Taking Care of Tires

The significance of proper inflation and loading is not appreciated by most drivers because the results of under inflation and/or overloading often don’t show up immediately. A temporarily underinflated/overloaded tire may fail long after the inadequacy has been corrected, depending on driving conditions.

The significance of proper inflation and loading is not appreciated by most drivers because the results of under inflation and/or overloading often don’t show up immediately. A temporarily underinflated/overloaded tire may fail long after the inadequacy has been corrected, depending on driving conditions.

Heat is a tire’s worst enemy, and excessive heat is the result of underinflation/ovoverloading, as well as the cause of tread separation. When the temperature of the tire’s core compound exceeds approximately 250°F, cords lose strength; the bond is loosened between the cords and the surrounding rubber compound, making the tire more susceptible to failure. If the owner escapes a failure and is not even aware of the underinflation until later, the underinflation incident then appears to have had no consequence. To the contrary, an overheated tire does not cool to its original strength; it is permanently weakened, and a blowout or tread separation will occur later, after the underinflation incident is long forgotten. When the tire eventually fails, the owner may blame it on manufacturing defects or poor quality when in fact the tire was damaged by negligence.

When is a tire overheated? It’s not practical to measure tire temperature with a thermometer, so the primary defenses against excessive heat are proper loading and adequate inflation. The worst condition is traveling superheated highways, so it’s best to avoid the heat of the day in summer, if possible.

Damage from tire overloading and/or underinflation can be readily detected by tire service personnel. Such tires often rupture in the upper sidewall area after cords break. The evidence may be ripples, bulges, soft spots, wrinkles, creases, or other signs of weakness in the sidewall.


This Article provided by The RV Handbook