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Tires have always been a concern of mine while pulling a travel trailer. That is the reason that I carry a 12v air pump, breaker bar, Quinn torque socket and 2-ton jack as part of the items that stay in my trailer at all times.

The Disclaimer: I am not a tire expert. I am not giving any kind of advice about these safety related items. I AM only providing the results of my research into the tires provided on many travel trailers that can be pulled by the Subaru Ascent.

Some people on the Internet, YouTube and travel trailer forums have started calling the tires made in China “China Bombs”.

The "DOT" symbol certifies the tire manufacturer's compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tire safety standards.
What Is A DOT Serial Number? And Where Is It?.

If a tire displays the DOT symbol, and is manufactured in China, it is tested and approved in the same way as tires manufactured in the US.

My Lionshead CASTLE ROCK ST RADIAL ST226 tires note on them “DOT JUJT UMT(3418)”

The letters after DOT, followed by a series of eleven or twelve numbers/letters indicate the manufacturing location, tire size, manufacturer’s code, and age of the tires.
3418 means the 34 week of 2018. (Week 34 of 2018 was August 20 thru August 26)
How to Read a DOT Tire Code (And Why It Matters) - HONK

I took possession of our 2020 Coachmen Apex Nano 187RB in the middle of May, 2019. We had ordered it, so it was manufactured somewhere close to the time that we received it. Based on the tire code, the tires were already about 9 months “old” from the date of manufacture at that time.

While doing research on the travel trailers that might be a good match for the Ascent to tow, I noted the term “China Bombs” for tires manufactured in China.

That term really bothered me a lot.

On October 1, 2019, while using rust reformer and paint on the underside of the frame, I found what I perceived to be a bulge on the inside of the driver side tire of this single axle travel trailer.

On October 6, I removed the “suspect” tire and replaced it with the spare. I still couldn’t tell if the original driver side tire, now off the trailer, had a bulge, but it still looked like it to me. As I said, “I am not a tire expert!”

On October 7, my brother-in-law, Gary, came over to look at the suspect tire. Gary, now retired, was the head, hands-on guy of the tire and brake testing area at the Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, MI.

I had marked the area of my concern. He looked at the tire and told me that the tire seemed solid in the area of the perceived bulge and that it should be good enough to be used as the spare without worries. The perceived “bulge” was NOT a soft bubble. A soft bubble in a tire is an entirely different thing and a tire with a soft bubble in the sidewall MUST be replaced.

On June 30, 2020 The RV Show USA posted an interview between its host, Alan Warren and Roger Marble, a retired tire engineer for more than 40 years.

"Tire Expert Talks Blowouts and China Bombs!"

This is a link to the whole video and the first part of that video covers his qualifications and background to be speaking on the topic.

At this point in the video, Alan asks what causes blowouts. Roger replies with his answer.

At this point in the video, Alan asks Roger specifically about “China Bombs”. Roger shares his thoughts and gives some reasons for his response.

At this point in the video, Roger shares his thoughts about tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS).

The link above leads to a video that I had previously viewed; The RV Odd Couples’ YouTube video “Best RV TPMS: Tire Minder vs. TST BONUS Spare Air Tire Inflation System”, posted on June 7, 2020, so I found Roger’s comment about TPMS units useful when I reviewed their video again.

How you can prevent a Tire Blowout | TPMS | Westlake Tires | Fulltime RV Living
Finally, on September 4, 2020, Liz Amazing posted the above linked video; “How you can prevent a Tire Blowout | TPMS | Westlake Tires | Fulltime RV Living” on her YouTube channel.

How you can prevent a Tire Blowout | TPMS | Westlake Tires | Fulltime RV Living
At the point linked above, in the Liz Amazing video, Paul shares his view on “China Bombs”.

All three videos present opinions. They are their personal opinions based on their personal experiences.

