After 2.5 years and over 27,000 miles, the inevitable happened: We had our first RV tire blowout! 😳
First off, yes, these are the original tires that came with the RV in December of 2017 and, yes, they are Westlakes. We had it in our plans to get a new set of tires this year, but one decided to check out early. These have been great tires even though one blew. Any tire of any brand can have a bad day and ours are getting a bit long in the tooth.
The origin of the moniker “china bomb”, as near as we can tell, came about in 2016/2017 in reference to the E rated Westlake tires having a bad run of blowouts. We're not sure if it was a bad batch of tires, or if the tires were under-rated for the application (heavy toy haulers). Regardless, the name stuck and became tied to all Westlake tires even though the G rated Westlakes have a very good track record. Grand Design started putting the G rated tires on the Momentum line in 2017. We know they put them on some other models as well, but haven't watched those as closely.
Our RV Tire Blowout!
While driving on I-90 East in Massachusetts, going 60mph in the right lane, we hear a BOOM! Our first RV tire blowout! Our TST TPMS immediately alerted also and we pulled to the shoulder. Since we run a TPMS, we know the tire was within tolerances with pressure and temperature up utill the blowout. So, we can't really say with any certainty what the cause was but , as we mentioned above, our tires are getting close to max time and wear. More on that later.
After pulling over, we immediately put on our safety vests and pulled out our caution triangles. We assessed the damage and it wasn't too bad. The skirt behind the wheel had been folded under and our rear fresh water dump valve handle was bent, but that's it.. besides the tire of course.
The tire itself appears to have blown from the inside out. There is a split straight across the tire on the inner wall and the tread is gone. There's a good chance one of the many many potholes on I-90 did it in.
Having been prepared for just such an occasion, we were able to get the tire swapped out with the spare, air it up, and be on our way in about 35 minutes. Therein lies the key difference between a very bad day and an inconvenience: preparedness!
There are a few things you can do to be prepared for a tire blowout:
You can almost be guarantees a blowout will happen on a busy interstate! Be prepared with some safety gear like neon vests, reflective triagles, and LED flares. (links below) This was the first time we had to use ours and was great knowing we had that little bit of extra safety!
Know the basics of changing a tire
Plenty of resources online about this, so we're not going to get into it here. It's a simple process and here's a link to some videos: www.youtube.com/results?search_query=how+to+change+a+trailer+tire
Know your spare!
Find the spare tire that (hopefully) came with your RV. Understand how it's mounted and how to get it out of it's stored location. Ours is on a winch-style hanger under the RV and our RV came with a hand crank to lower it. However, it's much faster to use our impact driver to manage it!
Have the right lug wrench!
If your RV is like ours, it does not come with a lug wrench. The spare tire crank is the same size but would be completely useless on torqued lug nuts!
Pick up a universal 4-Way lug wrench and you'll be prepared for just about any tire. Or, if you like power tools, pick up a 1/2″ impact driver and socket set. It'll make quick work of tire changing and lug nut checks. (It's good practice to check your lug nuts monthly).
Have a good bottle jack!
Our Ford F350 came with a 4 ton bottle jack that I've used for various maintenance and it worked perfectly for changing a tire also! If your truck also came with a jack, know where it is and how to use it. They can sometimes be tucked away behind a seat. If you don't have one, get one!
Have a good air compressor!
Hopefully you already have an air compressor capable of reaching the pressure you need for both your RV and Truck (if you have a trailer). If not, you definitely NEED one! Not just for airing up the spare, but also for topping them off the day before travel. We have had our ViAir since day one and it's awesome! Our good friends at TechnoRV sell them (changinglanesrv.com/viair). Ignore the way they are labeled with Class A, etc but pay attention to the max PSI and the duty cycle. We have the 450P, which can reach 150PSI and has 100% duty cycle, meaning it can run all day. The 100% duty cycle is great when you have a lot of tires to fill!
While not mandatory, having a patch kit on hand is a great investment. It's a quick and easy way to fix a tire damaged in the tread by a nail or screw. Pick one up and read the instructions. They are not difficult to use and a tire can be patched and aired a lot faster than changing to the spare.
Be sure to have the tire professionally patched as soon as possible.
Tire Pressure Monitoring Sysem
If you don't have a TPMS, GET ONE! You're not always guaranteed you will hear an RV tire blowout since they are so far away, and you definitely won't hear a slow leak from a nail. We monitor all 12 tires. It's also very handy when preparing for departure. No need to check the pressure of every tire. Just fire up the TPMS and check them all at once!
We've been using the TST-507 for over 2 years and it's great! changinglanesrv.com/tpms
Products In this Video ✅
✅ TST-507 TPMS: changinglanesrv.com/tpms
✅ Heavy Duty Universal 4-Way Lug Wrench: amzn.to/327bRlO
✅ DEWALT 20V MAX XR Cordless Impact Wrench (1/2-Inch) (No Battery): amzn.to/3laWlhQ
✅ DEWALT 20V MAX XR Cordless Impact Wrench (1/2-Inch) ) (WITH Battery): amzn.to/2Qgi9Kp
✅ 4 Ton Bottle Jack: amzn.to/2QhPG6U
✅ Heavy Duty Tire Repair (patch) Kit: amzn.to/2FDzNWq
✅ ViAir Compressors: changinglanesrv.com/viair
✅ Aircraft Grade Rubber Tire Care Conditioner: amzn.to/2CRs7z1
✅ Thick Kneeling Pad: amzn.to/3jbahXg
Safety Gear! ⚠️
⚠️ Class 2 High Visibility Zipper Front Safety Vest With Reflective Strips: amzn.to/32d5Rs3
⚠️ Foldable Safety Triangle Triple Warning: amzn.to/32fhYos
⚠️ Heliar Early Warning LED Road Flares: amzn.to/3l6nfHk
⚠️ 250Piece First Aid Kit: amzn.to/3hjWJbd
⚠️ Plastic Traffic Cones (small): amzn.to/3aPggy2
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Like everything with full-time RVing, preparedness and attitude is key!
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