Commercial Business

New RV Industry Standard Will Drive a Shift to Radial ST Tires

Ann Neal
Posted on November 8, 2017
Much of the growth in the RV market is due to strong sales of trailers that can be towed behind an SUV or minivan. The RV industry’s trade association has adopted a standard that requires its member companies equip towable RVs with radial ST tires.
Much of the growth in the RV market is due to strong sales of trailers that can be towed behind an SUV or minivan. The RV industry’s trade association has adopted a standard that requires its member companies equip towable RVs with radial ST tires.

As of Sept. 1, 2017, newly manufactured towable recreation vehicles (RVs) with 13-inch and larger wheels must ride on radial, not bias, tires.

A new standard requires conventional travel trailers, fifth-wheel travel trailers and folding camping trailers be outfitted with radial tires. The standard may require aftermarket tire dealers to rethink inventories of special trailer (ST) tires.

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has mandated that its member companies equip towable RVs manufactured after Sept. 1, 2017, with radial tires. Bias ply tires are not permitted on towable RVs with 13-inch or larger wheels. The standard covers virtually all new towable RV units as the RVIA represents more than 98% of total production of recreation vehicles.

The standard was developed by the National Fire Protection Association and adopted by the RVIA. Although the standard does not apply to aftermarket tire dealers, Bruce Hopkins, who is vice president of standards and education for the RVIA, believes independent tire dealers will follow his association’s lead.

“There’s no requirement for tire dealers to install replacement radial tires, but I would think they would want to. Trailers, depending on their size, have six, four or two tires. If a trailer comes in with radial tires, dealers are not going to want to replace them with bias tires.”

Mandate addresses safety concerns

Hopkins says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identified tire failure as a key safety issue for RVs. The RVIA determined the best way to address the issues raised by NHTSA was to ban bias ply tires and provide a 10% reserve weight capacity so tires are not the weakest link in the RV’s undercarriage system.

“We take a look at the rating of the axle and then based on the rating of the axle the tires have to be 10% greater than the axle rating,” says Hopkins.

He says trailer overloading, not tire quality, leads to ST tire failures. “People have a tendency to load recreation vehicles beyond their capacity. They never think about the weight and as a result they overload the wheels and tires on one side of an RV.” The reserve weight capacity requirement also will help prevent tire failures caused by under or over inflation.

The RV market is in its eighth straight year of expansion. The industry expects to ship 472,200 units in 2017, a 9.6% increase from the number shipped in 2016. The RVIA forecasts a new peak in 2018, with production of 487,200 RV units.

Some ST tires are excluded

The new RVIA standard does not apply to tires on utility trailers and enclosed cargo trailers. But Joe Ostrowski says American Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. Ltd., which does business as Kenda USA, is seeing a strong move toward radials in the manufacture of boat trailers and enclosed trailers. He is sales manager for Kenda’s Americana Tire Division. There are two reasons behind the shift. “Number one, the pricing has gotten closer between radial and the bias. Number two, it’s a perceived improvement among consumers,” he says.

“The tire dealer is going to see fewer and fewer people wanting to see a bias replacement. If consumers look at their camper, it’s going to have radials on it, so they are going to want to stay radial.”

He feels bias tires will “never go away” for the landscaping contractor, but he expects closed trailer manufacturers will switch to radials. “I’m dealing now with people making closed trailers and more and more of them are saying we’re going ahead with radial because prices are close enough and we only have to stock one product.”

Among consumers, “there’s definitely a perceived value in the radial,” says Ostrowski. “You’re going to see more and more of that; if I were a dealer, I would stock radial.” ■

Related Topics: Ann Neal, commercial tires, RV tires, ST tires

Ann Neal Senior Editor
Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
Triangle leader Ding Yuhua died unexpectedly on June 13, 2018.
News

Triangle Tyre's Chairman Ding Dies at 69

Triangle Tyre Co. Ltd. announced that Ding Yuhua, executive chairman and director of the board, died unexpectedly on the morning of June 13, 2018. He was 69 years old.

"As a carbon black manufacturer, we are also able to produce customized carbon black of non-ASTM grades that are not available on the market," said BKT's Vaidya.
News

Vaidya Reveals How BKT Designs Radial OTR Tires

“Only innovation will take us to the next level," said Dilip Vaidya, president and director of technology, at BKT's celebration of its Earthmax radial OTR tire line in Crete, Greece, on June 6, 2018.

To date, 5,127 letters have been mailed to U.S. senators on behalf of companies and individuals from all over the country.
News

Retread Instead Coalition to Participate in TIA Lobby Day

Each year the Tire Industry Association (TIA) sponsors a Lobby Day event in our nation’s capital to encourage TIA members to meet with members of Congress to inform, educate and make requests regarding the most important issues facing the tire industry.

The second day of Falken Academy is spent behind the wheel, both on the track at the Auto Club Speedway and on the Cleghorn Trail. On the trail, four tires on the ground is optional in some parts.
News

Falken Invests in Its Dealers With Falken Academy

A year ago Falken Tire Corp. was investing its money into marketing itself as the Official Tire of Major League Baseball. This year, the tire maker is spending that money on independent tire dealers.  

Nearly 200 international and retread manufacturers ad distributors met with buyers at the 2018 Latin Tyre Expo.
News

Successful Ninth Latin Tyre Expo Held in Panama

The ninth annual Latin Tyre Expo showcased nearly 200 international tire and retread manufacturers and distributors who met and connected with buyers over the course of the three-day event.

Dill’s kit includes a drill bit with specialized stop feature, a custom CNC-machined drill guide, easy-out tools, wheel protecting O-rings and an easy-to-follow user’s guide.
Product

Dill Offers TPMS Hex Nut Removal Kit

Dill Air Controls Products LLC says problems caused by corroded valve stems are a thing of the past thanks to its U.S.-made 5010 TPMS Hex Nut Removal Kit.

Poddar said Earthmax is "a true representative" of BKT's corporate history and values.
News

'Earthmax Is a Milestone in BKT’s History,' Says Arvind Poddar

At BKT's celebration of its Earthmax radial OTR tire line in Crete, Greece, on June 6, 2018, Chairman and Managing Director Arvind Poddar took a moment to outline the key values of the company. Here is what he had to say to the attendees who celebrated the 10th anniversary of Earthmax with the company's top executives.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from MTD delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the tire industry and don't miss a thing!