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Purchasing a pre-owned trailer?  Has your trailer parked for a long time?  Check the DOT build date on each tire, the tires may be a safety hazard!

 

We bought our 2000 Holiday Rambler 29FKS travel trailer at Oregon last month and inspected the tire tread before heading home.  Tread depth is not enough, though, you need to inspect tires for age as well.  The 8-ply Load Range D tires, fortunately, got our 10000# GVWR (8,000# over-the-road this trip) trailer home in one piece.  A post-trip inspection, however, found two tires with belt separation.  One was on the verge of throwing the center tread. 

 

Trailer tires often get the worst treatment imaginable.  Our rare find trailer was garaged when not in use but still endured summer UV when in service.  These tires likely were not jacked off the ground during long idle periods, and this tears at the belts, leading to separation.  Between UV, rubber aging and parking "flat spots",  these four tires were a recipe for belt separation or a blowout.

 

Buy a new set of quality tires whenever your trailer tires have five years of clock time.  In our case, the tires were '06 built with plenty of tread.  One 650 mile trip home was enough, though;  we were lucky a tire didn't blow apart and rip a fender skirt off our trailer...

 

Here are some tire defect issues found in this set of tires: 

 

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This is belt separation.  The flat tread surface now looks like a "Space Saver" spare!  This tire is ripe for a blowout, and the tread would likely rip the plastic skirt from the trailer—or worse!

 

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Space Saver spare?  Hardly! This is a belt separating.  Next few miles would have the tread unraveling from the tire carcass.

 

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Feathering like this is an indication of tread separation or camber issues.  By design, the trailer's beam axles flex with loads. This changes the camber angle.  Inspect tires regularly for wear or abnormalities.  Rotate them as you would your tow vehicles' tires, from rear axle straight forward, moving the front axle's tires in cross to the rear axle.

 

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Can you spot the tire with the belt separation?  Actually, there are two with belt separation, ready to blow off the tread!

 

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Choppiness at left edge is from tire imbalance.  Imbalance produces a scalloping effect.  Belt separation can lead to other issues, including this imbalance condition that quickly scarfed the tire edge. 

 

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The DOT numbers include a date of production.  These Brand-X tires were built in 2006.  The Goodyear Marathon tire in this set is actually the spare and dates to 1999, an original tire for this 2000 model year trailer.  Forget the tread depth, all five of these tires are scrap.

 

I purchased a new set of five (5) 10-ply load range E replacement tires.  OE called for load range D (8-ply)...If your tires are over five years old, replace them.  Our trailer when loaded will weigh 8,300-8,500 pounds.  That's a lot of weight for 225/75R15 tires, even if 10-ply rated!

 

Moses

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