MY TAKE AWAY
I will continue to use my tire and wheel covers, and before each move of the trailer, visually check the tires both from the front and back sides, check the tire pressure, and check the lug nut tightness with my 4-way wrench.

I am also thinking very hard about asking “Santa” for a TPMS for our trailer.

Please, continue to do your own research on tires and tire safety, and arrive at what you believe is the best way to approach and implement tire safety for you, your family, friends and the others that you are sharing the road with.
 

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The reality of the global market is that stuff like this is mostly made outside of north America these days, so checking for certification, etc., is about the best you can do. The bottom line is that country of origin doesn't matter as much as whether testing and certification was done. Nature of the beast...
 

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The reality of the global market is that stuff like this is mostly made outside of north America these days, so checking for certification, etc., is about the best you can do. The bottom line is that country of origin doesn't matter as much as whether testing and certification was done. Nature of the beast...
Jim is correct. Many, many high-quality products are manufactured in China. China is so geared to manufacturing, they probably now know how to manufacture high-quality products better than many other countries.

That said, China also knows how to produce lower-quality products which are just good enough, if that. This is intentional, not due to any inexperience in China's manufacturing capabilities, which are now world-class. Such products are specifically manufactured to be highly cost-competitive; quality is not assured.

So, as Jim implied, products from China (or other countries) can range from the best available anywhere to quality compromised. Each company owning or contracting a foreign manufacturing company carefully specs the materials and manufacturing quality that goes into the products. For example, most Apple products are manufactured in China to Apple's strict specifications, in fact, most name brand electronics are made in China as I'm sure most people are aware.

So just because a product, including tires, comes from China is no indication of its quality. When assessing the quality of Chinese or other foreign-made products, look for the originating company. Name brands will usually be a safer choice than generic or no-name products.
 

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All good information here. TPMS on an RV is a great idea. With that being said, I always checked my RV tire pressure before rolling out. A low side/tire can lead to additional sway. Going through winding mountain roads or highway speeds can be hard enough on their own.
 

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Tires have always been a concern of mine while pulling a travel trailer. That is the reason that I carry a 12v air pump, breaker bar, Quinn torque socket and 2-ton jack as part of the items that stay in my trailer at all times.

The Disclaimer: I am not a tire expert. I am not giving any kind of advice about these safety related items. I AM only providing the results of my research into the tires provided on many travel trailers that can be pulled by the Subaru Ascent.

Some people on the Internet, YouTube and travel trailer forums have started calling the tires made in China “China Bombs”.

The "DOT" symbol certifies the tire manufacturer's compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tire safety standards.
What Is A DOT Serial Number? And Where Is It?.

If a tire displays the DOT symbol, and is manufactured in China, it is tested and approved in the same way as tires manufactured in the US.

My Lionshead CASTLE ROCK ST RADIAL ST226 tires note on them “DOT JUJT UMT(3418)”

The letters after DOT, followed by a series of eleven or twelve numbers/letters indicate the manufacturing location, tire size, manufacturer’s code, and age of the tires.
3418 means the 34 week of 2018. (Week 34 of 2018 was August 20 thru August 26)
How to Read a DOT Tire Code (And Why It Matters) - HONK

I took possession of our 2020 Coachmen Apex Nano 187RB in the middle of May, 2019. We had ordered it, so it was manufactured somewhere close to the time that we received it. Based on the tire code, the tires were already about 9 months “old” from the date of manufacture at that time.

While doing research on the travel trailers that might be a good match for the Ascent to tow, I noted the term “China Bombs” for tires manufactured in China.

That term really bothered me a lot.

On October 1, 2019, while using rust reformer and paint on the underside of the frame, I found what I perceived to be a bulge on the inside of the driver side tire of this single axle travel trailer.

On October 6, I removed the “suspect” tire and replaced it with the spare. I still couldn’t tell if the original driver side tire, now off the trailer, had a bulge, but it still looked like it to me. As I said, “I am not a tire expert!”

