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China tires

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Got a question on China-made tires on an RV forum.
Tireman, In a Post, you commented on not expecting long life performance out of the lowest priced tires. There seems to be something in all of the reports for "China Bombs" in that there are a lot of reported failures. Is the hype bigger than the problem? Should well maintained OEM tires last better than what is being reported? Is it your assessment that the seemingly high percentage of failures is due to the OEM tires being cheap, low-cost tires?
Sailun tires seem to have a good reputation, even though they are China tires. So it would seem that it's really just an issue of quality of the build. A good tire is a good tire, regardless of where it's made?
In general, I would consider steel body tires, like many Sailun items, "Commercial" grade, be they LT or ST type and as such I would expect them to perform better than lighter duty tires (both ST & LT type).


A problem with "reports" of failures is that almost no owners have the knowledge or training necessary to properly identify the real cause for failure. So while there may be a dozen reports of "Blowouts", there could be a dozen different root cause reasons. Some might even not be tire related cause but valve or wheel failure or pothole or 10d nail through the sidewall.

RE quality. All tires sold in the US are required to be certified by the manufacturer to be capable of passing Federal Regulations. If tires do not pass a test (random selection by DOT) or if there are sufficient complaints to get the attention of NHTSA they might initiate an investigation. If it is found that tires do not pass the required testing then a recall might be ordered and recalls would include all tires made since the last tire that passed the test was made. This could be many thousand tires. There are also fines. So this is something tire companies really do not want to have happened.

I have written a number of times on my blog about "China" tires and how I disagree with the concept which I liken to claiming that RVs made in Indiana are bad because most of the complaints or problem reports are about RVs built in Indiana.
__________________
Retired Tire Design Engineer

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Good points.  May I suggest, that most tire failure is caused by owner error!  Too much or to little tire pressure, incorrect loaded RV, over weight.  

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48 minutes ago, manholt said:

Good points.  May I suggest, that most tire failure is caused by owner error!  Too much or to little tire pressure, incorrect loaded RV, over weight.  

Don’t forget the 65mph tire rolling by at 90 which has always been my favorite, 2nd favorite is the uneven distribution across the axles. Trailer nose pointed down or in the clouds.

I have ran China tires in construction, trucks and trailers of all sizes. Never a problem other than ride quality!

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17 hours ago, manholt said:

Good points.  May I suggest, that most tire failure is caused by owner error!  Too much or to little tire pressure, incorrect loaded RV, over weight.  

In addition, the tendency of some manufacturers to provide tires rated barely above the dry weight of the camper is a big contributor.  My camper had about a 30% margin above the GVWR and my cheap China tires were fine.  I did eventually replace them with the Carlisle Radial Trail tires which have been excellent, and also made in China.

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34 minutes ago, djsamuel said:

In addition, the tendency of some manufacturers to provide tires rated barely above the dry weight of the camper is a big contributor. 

I have also seen RV's overweight when they left the manufacturing plant. The last one was a Fleetwood Jamboree Class C. Rear axle was overloaded already, and what was there was behind the rear axle so when you filled the fresh tank it became hard to steer as there wasn't enough weight on the steer axle. Buyer beware I guess..?

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On 6/10/2019 at 6:33 PM, manholt said:

Good points.  May I suggest, that most tire failure is caused by owner error!  Too much or to little tire pressure, incorrect loaded RV, over weight.  

I once read an article by the RMA = Rubber Manufacturers Assn., that stated over 90% of all tire failures were the result of under-inflation or overloading. I no longer have assess to their website, so don't know if that's still true today.

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Ray, don't think it has changed in the RV industry.  Each year, I go thru the coach and weigh what's inside and under.  I discard anything that we have not used in a year!  Time consuming, yes, but amazing, the stuff that just rides along...also, duplication!   I bet over 90% of owners, have no clue what's hiding in drawers, cabinets & clothes...duplication of tools under coach & inside coach, too many hoses and electric lines.  

The first time I weight things, was 12 years ago...I took everything out and stacked by category in my garage.  I then drove the coach to the dealership and brought my new coach home.  What I brought out of my old 32', did not fit in my new 40'...that's a wake up call...That''s when I became aware of duplication & weight.      

