my used Michelin tires vs. new tires for driving in the Andes

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comuntierra

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Joined
Mar 10, 2010
Posts
12
Location
Mexico!
Greetings and thanks in advance for any advice, I have very little experience buying tires and am here in Peru where it's harder to get good information...

I am driving a class C Rockwood motorhome through South America... it sits on a Ford Econoline 350 extended van chassis. When i bought the motorhome (used) in 2010, it had Michelin LTX A/S tires, type LT 215/85 R16, manufacture date being 2001 ... this exact tire: (http://www.tirepackage.com/Tires/LT215-85R16-LTX-A-S-by-Michelin.aspx?t_c=13&t_s=458&t_pt=100902&t_pl=100280&t_pn=MIC41550).

Original purchase was in California, and we have driven some 15,000 miles down to Peru, the tires perform pretty well, and still have decent thread. To my knowledge, the motorhome sat for a few years being I purchased it (not good for the tires as I understand), but the tires have low usage. Every tire shop I have shown the tires to during the trip say they are in good shape and do not need to be replaced, however standards down here in Latin America are definately lower that I am used to in the States.

So now to the question: we are entering the Andes, with steep climbs and drops up to 15000-16000 feet sometimes, and a lot of rural areas where tires and mechanical help in general are not easy to get. Right now we are in Lima, Peru, a big commercial city so we thought as a precautionary measure maybe it's time to buy new tires!

Our options are limited. Searching through several dealers I have found 3 options that could work for us:

Dunlop LT5 215/85R16 115/112 L - 990 dollars for 6 tires - This is by far the best-matching tire in terms of specifications, which are identical to the tires we currently have except for the speed rating which is slower but this really doesn't bother me as I never drive my rig over 65 miles an hour for fuel economy.

Michelin Synchrone 225/75R16 104 H - at about 1500 dollars for the set of 6, this tire is a slight modification in size, and holds less weight (i'm in the process of calculating the total weight of the RV...) . Obviously pricier, the question here is whether Michelin is a better enough tire to be worth the extra investment???

Roadstone 215/85R16 - 920 dollars for set of 6 - The salesman with this tire will get back to me tomorrow with the Weight and speed capacities. This is a Korean tire company which I've never heard of, a bit of Google and I can see that it is a large brand, but if anyone has experience with them I'd love to hear it.

Like I said, the old tires are in decent condition, so we could put this off for another few months until we get to Argentina or Chile, but I bet it would be nice to climb through the Andes on a new set of tires...

Whatever advice anyone can offer is greatly appreciated, we are hoping to decide this in the next couple of days.

-Ryan Luckey


 

gwcowgill

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Feb 6, 2011
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Homestead, Fl when not traveling
I would definitely change those tires with a date code of 2001 especially driving where you will be driving. Personally, I would probably go with the Dunlops given the choices and price. I would not go another mile with the current tires....way too much risk with old tires and less than ideal road conditions.
 

ArdraF

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Feb 12, 2006
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10,674
If you're going on some of the Peruvian roads I've seen on TV, there's no way I'd go on them in 11-year-old tires!  Just because they look good doesn't mean they are good.  Do yourself a favor and get something safe.

ArdraF
 

donn

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Nov 8, 2009
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4,502
Pick the one with the best all season tread pattern and go.  Tires are probably rotten due to age and need to be replaced.  Driving on questionable roads with a highway tire or a tire that is rotten is only going to strand you somewhere where the cost of a single tire could be that much.
 

Chet18013

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Mar 5, 2005
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Full time in RV. Home is where we are parked
I would not have even started on your trip with those old tires. While the tread may look good, the rubber and the side walls are definitely suspect. Picking the tire with the best all season tread pattern is good advice. I'd try to get the tire dealer to give  a trade allowance if they appear to have good tread. Don't even think of driving in the Andes with out replacing them. All you need is a blowout on a narrow road without a guard rail to have an unpleasant end to your trip.
 

Molaker

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Jun 16, 2010
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Springfield, Mo.
I don't disbelieve the general concensus of tires needing to be replaced every 7 yrs or so.  However, I have seen (and even used) tires much older on cars and light trucks without any particular problem.  I wonder just what roles load and air pressure play in this.  The reason I bring this up is the OP has a relatively light MH on a E350 chassis.  The LT215/85 R16 tire is commonly recommended for around 80 psi (my E450 31.5' MH calls for 80 psi max).  These factors may be the reason we see examples like the OP's situation survive with little or no problem.  Take a much heavier class A running 100 + psi, I can see how age of the tire can come into play much sooner.

That said, I wouldn't go any further than the next tire shop if I had 11 year old tires.
 

comuntierra

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2010
Posts
12
Location
Mexico!
thanks for all the replies...

we decided to go with the Dunlops, installing tomorrow. we'll definately be more comfortable with the new tires...

happy trails ...
 

ArdraF

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Feb 12, 2006
Posts
10,674
And we all will feel more comfortable FOR you!  ;D Please do have a safe journey and check in every now and then to let us know how you're doing.  I've read about other people "doing" South America and it's quite an adventure.

ArdraF
 
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