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Monday, February 23, 2015

Is it OK to spin your tires when stuck on ice or in mud ?

Quick answer to this question is

I bring this up for a couple of reasons. One is that I just read a RV forum post from someone that was stuck in mud and tried "spinning" their tires to get out. (it didn't work) The other reason is that with Canada and portions of the US that normally never get real cold in a deep freeze, there will be some vehicle owners experiencing frozen ground conditions and they may never have had that experience before.

The reason the practice of spinning your tires is dangerous is that very few RVs have limited slip differentials so when they rev the engine and spin their tires in a effort to get going they may UN-wittingly be spinning their tires at speeds high enough to cause a tire failure and explosion.

When you spin your tires the spinning tire is going TWICE the speed indicated on your speedometer.
This picture shows what can happen to a passenger size tire.
As you can see in this failure, not just the tread comes off and the sidewalls blow-out but the Hi-Tensile bead wire fractures in multiple locations which allows the complete tire to become a missile. When this happens with a small passenger car tire it may only "remove" one corner of the car. Sometimes a "free spin" tire failure ends up almost a mile away!  Now for a moment think what a LT or TBR tire might do if it were to fail in a similar manner.

If you are stuck, the best way to get out is to either use sand or gravel or to get some towing assistance. But please never simply spin your tires.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Do you check your air every day? Why ???

An RV owner in Western NY said:
"OK ... I'm new at this, and I appreciate the importance of proper inflation. But short of damage to a tire I would think daily checking of PSI is more of a cause for air loss. Or is there something I'm missing? There seems to be a real fixation on this topic. I doubt school bus drivers place as much emphasis on this topic as RVers do."

You're correct. Too many fixate on daily air checks. In years gone by that was the best method we could use, but sticking valves can cause air loss and it is not unheard of for a tire to start leaking air right after an air check.
This post shows just how easy it is for a piece of grit to get into the actual valve core opening and could allow air to leak out slowly.

To me avoiding this potential issue is one of the major advantages to using TPMS, but for some reason I have never heard anyone mention this benefit. Since I run TireTraker TPMS I don't do a manual air check unless the readings go below the normal variation range of 3 to 5 psi around my "Set" pressure of 72 psi. Other than the start of my travel season, I may only do a manual check once a season.

Now if you don't want to run a warning system then a manual check each travel day is the only way you can know there is a slow leak. Now to me running without a good TPMS would be much like driving without any gauges or warning lights on your dash.  Would you feel comfortable if this
is what your dash looked like? Be sure to take a close look before you answer.

If you wait till your "thumper"
makes you suspect low pressure you are getting about as much information as checking engine oil by banging on the oil pan with a hammer.

If your IR gun

 makes you suspect high temperature you may already be too late and might have done permanent structural damage to the tire and shortened its life by many months or even years. Rubber is not a good conductor of heat so you will almost certainly not get the reading from the hottest location.

Just as there were advances in early cars when the temperature gauge was just a thermometer stuck in the top of the radiator,
today we have electronics capable of providing the current pressure in our tires so we can receive a warning as soon as it starts to leak air from the elevated hot pressure in our tires.

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