This problem is nothing new. Back in the day, when vans were becoming more popular, we had a similar problem. People, who bought these small and medium vans, were unsure which type of tyres to use.
Vans used for small businesses could carry some real weight. They would load their van up with all sorts of equipment that were used to carry out their jobs with. Caravans were also becoming more popular but I will leave that for another article?
The popular van sizes in those days were from a 155×13 radial to a 185×14 radial. Each of these sizes was made as a van tyre or a car tyre. The van tyres were made with a heavier ply rating to enable the tyres to carry more (or the correct) weight.
Our customers would always go for a cheap car tyre option and did not worry about the consequences of having a tyre blowout because their van was overloaded. This also happened on caravans, overloaded caravans fitted with car tyres that had the incorrect load rating. With a little knowledge the owners of these vans started to fit the correct tyres for the job. Vans became faster and were able to carry heavier loads, so were fitted with low profile tyres and it became necessary for them to fit the correct tyres.
Enter the motorhome tyres?
The caravan people also had problems with fitting the wrong tyres. I would go straight to the motorhome problem, because it is a more current problem. Because of the massive increase in motorhome ownership then there will be more motorhome tyres sold.
This is something that is happening as I write this article. The thing is though, that the same problem as with the early van tyres? Drivers of these vehicles want to scrimp when it comes to buying the correct tyres for the job. In my opinion there is two options for motorhome tyres. The first is to fit a van tyre. The van tyre should be the same size, speed and load rating as the original tyre that is being replaced.
If everything is the same then you are within the law. Whatever you do, not try to revert to fitting a car tyre, of the same size, because the load rating will not be the same. Lower load ratings are what cause a blowout. This is one of the main reasons that you will see a caravan rolled over onto its side, or in a ditch.
As motorhomes became more popular, then some of the leading tyre manufacturers introduced specific motorhome tyres, for the camper motorhome owners. Michelin tyres, Continental tyres and Pirelli tyres all brought out a specific niche market camper/motorhome tyre.
When entering the camper tyre market. Tyre makers were looking at the strong tyre casing with a high load rating the same as a van tyre. Strong casings enable the tyre to carry much more weight. They can also cope with cornering and different terrains. After all you can see motorhomes anywhere. Not just on tarmac roads. This rigidity from a stronger sidewall.As a result, also prevents the motorhome tyres from swaying. We have all seen this when following an overloaded caravan.
It also very good advice, to drive within the speed limit, and also to avoid swerving.
My understanding is that the correct motorhome tyres are made with a different tyre compound than the regular van tyre, and this could be one of the reasons that the correct motorhome tyres a little more expensive. Certainly do not be tempted to fit regular car tyres, this has been asked of us a few times, by the
owners of older motorhomes, but this is a no go area.
Here in Halifax at Pellon tyres, we find that Continental and Michelin are the two most popular brands of motorhome tyres that we fit and thoroughly recommend them for your camper van or motorhome.
I would recommend that you look at excellent advice about motorhome tyres from the tyre safety organisation that I fully support…http://www.tyresafe.org/