On October 7, my brother-in-law, Gary, came over to look at the suspect tire. Gary, now retired, was the head, hands-on guy of the tire and brake testing area at the Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, MI.

I had marked the area of my concern. He looked at the tire and told me that the tire seemed solid in the area of the perceived bulge and that it should be good enough to be used as the spare without worries. The perceived “bulge” was NOT a soft bubble. A soft bubble in a tire is an entirely different thing and a tire with a soft bubble in the sidewall MUST be replaced.

On June 30, 2020 The RV Show USA posted an interview between its host, Alan Warren and Roger Marble, a retired tire engineer for more than 40 years.

"Tire Expert Talks Blowouts and China Bombs!"

This is a link to the whole video and the first part of that video covers his qualifications and background to be speaking on the topic.

At this point in the video, Alan asks what causes blowouts. Roger replies with his answer.

At this point in the video, Alan asks Roger specifically about “China Bombs”. Roger shares his thoughts and gives some reasons for his response.

At this point in the video, Roger shares his thoughts about tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS).

The link above leads to a video that I had previously viewed; The RV Odd Couples’ YouTube video “Best RV TPMS: Tire Minder vs. TST BONUS Spare Air Tire Inflation System”, posted on June 7, 2020, so I found Roger’s comment about TPMS units useful when I reviewed their video again.

How you can prevent a Tire Blowout | TPMS | Westlake Tires | Fulltime RV Living
Finally, on September 4, 2020, Liz Amazing posted the above linked video; “How you can prevent a Tire Blowout | TPMS | Westlake Tires | Fulltime RV Living” on her YouTube channel.

How you can prevent a Tire Blowout | TPMS | Westlake Tires | Fulltime RV Living
At the point linked above, in the Liz Amazing video, Paul shares his view on “China Bombs”.

All three videos present opinions. They are their personal opinions based on their personal experiences.

MY TAKE AWAY
I will continue to use my tire and wheel covers, and before each move of the trailer, visually check the tires both from the front and back sides, check the tire pressure, and check the lug nut tightness with my 4-way wrench.

I am also thinking very hard about asking “Santa” for a TPMS for our trailer.

Please, continue to do your own research on tires and tire safety, and arrive at what you believe is the best way to approach and implement tire safety for you, your family, friends and the others that you are sharing the road with.
Rinse and Repeat. Whether its China Bombs or Ford Exploders, when you don't inflate tires properly, overload them, or drive too fast...you will overheat and damage the tires. Now, do all 3 and i don't care where the tire is made, they'll give up the ghost. A tires load carrying capacity is at a certain psi. Underinflate and that capacity is diminished. You may get away with it driving around town at 30MPH, but definitely not at 80 on the interstate. Those Ford Exploders on Firestone tires had a factory psi recommendation of 26 psi. Throw 5 people in there plus gear and haul ass down the interstate at 80 plus and well...people died. Tire load rating, inflation pressure, VISUAL tire checks are critical. Any damage to the tire, dry rotting, uneven tire wear needs to be looked at since there will always be an underlying cause.
 

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I replaced all the Westlake China Bombs on my fifth wheel with G rated 14 ply Sailun ST637 tires. One of my Westlakes developed a split in the sidewall within the first week of ownership of the trailer causing me to completely lose confidence. Yes, the Sailuns are also made in China, but they are commonly used in heavy duty semis. I've now towed over 13k mi on these tires without issue.

Note however that these tires are require HIGHER pressures. The are rated for 110 PSI. I run mine at 95 psi based on the inflation tables. They also ride a lot rougher because of the stiffer sidewall.

Another safety not to be overlooked is the use of a TPMS system. Since my F450 doesn't come from the factory with TMPS, I used aftermarket EEZ Tire TPMS sensors, which work very well.

Oh....last thing. I called Lionshead and they told me it is essential that you use a metal valve stem with G rated tires due to the higher pressure. They told me that yes, my wheels were rated for up to 120 psi.
 
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