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Carl, I did the same when we traded our 40' 5er for this MH. When we loaded the MH we had a pickup truck bed full of excess/useless stuff, and the MH still had lots of empty compartments/cabinets-still has most of them. That sure turned on the light bulb. It was also the likely reason I had to switch to Sailun 16" LR G tires on the 5er.

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I realize all tires sold in the US are ''supposed" to meet US specs.  That sounds good, but there are many 5th wheel and pull behind owners with horror stories about their Chinese tires.  I changed out my Chinese tires on a 5th wheel because they were not wearing evenly, even though there was lots of tread left.  During the change out, the shop foreman asked me to come out and look at one of my tires....it was literally coming apart.  I was lucky just to make the tire shop.  Unless the shop reported this failure, it was never reported.  I replaced them with heavy duty US make LT pick up tires that were rated to carry the load.

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On 6/18/2019 at 3:27 PM, FIVE said:

I realize all tires sold in the US are ''supposed" to meet US specs.  That sounds good, but there are many 5th wheel and pull behind owners with horror stories about their Chinese tires.  I changed out my Chinese tires on a 5th wheel because they were not wearing evenly, even though there was lots of tread left.  During the change out, the shop foreman asked me to come out and look at one of my tires....it was literally coming apart.  I was lucky just to make the tire shop.  Unless the shop reported this failure, it was never reported.  I replaced them with heavy duty US make LT pick up tires that were rated to carry the load.

Operator error is the cause of most tire failures IMO. With a couple exceptions ST tires have a maximum continous speed rating of 65 MPH, most say to inflate to sidewall maximum pressure. I ruined 4 tires at the same time, I made a spot turn on a city street in Van, TX. in Aug. This broke the sidewall belts, shortly thereafter I noticed the 5er shaking, stopped to check things and found a football on the side of each tire. Now that was not the fault of the tire.

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18 hours ago, RayIN said:

....Now that was not the fault of the tire...

You made a turn, the tires failed....doesn't sound like 'operator error' to me.  My Chinese Missions did not come with a warning...."DO NOT MAKE SHARP TURNS."

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I only saw 2 trailers with tire problems today in Tenn. Ok one was definitely operator error it was way overloaded. Ok the hubs were bent to where the tires looked like they had blown out from rubbing the fenders about 45 deg.

Didn't have enough info on the 5th wheel to make a guess. I have looked/payed more attention to trailers after reading more on tire problems. I am surprised they last as long as they do. Lots of trailers bouncing and swaying back and forth some rather violently. 

Bill

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My last trip to Tennessee last September, I was cruising I-75 at near 70 mph, many trucks passed me but a couple passed at very excessive speeds, I passed both of those before getting to my destination. I passed both of those on the side of the road with blowouts. I doubt that they both were using cheap China tires, just excessive speeds.

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13 hours ago, FIVE said:

You made a turn, the tires failed....doesn't sound like 'operator error' to me.  My Chinese Missions did not come with a warning...."DO NOT MAKE SHARP TURNS."

Background; tires were 2 yrs old, inflated to sidewall max (85psi),  hot TX day, street blacktop-sticky black tar look. I should have remembered this was a recipe for ruining tandem tires, when making a spot turn. IMO it induced such excessive sidewall stress that the belts were fatally damaged. I remembered seeing a guy over-stress his tandems to the point it broke the bead-seal on one tire, don't know any details, like tire pressure, etc.

So, yes I consider it operator error on my part.

As to warning statements; Chevrolet never has cautioned owners about pulling an empty flatbed semi out of the mud with a 1/2T 4X4, but Dad did and pulled the aftermarket 8" channel steel rear bumper off one side his pickup, and bent the frame behind the rear axle.(he was positioned on blacktop road) Now that WAS operator error! No warning label can predict recklessness, or the lapse of common sense.(inherited trait?)

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IMHO, there are two serious problems with 5th wheels.  One is the lousy Chinese tires the manufactures put on them and the other is the people who pull a 16/18k trailer with a 3/4 ton truck.  They have no idea how to compute the tow capacity of their trucks, just read the brochure where it says they can pull xxxx pounds.  Then come on the internet and say, "been pulling trailers for years, pulls fine, never had a problem."

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