Friday, September 6, 2013

Another Tire Update

In early April I wrote a post about trying to find a matching tire for a fresh spare preceding our Alaska trip. This post assumes you've already read the previous post. We headed northbound with 7,790 miles on the Maxxis tires and a brand new Kumho of the same size and ratings for a spare.

On the way home, while in Stewart, BC I noticed that my curb side Maxxis, with 16,007 miles on it, had apparently blown a ply and was now out of round. I noted the problem because of increased tread wear in a couple spots on the tire that happened to end up in a position where I could see it. No telling how long I'd run the tire that way.

I'd been watching some outer shoulder wear that suggested I'd need to find someone to align the axle at some point, but tread wear had been good to that point. I put on the Kumho spare and pulled the Maxxis with the idea that I'd talk to my Discount Tire dealer when I got home.

When we got to Nampa, ID, a guy on the freeway flagged me over and told me that my street-side tire had a "bad wobble." There was a Discount Tire at that exit and when we pulled the tire it had a knot the size of a large orange on the inside sidewall.  It had 17,667 miles on it at this point. (And I didn't get a picture!)

Note that while both Maxxis failed, neither failed catastrophically which is a huge improvement on some of the ST stories I've heard.

I told the Nampa Discount Tire manager I wanted to install either replacement Maxxis or Kumho 857 tires. He couldn't get the Maxxis and the Kumho was on national backorder. I asked about 15" tires with similar outside diameter and ratings and he found Continental Vanco tires in a 215/70R15 size that had nearly matching specs, but it was going to take a week to get them.  His only timely solution was to install Goodyear HMG2020 tires that are custom built for U-Haul.

They are the same 205/75-14 size, nearly an inch smaller diameter, bias ply, D rated with a lower 2,039 pound / 63 mph rating. They are built in Canada. The sidewall states they are property of U-Haul, not for resale but they appear to be widely available.

We called my local Discount Tire manager who agreed to buy them back from me when I got home as long as I ordered the Continentals through him! 

I've always been picky about my tire diameter because I only had 1/2" clearance between the rear canoe rack and the top of the garage door. By going to the 15" Continental tire I can maintain the clearance but have more options for emergency replacement tires if needed. This tire is engineered in Germany and built in the Czech Republic. It carries a 109 'S' rating which gives it 2,271 pounds and a speed rating in excess of 100 mph.

Since the Continentals (right) are exactly the same diameter as my Kumho spare (which now has 1660 miles, left) I'm going to keep the 14" Kumho spare and run the 15" Continentals on the ground

just as soon as I get the bearings changed since at least one is starting to fail.


  1. Good information for those of us that still run 14's. Thanks for posting.

    1. It looks like Maxxis makes the UE-168 in a bunch of sizes. It may be that the size I had is the only one no longer available. They're showing a 205/80-14 that should work if it's available. I was really happy with the Maxxis. There were lots of potholes on the summer trip and some you didn't see in time to avoid them - I don't think it was an inadequate tire.

      It will be interesting to see how the Continental tires do over time.

  2. Thats encouraging. I just installed Kuhmo 857s on my D-19. I used the 195s (vs 205) for the better clearence. I have made two short trips but my confidence has grown having been on hot Texas hiways.

    1. I'm pretty impressed with this whole class of heavy duty Light Truck tires. Just wish they were more widely available.

  3. The Continental sounds real good as well. IF you can find it available fairly easy. Tires still seem to be one of the most problematic things about the trailers. your experience is very helpful .Thanks for this information.

    1. I think the biggest advantage will be that if I'm stuck out in the hinterlands, 15" ST tires are very common and I can go up to a 225/75 and have enough clearance for the diameter. I'll check the width for sure once I get the bearings changed and these tires on the trailer.