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
News

Pirelli's Financial Results Are Positive Through 3 Quarters

Pirelli & Cie SpA posted net income of 123.6 million euros on revenues of 4 billion euros through the first nine months of fiscal 2017 ended Sept. 30. That compares to income of 16.7 million euros on sales of 3.7 billion euros for the same period last year.

News

Michelin Ends Warrior Tire Joint Venture in China

Michelin Group is has ended its joint venture agreement in China with Double Coin Holdings Ltd. and Shanghai Huayi Group to produce and market Warrior brand passenger car and light truck tires.

News

Titan's Sale of 2023 Senior Secured Notes Ends

Titan International Inc. has closed its offering of $400 million aggregate principal amount of 6.500% Senior Secured Notes due 2023. The Notes were offered and sold in a private offering to qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and outside the United States in compliance with Regulation S. 

News

Big O Tires Franchisee Mark Rhee Buys 44 NTB Stores

TBC Corp.’s Big O Tires LLC subsidiary has expanded into Minnesota for the first time and added stores in Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. The 44 new Big O Tires stores are owned by franchisee Mark Rhee.

News

Titan Settles Tender Offer and Call for Redemption Early

The consent deadline with respect to Titan International Inc.'s previously announced cash tender offer and consent solicitation for any and all of its outstanding 6.875% Senior Secured Notes due 2020 has come and gone.

BKT's new tagline "effectively conveys the essence of BKT brand."  
News

BKT Promotes Togetherness in New Tire Tagline

Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (BKT) is introducing its new "A Long Way Together" campaign at Agritechnica 2017. The event, which began Nov. 12 in Hanover, Germany, will run through Saturday, Nov. 18.

News

Michelin Buys 2 Tire Pressure Control Companies to Create Farm Tire Solutions

Michelin Group has acquired two manufacturers of tire pressure control systems with one goal in mind: to become the global leader for central tire inflation systems (CTIS) in the agricultural market. It also marks Michelin's entrance into the larger world of providing solutions to farmers beyond tires.  

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!