but, those are the most common reasons for tire failures, not where they were made. I've always run the stock "China Bombs", but, I've never had a blow out. I keep them aired up (check before leaving the campground), tow at ~60 mph and never over load. Along with keeping them covered and parked on wood (at home) or plastic blocks (when we are camping), that and a little angel watching over me



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Old 10-24-2013, 10:07 AM   #7
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Default Great advice, Don! And a question

I never knew, until now, why folks said to keep the tires off the concrete -- it's the moisture! Fortunately, I live in a dry area, and my driveway is slanted, so there is little or no moisture under my tires. I do cover them with those canvas hoods.

And now, a follow-up question -- would it make sense to put jacks under the axle to lift the weight off the tires when the trailer is parked for a long time? We travel every month or two, but there are times (especially in January and February) where we rarely use the trailer.

And if jacks make sense, should the tire be off the ground, or should I just lift up a little to ease the weight?

As always, webslave, thanks in advance for your wisdom!
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:11 PM   #8
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I don't do anything unusual except I do keep them covered with those vinyl tire covers. Tires are on concrete. I check pressure before every trip. 50 psi cold always and to date no tire issues. I do find myself exceding the speed of 65 mph but it's not extended cruising above that as it cost to much in fuel.

Ties that came on the 276 have about 12-15k on them just guessing.
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Old 10-24-2013, 04:49 PM   #9
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Lifting the tires off the ground would be best, but...

There's always one of those (but) isn't there?

There is inherent danger in trying to lift a travel trailer. Unlike cars, they don't come with lift points and the safest place to lift is right where the axle meets the spring perch. That point is designed to take the trailer's weight with no damage, but, that is a single point. You can't put a jack there and lift and then put a jack stand in the same place. You could get 4 hydraulic jacks for jacking all four points simultaneously, but, that leads to $$$$ and time and the dubious ability of affordable jacks to hold their pressure without blowing seals for a long term, all weather lift. The hydraulic lifts that I have for my antique cars were pricey (~$2K each), but, for the application they've paid for themselves in tire life and servicing the cars. I don't know if I'd spend that kind of money for my RV...a lift rated at 6 to 10 tons with the adjustments for RVs would get out of my pocketbook's range real quick But, to answer your question directly, yes, getting the tires off the ground would be better, but, see the last paragraph for "best".

Another option, and I've thought about doing it for the trailer is a special "block" that goes under the tire. It was designed for antique cars to keep the tires from flat spotting while in storage, but, they've gained use in high performance and hot rods now since they, too, are a limited use type vehicle. They are sized for different size tires and they are in an arc that matches the curvature of the tire. Keeps the tire from getting a flat spot at ground contact as the tire is actually supported in its natural curvature. I actually considered them for my antique cars, but, I wanted to decompress the suspension on the cars at the same time during storage so I went with the lifts instead.

Here's the the type of thing I'm describing:

Flat Spot Stoppers

There are several companies making them, but, they are all pretty similar; curved plastic designed to support and cradle the tire in its natural shape. Something like them, might be easiest and would probably be safe for the tire's rubber compound to boot. I'm pretty lazy though and the first axle would be easy to get them under the tire (just back the trailer up onto it), but, the second one won't fit in the space between the axles, so, you'd have to jack up that axle, slide it under the tire and then lower it down onto it. You would have to reverse that procedure to remove it. With a lighter trailer it is doable, but, with my 11,000 lb 5er on a sloped gravel driveway, jacking an axle isn't exactly a risk I'm willing to take. The boards that I use, I can back up onto and as long as I keep the tires aired up (they are rated at 80 psi and when in storage, I actually put 92 pounds in them) the flat spotting is minimal. Over pressurizing the tires will help to make the "flat spot" smaller, as the tire won't deform as much. 92 psi is still well under what the psi goes to when starting from the 80 psi recommended cold pressure and the summer roads get hot. Tire pressures then get up closer to 95-96 psi.

