RV experts discuss tire dangers after Sorrento crash

RV experts discuss tire dangers after Sorrento crash

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Video out of Baton Rouge this week shows the dangers that are often inherent in travelling in an RV.

Vacationers will purchase over 200,000 RVs in the United States this year, according to U.S. News and World Report, and many won't be aware of the problems that can occur with heavy-duty tires that can succumb to dry rot.

"It was unbelievable," said Jonathan Mendel, who was driving his 18-wheeler on Interstate 10 between New Orleans and Baton Rouge Monday, when an RV passed him on the left and blew a front tire.

"The same thing happened to me three years ago," said Brian Larche, as he watched the video of the RV careening out of control. "It didn't give me any indication it would happen - it just blew."

Larche learned the hard way that RVtires, which often sit for months at a time, are notorious for dry rotting.

"You can see all the cracks from the tire dry rot," said Mario Zeron of Bent's RVs, pointing to a badly damaged tire.

Larche lost control of his RV as he was headed back from Taladega in 2012. His tires looked good, had plenty of tread, and only had 30,000 miles of wear. But that didn't matter. They were seven years old - two years older than recommended. And Larche had a fight on his hand.

"My son said I was standing up, tugging on the steering wheel," he said.

Larche managed to regain control, and later learned of the unseen danger.

"They rot from the inside out, and there are things in that tire that you can't see," Larche said. After the experience, he's leaving nothing to chance. "I bought [new tires] in November of 2011, and come November of 2016, these good looking tires are getting trashed."

Experts say RV tires should be maintained at proper pressure and checked every 5,000 miles, covered when not used, and kept off of dirt, which can contribute to dry rot.

"The more you roll the tire, the better," Zeron said. "We don't do that. You go camping and park it, go camping and park it."

The growing number of RV owners should heed the warnings.

State Police say the 69-year-old RV driver from Texas and his passenger are expected to be okay.

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