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Old 09-24-2013, 05:31 AM   #1
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Tire Maintenance - am I being paranoid?

Hello all

My other half and I are having a heated debate over tire maintenance. I say he should take our 97 motorhome in to have the tires checked/balanced at least once every two years, he says they are fine and it would be a waste of money.

We go probably 200 to 400 miles once a month, we live in mid-Michigan and at home she's parked on asphalt always facing the same direction (sun always on the driver's side tires). The front tires are at least 4 years old, probably older and the rear tires are about 2 years old.

Many thanks!

Pat
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Old 09-24-2013, 05:47 AM   #2
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Old 09-24-2013, 06:50 AM   #3
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I think you should have a routine where BEFORE every major move, you check the tires: Inflation pressure and rub your hands around the circumference of the tires feeling for bumps (Wearing gloves, of course). While you are at it, take a look at them. Any bumps should be investigated immediately - before the next pull.

This might be a daily chore or a once a month depending.

Once you develop a sense of what they look and feel like, you'll notice changes. Then report back any changes that you are unsure about.

After that, I would only balance when a vibration is felt (or noise). You have to be a bit sensitive to this - and some people aren't - and if the driver is one of those, then a periodic balance would tell you if things are changing. In normal service, they shouldn't.

May I suggest a compromise? How about if you do it this once, with the idea that if the tires are out of balance, then regular balancing would then it be instituted. If not, then it would be proven to be un-necessary, and that would be the plan for the future.
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:07 AM   #4
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I've recently learned, on this forum, about remote tire pressure and temperature monitoring devices. I'll be getting one for our trailer - I found a model that sends data to my phone rather than yet another screen, so that looks promising.

Might be worth getting one of these to alert you to potential trouble before it happens.
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:59 AM   #5
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Well I know the "hands on" check isn't getting done, although he did do the kick-test on one tire and called them all good. I doubt he's even checking the tire pressure. And yes, I'm feeling some vibration, although he keeps saying "It's just the road surface."

As for the remote sensor systems, it seems I read on another forum that they can cause problems - if nothing else just another piece of equipment to fail, kind of like the sensors in the black tank. However, that was a while ago and technology does move on...

I'll propose the compromise, CapriRacer, but I suspect this is just another item to add to the DIMFSL (do it my "f' self list), which is now about 15 items strong. I'll add the carrot that I'll pay for the check/balance if nothing is wrong...

Just out of curiosity, how can I check the pressure on the inner tires on the back - does the stem stick out towards the middle of the rig?

Many thanks!
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:15 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by crazie_eddie View Post
........Just out of curiosity, how can I check the pressure on the inner tires on the back - does the stem stick out towards the middle of the rig?

Many thanks!
Sometimes the valve stem has an extension on it that points towards the outside (and the outside tire's stem points to the inside.) - but sometimes not. Sometimes it's just a short stick up stem.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:26 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by crazie_eddie View Post
Just out of curiosity, how can I check the pressure on the inner tires on the back - does the stem stick out towards the middle of the rig?
Two solutions:

1 - A dual-chuck (push-pull) tire gauge. Semis use them all the time. Outer tire valve stem points in (pull), inner stem points out (push). This can be awkward, though, especially the part about getting the caps off and back on.

2 - Get valve extensions. A straight extension for the inner tire, a J-shaped extension for the outer tire so that both stems point out and they're within reach. I greatly prefer the short rigid extensions; they're less likely to leak than the long hose-type extensions.

Here's what I use on my Interstate:
Wheel Masters: Valve Extenders

I also got one of these (the braided stainless steel version) for the spare, so I can check the air in the spare without having to crawl on my back up underneath.
Spare Air Tire Inflation System
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:52 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by andreasduess View Post
I've recently learned, on this forum, about remote tire pressure and temperature monitoring devices. I'll be getting one for our trailer - I found a model that sends data to my phone rather than yet another screen, so that looks promising.

Might be worth getting one of these to alert you to potential trouble before it happens.
What is the device that sends the signal to a smartphone?
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:54 AM   #9
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DIMFS may be the only way from what you say. At least it will get done. Better than kicking one tire and calling it "good to go".
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:08 AM   #10
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What is the device that sends the signal to a smartphone?
Not working, apparently. I mailed the manufacturer to make sure that the range was sufficient for use with a trailer and they advised against it for now. They are planning on releasing a booster next year.

It's these guys here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...nware.tirehawk

It's a real shame, because that would have meant one less screen cluttering up the car, especially as the app runs in the background and only sounds alerts as needed.
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Old 09-26-2013, 05:17 AM   #11
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He accepted the compromise and took the motorhome in. As there is no gloating about nothing being wrong, I assume I was correct that something needed doing - I'm happy being safe rather than right. And it was actually 3 years since he bought them, not 2.

I'll look into the extensions, and start doing a more regular check of the tires myself. And I forgot about the spare - thanks for the reminder!

Appreciate all the help!

Pat
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Old 10-05-2013, 09:10 AM   #12
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Just keep in mind that no matter what vehicle you have, the contact between it and the road is just those patches where the tires meet the pavement. Having experiences an inside rear tire blowout on a '94 LY diesel pusher, I now err on the side of caution.

First, I never use any tire that is older than 4 years from the date of manufacture which is stamped on it. I know that the safe life is 5 years, after that it's a crap-shoot.

Second, I use a tire pressure monitoring system. I'm currently using the Tire Minder system. I had purchased it at Camping World 2 years ago. Several months ago I was at the big Good Sam rally in Syracuse NY and I met with the Minder folks. I was having some issues, and they came over to my rig, checked my entire Minder setup, provided me with new batteries, exchanged a couple of sensors and gave me a remote amplifier - all at no charge. The product is good and the service exceeds excellence. This product, BTW, also monitors the tire temperature - a big plus.

Third is to critically look at your tires. I was extremely lucky when I was a JC for my last service - the tech there noticed that the tread has started to separate on the tire (tire was 2 years old). When the tire was removed from the rim, I was able to use my fingernail to pull it away from the casing and look down to see all the steel belting. The pressure was OK as was the temperature, but this tire could have blown in an instant.
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