Low-quality RV tires have developed the nickname “China bombs” in the RV community. These tires can explode without notice and leave you stranded on the side of the road.
Testing your roadside assistance is not how you want to spend your vacation. Let’s take a look at why China bomb tires may ruin your RV vacation and a few things you can do to avoid issues.
What Are China Bomb Tires?
Tires that are manufactured in China are sometimes called “China bombs.” Because they are rather cheap, they’re often the tire of choice for RV manufacturers. Due to their low-quality materials and manufacturing, they’re notorious for blowing out while on the road.
Why Do They Call Them China Bombs?
These tires get the nickname because they often show little or no warning signs that something might be wrong. When they blow, it can be like a small bomb hitting your RV.
While it may feel like a small bomb, the impacts of a tire exploding can be enormous. Damaged metal skirting is rather common, but some RVers have also experienced damage to their RV’s flooring or slides.
Damage from these tires can be costly. Even minimal damage from these tires can cost $500 to $1,000 to repair. However, if you’re unlucky enough to suffer extensive damage to your RV, you could be looking at a repair bill or insurance claim that’s several thousand dollars.
Are All RV Tires From China Unsafe?
Like most products, some brands are better than others. A majority of tires manufacturers use on RVs come from China.
Not every RVer experiences a blowout during their adventures. It’s easy to blame the tires in many of these circumstances. However, user error and a lack of proper maintenance likely account for a large number of blowouts.
Is There Any Truth to the China Bomb Claims, or Is It All Hype?
There are only a few RV tire brands readily available that are made in the USA. Most RV manufacturers use low-quality tires made in China.
Unless RVers have specifically upgraded their tires to one of the few American-made tire brands, they probably have tires from China. As a result, when these blowouts occur, it’s easy to blame the tire, the brand, or the country of origin.
Even though most of the tires that blow did come from China, there’s a good chance drivers could have avoided many of these blowouts with proper maintenance. Overloading an RV or running tires with too low or high tire pressure can contribute to a blowout.
Key Tips for RV Tire Safety
We want you to be safe while on the road and avoid a blowout. Let’s take a look at a handful of RV tire safety tips!
Maintain Proper Pressure
The tires on your RV will have a recommended maximum pressure. If you don’t know the maximum pressure of your tires, you can typically find the information on the sidewall of each tire.
If you know the weight of your RV, you can check your tire manufacturer’s website for a weight chart. This chart will give you the recommended tire pressure when your tires are cold.
You should check your tire pressure before every trip. Carrying a portable air compressor can make it easy to adjust your tire pressure, even when you’re nowhere near a gas station or your air compressor at home.
Know Your RV Tire Speed Rating
You may not know it, but your RV tires also have a speed rating. This is the maximum speed the manufacturer recommends for the tires. Exceeding the recommended speed rating can increase the temperature of your tires. As the tire temperature increases, it also increases the chances of a tire failure.
Even if your RV tires have a high-speed rating, many RVers won’t exceed 65 mph. While it may add a few extra minutes to your trip, you’re likely to experience better fuel consumption as well.
Replace Tires Older Than 5 Years
While RV tires can last 25,000 miles or more, they typically don’t age well. You should replace your tires once they hit their fifth birthday. This is because the rubber material used in tires can weaken as it ages.
This is often from extended exposure to the sun and changing temperatures. These cracks can be extremely detrimental as you travel down the road. Even if you’re only taking your RV on short weekend trips, it’s important to ensure your tires aren’t any older than five years old.
Properly Load and Distribute the Weight in Your RV
Loading your RV in a way that evenly distributes the weight is crucial. Having too much weight on one side of your RV can cause one side of your RV’s tires to wear unevenly.
The added weight can cause the temperature of your RV’s tires to rise as well. This can increase the wear and tear on your tires and leave you stranded on the side of the road.
Use a TPMS
A tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) can be a great way to keep an eye on your tires while traveling. These devices use sensors that connect to the tires and communicate with a receiver in your vehicle. They’ll broadcast pressure changes and send alerts if the system detects a leak or a blowout.
These systems will immediately alert you, which can help you avoid damaging your RV. You want to pull over at a safe location as soon as you possibly can. Having a TPMS is pretty much a necessity if you’re planning to use your RV regularly.
Which RV Tires Are Made in the USA?
Not all RV tires come from China. Goodyear, Cooper, and Carlisle are a few popular tire brands RVers choose for their RVs. However, just because a company produces its tires in the U.S. doesn’t make them perfect. These tires can still fail, especially if you’re not regularly checking your tire pressure or replacing them.
China bomb tires can ruin your RV vacation if you don’t stay on top of the maintenance or keep an eye on your tire pressure. However, following the tips we’ve provided, you can help ensure you have a smooth RV vacation.
Have you ever had a China bomb ruin an RV trip?
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