There are many things that can be done; the "best" would be to take them off all together, put them in a heated garage, hung on the wall and shielded from sunlight. There comes into play though, the small return on the energy invested in doing the "best". The previous "do" list; keep the speed down, keep them aired, keep them protected from the sun, keep them dry (off items that will either soak them or bleed them of chemicals) and try not to let them sit longer than necessary (that's what I tell my wife..."Honey, we need to go to XYZ so that I don't flat-spot the tires"...she just rolls her eyes, she gets the "itch" to wander just like I do) and you'll be doing better than most at prolonging the life of your tires and increasing your joy and safety in traveling. I use the "do" list. In well over 100,000 miles of trailer towing, I've never had a blow out, even using the "China Bombs" that come stock on these RVs. As soon as I post this I'll go say a special "thanks" to the little angel that watches over me... That also reminds me...I need to check the air in the Journey's tires; I should have done it yesterday, but, it was raining and I forgot today...Don write yourself a note...



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Old 10-24-2013, 07:05 PM   #10
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Lots of interesting comments and advise.

However .... ----- since my unit is stored inside and on dirt, those tires will just have to suffer "flatspotites" from mid October to Mid March when the county moves of out of the storage building as there is zero access in storage.

When I get it home again and it's parked on my concrete drive area during non-use, instead of backing the tires onto wood, I've secured acouple pieces of 1/4" thick plastic for them to rest on.

That is the best I will do for them and they will like it 'cause they have no choice, I'm in charge.
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Old 10-24-2013, 09:59 PM   #11
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Default Overinflate for storage!

Man, the hits just keep on coming! It never occurred to me to overinflate slightly while the trailer is parked, but it makes sense -- my tires are supposed to run at 50, and I will keep them at 55 between trips.

Once again, thanks for the great tips.
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:15 AM   #12
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Here is a link I found with facts about ST camper tires.

http://www.discounttire.com/dtcs/inf...rTireFacts.dos


This supports what has been stated by webslave and LJAZ.

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Old 05-29-2014, 10:37 AM   #13
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Default Another reason to take the load off ..

A little late to this ... but other than agreeing with all of webslave's notes, an additional reason for taking the load off the tires/axles for long storage periods is to relieve stress on the wheel bearings. Been told that by several sources (RV service shops, tire shop, a few forum posts) that it is never good for the bearings to sit static under load for long periods. I like the idea of providing a little lift to the rig at the axle load points for all the above reasons. Need to investigate an efficient process for that!
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:49 AM   #14
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The tires on our camper were replaced last year. The camper was stored in the winter inside a large building where the temp never dropped below 45 degrees. Three times while in storage I moved the camper around as not to develop flat spots, and made sure they were inflated as stated. When I moved the camper back to our driveway I checked the tires and notice some very tiny sort of hair line cracks in the sidewall. Is this normal, and do I need to replace them after 1 year, or are these very tiny cracks normal? Also, as a side note does anyone make white sidewall letter camper tires?
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Old 05-29-2014, 02:51 PM   #15
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Update, our camper tires are the originals from 2007. I thought they were new as they looked brand new with the tread. I called Load Star and gave them the date on the tire and yep, made in 2007. Wow, anyway I just ordered a set of 4 Maxxis 6 ply instead of the 5 ply Load Stars that are on it now.
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Old 06-01-2014, 10:28 AM   #16
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Smart move to replace. I can tell you that once they start to degrade, they do go faster than you might think. Mine are 3 years old, still essentially look new. I do take care of them, treat with UV protectant and keep them covered when not on a trip, always make sure they are at the 50lb and do not over load. I will replace likely after the five year period, regardless of their 'apparent' condition.

But several years ago we had a pop up that had tires that I treated the same way ... but I failed to watch the date. One day, while running down the freeway on the way to a shop for a wheel bearing pack, I got a wave and honk from a passerby pointing at the trailer. Pulled off and did a walk around ... one of the tires had lost about 1/2 the tread with only bare belts showing! NARROWLY missed a disastrous blowout that likely would have done significant damage to that side of the trailer because it was designed with such a low suspension. Whew ... made a believer outame! These tires were 8 years old and had just begun to show very minor checking! Just not worth pressing one's luck!
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