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Old 10-05-2009, 05:27 PM   #1
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1994 34' Legacy 34
Bath , Michigan
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Posts: 10
Tire life and replacement

I'd be interested in feedback from other forum members about this:

My wife and I recently drove our Y2K Yukon XL to Florida, the total round trip was about 2800 miles. Our GMC is the 3/4 ton model, and the OEM tires are Firestone LT245/75R16E. The truck now has just over 35,000 original miles, and the tires still have half the tread, and the sidewalls have only tiny hairline cracks near the beads on the rear tires. There is no sign of dry rot or bulging, etc. I have always rotated the tires every 3000 miles, cleaned both sidewalls when removed from the truck, and applied Protect-All on the sidewalls each time. Total towing mileage has been about 5000 total, and I keep the truck garaged most of the time, as well as maintaining air pressure at 50-55 psi.

We were driving about 75-80 mph on the freeway, and I kept thinking about the many times I have read "replace your tires at 7 years, no matter how good they look". So, were we taking a risk using 10 year old tires for this trip? I felt reasonably safe as they are Load Range E, and have never been abused, run low on air, or had a pothole impact, etc.

Any advice? Thanks.

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Old 10-05-2009, 05:38 PM   #2
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1974 31' Sovereign
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I replaced the tires on Marie's car for that reason, the tires were 10 years old, and I didn't trust them. The new tires improved the ride as well, the new rubber is a lot softer than the old.

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Old 10-05-2009, 05:41 PM   #3
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2005 30' Classic
Burlington , Ontario
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I have studied a lot of people's views on this topic on earlier threads and come to my own conclusion that I will be changing tires on our newly acquired AS at about 5 year intervals.

I don't think there is any real "magic" number to this, you "pays 'yer money and takes your choice!"

I can tell you that on our last trailer - a non AS - I had a bad experience two winters ago.

It was a fairly light 27' trailer on 4 Marathons. I had not read much about tire aging at the time and always figured that as long as I had tread and inspected the tires regularly, and had no sidewall cracks I should be good to go.

Well, on that trip, one tire lost a one foot long full width section of tread and when I examined the other tires I found that two more out of the remaining three were just starting to have the tread come away from the carcass - you could feel it by running your hand around the tires. Of course I changed all four tires half way across Texas where this happened!

In retrospect I was very lucky that no damage was caused to the trailer. With what I have since learned, I blame myself for this incident as the tires were about ten years old.

I won't leave tires that long on the AS - damage could be pretty expensive!

I have also just installed a tire pressure monitoring system that may or may not help as well.

I say that because the tire that threw such a big piece of tread did not go flat before I discovered the problem - I felt the vibration in the tow vehicle, so maybe a TPMS would have given no alarm.

I never measured the pressure in the damaged tire though, it may have started losing air and may have triggered a TPMS alarm if we had had one, I don't know.

I figure it couldn't hurt to add the TPMS though, and may well save some damage or worse in future, several people on this forum seem to have had good experience with them. Mine was about $350 Can. including a signal booster/repeater.
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2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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Old 10-07-2009, 06:24 AM   #4
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Common Sense , Texas
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I agree with the should be replaced before they get too old.

I'm needing to replace the tires on my current TV now (45,000 miles) because I noticed the other day driving in the rain, they are starting to have a tendency to hydroplane on wet roads. This, even though they still have about 1/3 of the legal tread left.

Yes, they cost money, and in this day and age, one might say quite a bit of money, but I consider them relatively cheap considering the cost of an accident, especially an accident pulling the Airstream. Just my opinion.
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:14 AM   #5
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Palmer Lake , Colorado
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I just had tread separation on the front street side tire on my Overlander. I had been thinking, "replace those tires," but thought I might get away with one more trip. Nope. Tires were 10 years old and had sat in dry dock for 4 years, but no cracks and almost full tread. Lesson learned (again). Beat the snot out of the inside wheel well and split the banana skin in three places--like and exploding cigar.

Just one more think on my list of 56 things to fix...

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Old 10-07-2009, 10:14 AM   #6
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Malakoff , Texas
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A sitting in one spot (parked) are
under a load that is concentrated in one area of the tire.
My theory is that the tire(s) are under this stress
over time....causing weakness in that area and resulting
in seperation / blowouts. The heating of usage keeps tires
alive and pliable. keep the tires "alive and well"
hook up and pull it down the road far enough to allow
normal heating. Seperation and/or blowouts are not as
frequent in our daily driven vehicles.

What do you think?
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:55 AM   #7
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Probably. In addition, I have read somewhere that the UV inhibitors in tires are activated by tire flex, so they are further protected by routine rotation. If I wasn't such a lazy butt, I'd jack the suckers up for the winter , but that would require at least 8 jacks...and safety stands...

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Old 10-07-2009, 12:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kennethowens View Post
A sitting in one spot (parked) are under a load that is concentrated in one area of the tire.
My theory is that the tire(s) are under this stress
over time....causing weakness in that area and resulting
in seperation / blowouts. What do you think?
That's exactly right! You should mark your tires with a piece of chalk and move your trailer every three months to avoid this stress on them. There is an article in the recent issue of Trailer Life talking about this very thing.

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