If you think life on the road is significantly cheaper than living in RVs, think again. RV maintenance costs are often similar in price to home maintenance. This year we’ve had two huge expenses that rival any home repairs we’ve made in the past: our new turbo and manifold for the Dodge, and most recently a full set of matching RV trailer tires for our Arctic Fox. Ouch!
Why Matching RV Trailer Tires are a Must
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words and the one you see below demonstrates why we paid over $700 for our new Maxxis 225/75R15 LR E (Load Range E) trailer tires.
In the past we’ve replaced trailer tires as they wear out — or blow out, as two have in the last year. After Coach-Net rescued us from that second freeway tire blowout, we were prompted us get another RV weigh scale reading at Rainbow’s End in Livingston. We had to know: was the blowout caused by an object we hit on the highway? Or by packing too much stuff?
Thankfully the weighmaster said we’re not overweight. But she did recommend we replace all of our RV trailer tires with a full set of matching and heavier-duty trailer tires. A set of matching RV tires reduces the risk of future blowouts, she explained. And our hydraulic trailer brake guru Ron Russell, owner of Performance Trailer Braking, concurred.
Russel owns the company that handled our hydraulic disc brake conversion in January. According to Russell, those blowouts might have been caused by driving on tires that were too close to the top end of their reserve load capacity. Here’s how he explains the concept:
To understand “Reserve Load Capacity” you need look no further than the vehicle in your driveway.
Did you ever wonder why we have very few tire issues with our passenger cars, SUV’s and light trucks yet our trailer tires are a constant worry. The vehicles we drive every day have a 20%-30% reserve load capacity yet our trailers are running 90%+ loaded all the time.
So, if we want the type of safety and reliability out of our trailer tires that we have in our passenger vehicles, we first need to achieve a similar 20%-30% reserve load capacity.
Blowouts are one indicator of being too close to your reserve load capacity. We had three different brands of tires on the trailer with varying levels of reserve load capacity. To solve this problem Russell recommended we replace our existing ones with one of two different brands of tires: Goodyear and Maxxis. A full set of Goodyears came in around $530 and the Maxxis at $696. Ouch! We asked Russell: What’s the big deal about Maxxis? How would the investment pay off? Here’s what he said:
Why did you recommend those Maxxis tires over others?
The 2 biggest reasons.
I am on many forums and have found very few reports of tire problems with Maxxis. Most trailer tire companies reduce costs by taking material out of the tire. Maxxis appears to be one of the heaviest trailer tires in the industry which is an indication they have kept the design characteristics originally intended for ST tires. Ex. Heavier cord material, sidewalls and bead wire.
Will trailer tires with 20-30% reserve load capacity last longer than others without it?
Yes, but I cannot give you a number. On my trailer 16,500 GVWR I am running a 17.5 tire that will give me in excess of 30% reserve load capacity. I pulled the trailer 25,000 miles since Aug. 2015 and the tires are only 15%-20% worn. I am expecting 75,000 miles or more. There are many with the same trailer running 235/80R16 E that would be very happy to get 25-35,000 miles.
These tires are expensive, yet RV dealers and tire shops never recommend them (in our experience). Why is that?
Tire shops sell 1000x more passenger and LT tires. They simply don’t know
anything about trailer tire applications. Most shops don’t stock trailer tires and will call a local wholesaler and sell you whatever they happen to sell. Wholesalers are interested in volume. So, they will stock and sell the tire they can sell to local trailer mfg.
There you go. Russell shared a bit of information we wished we had known about a dozen new tire purchases ago. You always learn something new when you’re a full-time RVer. Last month during our stay in Northern California, we bit the bullet and ordered the Maxxis Tires, our first full set of matching RV trailer tires.
So far, so good. If everything goes as it should, these tires should last a long time and eliminate the risk of future blowouts. We’ll keep the Coach-Net Tire Hazard Protect Tire & Wheel Protection add-on to our roadside assistance plan, just in case. After all, you never know what you’ll accidentally bump into on the open road.