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rv owners personal story of their seized wheel bearing tire accident

Michelle and Laurie avoid a Near Catastrophe

If you remember a few episodes back, Michelle and Laurie installed a TST tire-pressure monitoring system on their new trailer and pickup. The nice thing about this system is it also monitors your tire temperatures. Well, these systems are fantastic and could possibly save you a major headache on the road, but there is something you have to do with this or any safety system you purchase as Michelle and Laurie explain.

Michelle Fontaine: Boy, I’m glad that day is over. Laurie Church: Oh, gosh, yeah.

We have a personal story to tell you in hopes that it may help someone else along the way. We traveled from Massachusetts to our winter home here in Arizona, about 3,500 miles. Without a problem. And we were just saying how fortunate we were when we reached the Arizona area that nothing major had gone wrong. The last place we stayed was Holbrook, Arizona, which is about 160 miles from our home, and as usual, we woke up in the morning and got everything all situated to leave and got into the truck and turned the TPMS, “tire-pressure monitoring system,” on. And because it was so cold, it alarmed, which is correct that it does that, and as soon as you start driving, it stops.
Well, we hit the button to turn it off and started driving and forgot to turn it back on. 

Laurie: And in doing so, by the time we– I guess we were about three or four miles from home– we heard a thump, and we looked at each other and realized, “Oh-oh, we think it’s a tire blow.” 

Michelle: I saw our back right tire bounce across the road. There’s not a feeling like that anywhere. So we quickly pulled off to the side of the road,  and within an hour, we had it safely flat-bedded to our RV dealer, again, only about four miles away.

And in reflecting, we just know how very, very fortunate we were that it happened there. It could’ve been on a much busier road, and that tire bouncing across possibly could’ve caused traffic problems or hit a car.

Michelle: The road we took was called Fain Road. It’s a road that goes around the town of Prescott Valley. Limited traffic. Good breakdown lane. The alternative would’ve been to go down 69, which is a four-lane traffic road and takes us to our dealer, who we contemplated going to, to empty out the black tank, so we really seriously considered going that way.

Laurie: Right. On this particular road, it was only about 40 to 45- mile-an-hour speed limit, so that’s another thing in our favor. We weren’t going terribly fast, and there was enough room on the shoulder for us to not only safely pull over a truck and the trailer but be able to assess what happened. The inside of the brake caliper, the inside of the rim, and the rim on the tire itself were all melted. We’re not exactly sure what happened. (It was later diagnosed as a wheel bearing seizure.)

Laurie: But having the tire monitoring system on would have alerted us to the temperature. And the alarm
would’ve gone off. Who knows when it started heating up. Well, we stopped for lunch only two hours before that, if that. The tire looked fine ’cause Laurie always look at the tires. When she gets out and fills the gas, we’ve been watching the tires.

Also, we’re grateful we have two axles. The trailer previous to this one was a single axle. And there are lots of single-axle trailers out there, lots and lots and lots of them.

Laurie: A lot of small ones, yes, When we had ours, I was always very leery of watching the tire and tightening the lug nuts and checking the pressure because my fear was, we have-you know, if this blows or goes flat, what kind of stability does it really have?

So what we’re hoping the message is, first of all, consider a tire pressure monitoring system. The one we have is from TST, and it works beautifully IF you turn it on. That’s the thing. Get one, use it properly, and stay safe.