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Old 11-03-2008, 10:00 AM   #1
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importance of tire covers

After a weekend of camping, I noticed many sporting their tire covers. I wasn't thinking that it was very necessary to put them on for a weekend trip... heck, I haven't even been using mine since I've had it home. So, how important is it to cover your tires while exposed to the *weather* (hot west sun, rain, etc)?
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:17 AM   #2
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Were these people there for a day or so or were they staying for an extended period? I know a tire engineer who works for Ford who claims the covers do little good in any circumstances except of course for the people who make and sell them.
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:47 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funkill View Post
After a weekend of camping, I noticed many sporting their tire covers. I wasn't thinking that it was very necessary to put them on for a weekend trip... heck, I haven't even been using mine since I've had it home. So, how important is it to cover your tires while exposed to the *weather* (hot west sun, rain, etc)?

On my last (non-AS) trailer - which I bought used and kept for nine years, I never used tire covers and n ever had any incidence of damage in terms of sidewall cracking or that sort of thing.

What DID happen however on our last long trip with this trailer was that three of the four tires all started throwing tread at just about the same time!

This happened on the road when passing through Fort Stockton in Texas.

I was lucky to catch the problem before a blow out and possible trailer damage. I could feel the trailer running rough and when I examined the trailer tires at a rest stop, found a piece of tread at least a foot long by the full width of the tire gone - it was stuck up in the wheel well!

A close examination of the other tires revealed that tread was starting to separate from the tire carcass on two other tires so we were lucky to have caught teh problem in time.

My own stupidity in not realizing that even though the tires looked excellent from the standpoint of sidewall checking, and the tread depth was still adequate, tires should be scrapped after 7 or 8 years.

I think this would apply whether you use tire covers or not.


Brian.
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:49 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Al - K4GLU View Post
Were these people there for a day or so or were they staying for an extended period? I know a tire engineer who works for Ford who claims the covers do little good in any circumstances except of course for the people who make and sell them.
Agreed, ugly and useless. Gives a poor look to an otherwise nice rig. Sort of like the "car bra's" of the 1980's. Belong on plastic fifth wheels, if anywhere.
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:46 PM   #5
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I live in AZ. It get's hot here. And the heat isn't really a factor. It is the UV rays. On a boat trailer I have the difference was noticable on the side walls of these tires I replaced this past summer. Because of the placement of the trailer one side is exposed to the sun from about noon to sundown every day. The other side never sees the sun until I go to the lake because of a block wall. The sun side had cracks. This side had been covered with covers for the last 4 years or so.

Other may be relevant data;
Total load 7300 #s
Age of tires at replacement this summer 7 to 10 years (some were replaced under warranty)
Tire size ST215/75R14
The trailer sat unused from 2005 to this past summer of 2008 when I replaced all of the tires.


I bought tire covers for both of my trailers and my tow vehicle in 2004. (I think) The tires are covered at home always. Not sure a week or two uncovered would make that much difference. And I do cover my A/S tires when I go to the beach in Mexico. I would assume the AZ sun is worse than any other state, however So Cal, NM, TX and Fla are right up there in exposure in my opinion.

What is the down side ...... some wasted labor on my part putting the covers on. Not such a big deal in my opinon. And about $25 for 4 cheap covers on E-bay.


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Old 11-03-2008, 01:49 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responses ... I'm thinking those guys were there less than a week - as they weren't there the last time I visited. One outfit even had covers for the mirrors. It looked pretty sweet - I believe it was a 3/2 with 2-car garage. Just kidding - but that thing was HUGE and immaculate.

I have tire covers, but just haven't been using them. I figured that my truck sits in the drive way without any type of protection. Hummmm - maybe things are a bit different when there's 5000 lbs being carried and traveled on less than 100 mi/month??? My tires are < 1 yr old. I'll heed the warning for replacement < 10 yrs!

So, for those of you who use covers, when do you put them on?
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Old 11-03-2008, 02:05 PM   #7
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I bought a set, but ordered white by mistake...I wanted black so it would be less noticeable. We store our trailer half the year in Florida and it just so happens that it pretty much lines up north to south so both pairs of tires get an even amount of u-v. Since I didn't get the black, I haven't used them as I plan on returning them the next time I pass a CW.

I don't know if they are better than nothing, but I don't think they will hurt. I always spray the tire side walls with a tire protectent after each trip. This probably does nothing either but it makes me feel better.
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Old 11-03-2008, 03:34 PM   #8
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We don't use the tire covers (we have black) at home because the AS is under a port and tires are protected from the direct sun. However, if we are somewhere for more than a couple of days and the tires are exposed to sun we use them...it only take a few minutes to put them on and they don't look bad. Living in AZ will make you a believer. We have had to replace tires on vehicles before the tread was shot because of sun rot. The UV rays are more destructive to rubber than you might think...especially with trailer tires under more pressure & load than car/truck tires.
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:26 PM   #9
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We live in "Sunny" Colorado and, believe me, I have seen the damage the sun can do to things.

Aunt Bee's tires are covered when hangs out in the driveway. You know the old saying......"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:57 PM   #10
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Not using tire covers is kind of like not using sun screen on your skin. If you're out for the afternoon and don't put it on what have you got?

Tire covers are sun screen for your tires. You can never be too careful.

This from a guy who is loosing parts and pieces (skin) every year.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:15 PM   #11
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If you do not want a tire cover you can try 303 PROTECTANT.... I was a rafting guide in a former life and used it on all our rafts... I now use it on any thing non metal on Vinstream trailers and TV....303 Products Inc.: 303 Aerospace Protectant

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Old 11-03-2008, 09:40 PM   #12
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303 Protectant is the protectant that I spray on our tires after every trip. Keeps the tires looking nice and deep black.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:52 PM   #13
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I have noticed on old cars the tires may be cracked on the outside but the inside is still uncracked.

This is a minor point on an Airstream because the tires should be replaced long before they get old enough to crack. But it does illustrate that direct sun ages the rubber.

Some protectants such as armorall make things worse. They make the tires look good for a few weeks but then they crack faster than ever.
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Old 12-31-2008, 09:43 PM   #14
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I live in Arizona; my 2005 trailer resides against a west wall when at home, leaving the curb/door side exposed to the sun. While on the road this summer, we had a tire failure in Utah - on the curb side. The one tire was replaced, but I drove home without replacing the other tires. I replaced the other four tires yesterday (spare included) and discovered the other curb-side tire was close to failure. It had very uneven tread wear and buldges on the sidewall, due to progressing belt separation according to the tire dealer. There was also cracking evident. The tires on the other/street side looked fine, and the spare looked new.

I regularly check the tires while on the road, but confess that I don't do this every day. Nor do I check my tow vehicles tires every day that I drive it. I will be more diligent in the future, but offer the following idea as a reason for tire failure - believing the cause to be independent of the manufacturer.

If the tire sits "loaded" for extended periods of time, exposed to the sun, in a hot environment (AZ): is it reasonable to assume the tire components will conform to the position, placing relatively limited areas to stresses that could/will lead to "premature" failure?

Covering the tire may help with the cracking, but taking load off the tires by supporting the trailer weight with jacks should give more relief. Of course, spending more time "on the road" would provide better load distribution for the tire, and also more "stress relief" for the operator!

Something to think about...
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