When I was young, my friends and I would go tent camping at our favorite spot in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. It is where I learned the art of fly-fishing for trout, trapping muskrats and hunting whitetail deer. To this day just the thought of those camping trips bring back wonderful childhood memories. Not only are the memories good, the lessons I learned have lasted a lifetime.
My one friend’s father would go with us on many of our camping excursions. When he was a young man he spent several years working for a logging company. We would load up in his old 4X4 truck armed with chainsaws, axes, wedges and logging chains and head out in search of fallen trees and logs that would later be used to build our spectacular bonfires. Each and every time we went out to do this he made us inspect the logging chains and cables before we would skid the logs out of the woods behind the truck. He told us to inspect where the hooks attached to the chains and inspect the chains length for the weakest link. I was shocked at the number of times we discovered a link that was cracked or broken. He explained what the results could be if a chain or cable broke under tension.
I have applied the weakest link lesson many times since then. During my time in the Army I was in charge of some very large maintenance operations. We would go on countless recovery missions to upright vehicles that rolled over, or to tow a sixty-ton M1 tank back to the maintenance facility. We would inspect and re-inspect the riggings, looking for the weakest link, before attempting to recover these vehicles. Since retiring from the military my passion has been with RV’s and once again I realized the importance of the weakest link lesson.
Every weight rating on an RV is based on the weakest link in the system. The tires on your RV are by far the most important and most neglected link in the system. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that the tires on their RV were defective, or my tires only had 12,000 miles on them when I had a blowout. In the majority of cases the truth of the matter is that tire maintenance has been neglected. The only thing between your RV and the road surface is your tires and the air that is in them. This is the weakest link.
What are some of the leading causes of premature tire failure?
o Overloading the tires
o Under inflated tires
o Ozone and UV rays
o Age of the tires
o Rotating tires
Tire failure can be extremely dangerous and can cause extensive damage to your RV. There are no guarantees, but by practicing good tire maintenance you can feel much safer and secure that the weakest link on your RV will do its job while you’re out exploring this wonderful country we live in.
Copyright 2006 by Mark J. Polk owner of RV Education 101