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: commercial tires, RV tires, ST tires

Ann Neal Senior Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Dennis Johnson

     | about 2 years ago

    The article doesn't say that radials are safer than biases tires, so why do they suggest radials. It looks from what the article says is that the tires should have a 10% more weight rating than the trailer.

More Stories
Titan says bias tires are a better fit for job sites with more stationary work. The HD2000 II, Titan’s premier bias tire for skid steers, offers deep lugs, a heavy sidewall and a large rim guard for excellent durability.
Article

Radials, Specialization and Technology: What’s Ahead for Small OTR Tires

Equipment rentals and equipment connectivity are playing dominant roles in the trends shaping the small OTR tire market, which Modern Tire Dealer defines as tires on 25-inch and smaller rims. “Across the board, we’re seeing continued growth in demand for 25-inch radials, not quite as robust as the previous two years, but still quite brisk,” says Shawn Rasey, director of global business development of earthmover tires for Continental Tire the Americas LLC.

“Being the most recent entrant in the ag radial market segment, we expected tough resistance,” said Srivastava. “But we’ve been surprised by the number of customers who are willing to try out our tires."
News

New Website Promotes CEAT Ag Tires

The new CEAT Specialty Tires Inc. website is up and running. The website prioritizes SEO (search engine optimization) and ease-of-use.

News

Toyo's Overall 1H 2019 Results Are Mixed

Sales were down in the first half, but Toyo Tire Corp. managed to increase its income-to-sales ratio with help from a 6.4% increase in profit attributable to owners of the parent company.

The Alliance Agriflex+ 372 VF CFO is rated for loads as high as 26,370 pounds when used in cyclic conditions.
News

Alliance Agriflex Tire Carries 186% of the Load of a Regular Radial

Alliance Tire Group is working to reduce soil compaction by every piece of equipment on the farm. The Alliance Agriflex+ 372 VF CFO tire extends that technology to grain carts, as well as Class V, VI and VII harvesters. The tire is rated to carry 186% of the load of a comparably sized standard radial tire when operating at harvest speeds of under 10 mph.

News

Bridgestone OTR Tire Plant Is Recognized for Safety

Bridgestone Americas Inc.'s off-the-road (OTR) tire plant in Bloomington, Ill., has been recertified for continued participation in the Illinois Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program as a Star participant.

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!