Michelin Tire Failure, Numéro Trois

Previous post tells the tale of my trailer tire troubles to present. Total Michelin LTX failures is now at THREE.

I thought ‘tread separation’ was a thing of the past since I had ‘upgraded’ to Michelin LTX tires. Not so.

Towed the Airstream down to Jackson Center for repairs on the damage from the Michelin tread separation failure (number two) and wouldn’t you know it; curbside front Michelin LTX failed.

Well, thank goodness it wasn’t a full blown failure.  But, it looked like it was about five minutes from it.  We were alerted to a problem from a ‘grinding’ noise, that I thought might be a bad bearing.  When we stopped to inspect, I noted the curbside front tire was huge.  The internal belts had let go, and the noise was coming from it rubbing on the aluminum wheel well trim.

Michelin LTX M/S internal belt separation. It’s lucky we caught this one before it blew up.

So, this is the third Michelin LTX that’s failed all within about 2,500 miles of each other.  I contacted them today, and after spending about thirty-five minutes conveying all my information, and tire failure details they basically said ‘too bad, so sad’. Because tires are out of warranty- even though the failure happened 4/1/2018 with a purchase date of 4/6/2012.  Furthermore, he stated because they were not OEM, Michelin would provide no warranty or coverage- even though Airstream offers these tires as an upgrade on the same model trailer as mine.  C’est la vie!

That was the kicker. Your tire warranty is voided using Michelin tires on a trailer. Unless, as he stated, the trailer comes from the factory with LT tires installed. For years I’ve been reading forum posts between advocates of LT tires on travel trailers (like myself) and those against.  It seemed to me the main reason not to use LT was not logical; that being: backing up and tight turns put irregular strain on the tire sidewall.  I still think that assumption is ridiculous.  I think the LT tires failed because they sit for six months out of the year, under load and become deformed.  Then when I take them out at highway speed, they spin themselves to death from being out-of-round.  The idea that backing up a trailer puts more force on a sidewall than what it experiences under high speed on a 6,000 or 8,000 pound truck or SUV is absurd.  Force equals mass multiplied by acceleration.  My 10,000 lb trailer backing up at 2 mph is nothing compared to 8,000lbs at 50 mph on highway entrance/exit ramp.  I had these exact same Michelin’s on my 7,000 lb Suburban for 55,000 miles. I have never experienced tread or belt separation on a car or truck.  Be that as it may, the whole discussion is moot.  I had $20,000+ worth of damage from two GoodYear Marathon tread separations- the significant difference being GoodYear was subrogated by my insurance carrier because the tires were still under warranty.

So, I’m back to dealing with the tire issue.

Maxxis makes a 16″ ST tire, but the only size available on a 16″ rim is a 235/80 at 30.8″ overall diameter. That won’t fit in my wheel wells.  GoodYear is marketing a new ST tire called the “Endurance”. I’m not crazy about GoodYear with how they handled their G159 tire problems (nor the performance I got from their Marathons).  At this point I’ve got three options:

  1. Put inexpensive LT tires back on, and plan on changing them out every 20,000 miles or 3 years, whichever first.
  2. Step down to a 15″ rim, mount Maxxis or the new GoodYear Endurance tires and take my chances with reduced max tire load rating.
  3. Customize the wheel well openings to accommodate the 235/80R16 tire.


See You Down the Road (rolling on something other than Michelin’s)!



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