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Old 02-12-2019, 03:41 PM   #1
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Realistic tire advice wanted

Hey guys! I'm posting here 'cause I trust y'all's advice more than others.
I gave my Westlake ST205/75R14 (load range C) tires a good look-see today. They were made in March of 2013. I keep them properly inflated, covered and parked on boards while in storage. They show zero signs of unusual tread wear due to balance, load or alignment issues. All four tires look identical with nary a blemish, crack or bulge.
It's killing me to think about replacing these tires because of age. And it's not the money (really, they're in the budget). As an old-school auto mechanic, I have a strong "if it ain't broke..." point of view. Plus the shop where my trailers have been serviced closed and I haven't been able to find a tech who owns a torque wrench yet.
I'm a victim of paralysis by analysis.

Help a brutha out,
Teach
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Old 02-12-2019, 04:15 PM   #2
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What I would do is have a good look inside of the tread usually the tread is the last thing to wear out if there is any cracking between the treads replace them. I tend to agree with you on the age thing but any cracking is a good reason to replace them.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:06 PM   #3
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I am in the same boat. Based on age, I should have replaced I believe in 2017.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:14 PM   #4
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Hi Teach,

You have been good about the tire pressure, keeping them covered and stored up on boards, those are all excellent things to do.

And I know you have been around mechanical things a good long time. But we are talking about ST trailer tires here, not a older well kept auto.

There are some things you did not mention that may help you make this decision like,

How many miles are on the tires? Not a direct part of the answer, but we all camp differently and do not know how far away your trips are.

How long are you common camping trips? 5 miles, 50, 150 miles? When you get towards the 50 mile mark, the tires heat up and then things can happen if the tire is starting to degrade inside.

Have you weighed the camper and know the "loaded" ready to camp weight of the heaviest wheel?

Do you know the weights of the front axle loaded with the WD hitch engaged? The WD hitch adds extra weight to the front axle above the weight of the camper.

Do you have 20% extra rated tire capacity above the weight of the heaviest wheel location ever since the tires were new? This helps deter interply shear inside the tire trying to tear it apart when turning on tandem axles.

Assuming some of the above items may not be known right now, have you done a spin test of each tire? This is a prudent test to do as the tires age, ideally every year since new but for sure come year 3 and on. See this reply on the tire failures I had last spring. It talks about the interply shear and how to do the spin test.
Tire Failure, Tire Investigation and Camper Damage Repair

If I had done a spin test before I headed out in the spring of last year, I could of avoided my saga. I can guarantee you, I will never miss another one. Unless you have a lot of excess capacity in the tire since they are new, at the 20% and above the rating, the interply shear forces are there and acting on the tire on every turn. This does not matter if the tire has no cracks in the treads or side walls. They only aggravate the problem worse. The rubber is breaking down inside the tire.

Bottom line: Come this March your tires will be 6 years old. That is a year past the 5 year mark. As a fellow camper, to put this simply, it's great you made it 6 years, but consider it good fortune you made it that long. It's time to change them before you head out this spring.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:37 AM   #5
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Good Year does not specify age. Some do some don't some even say 3 years (they most likely want to sell tires)!
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:19 PM   #6
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Simply looking at your tires will not give you the info you need. You need to do a "Free Spin" inspection to check for any Out of Round or side to side wobble. I cover this in my RV Tire Blog with a video and show the results of an actual autopsy of a tire that has been through this type of an inspection.
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