If you’re in the market for a camper, add Goodyear G159 tires to your checklist. But don’t add them to your must-haves; instead, jot them on your must-avoid list. The Goodyear G159 issue is bad enough that some observers have postulated it could lead to the tire manufacturer’s demise.
How bad is it? Well, G159 tires have allegedly caused multiple injuries and deaths. Plus, some sources have even accused Goodyear of a coverup.
Goodyear G159 tires were allegedly not designed to be driven at highway speeds
This past May 7, Consumer Reports reported, “A sale listing posted online in April for a late-1990s Fleetwood American Tradition motorhome touts the vehicle’s amenities — plenty of storage space, a queen-size bed, a lightly used generator — and its relatively good condition, especially given its age.”
CR continued, “Not mentioned is the make and model of the vehicle’s tires: Goodyear G159s — tires linked to hundreds of RV crashes over the past quarter-century that left at least 95 people dead or injured, according to court records and documents reviewed by Consumer Reports. The G159 was allegedly not designed to be driven at highway speeds for extended periods because it could become unusually hot and experience tread separation if it was.”
In December 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched a probe into reports of safety problems linked to Goodyear G159 tires. But the NHTSA’s investigation was too little too late — nearly 100 people have been killed or injured in RVs with G159s. Not only that, but an attorney representing Goodyear also testified in federal court in mid-2017 that the G159 was ‘still on the road,’ CR reported.
“And online sale listings for spare tires and RVs reviewed by CR this spring, including on the Fleetwood American Tradition, suggest that remains the case,” CR added.
Goodyear’s 20-year quest to keep the details a secret
One of the earliest cases alleging Goodyear G159 tires were deadly in certain conditions occurred in 2003. Goodyear v. Haeger alleges 70-year-old LeRoy Haeger was driving a 38-foot motorhome when the right front G159 blew out. It sent the RV careening onto its side.
Haeger reportedly underwent 17 surgeries to address his injuries from the accident until cancer took his life in 2008. His wife, son, and daughter-in-law also sustained injuries — some severe — in the crash.
CarComplaints.com reported that “the Center for Auto Safety filed a motion to intervene, so thousands of documents will reach the public, documents the Center says Goodyear has fought to keep hidden.”
On top of that, the Haegers took Goodyear back to court and demanded the company pay their attorney’s fees and other costs due to its misconduct. “The court found that Goodyear’s misconduct occurred on an extended basis, so the judge awarded the Haegers $2.7 million, which was the entire amount they had spent in legal fees and costs,” CarComplaints.com reported.
Goodyear tried to appeal the judgment, but the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld it. However, the Supreme Court found the award too high and sent the case back to the appeals court for reassessment.
Either way, this case underscores Goodyear’s attempt to suppress the details surrounding the dangers of G159 tires.
Are there any safer alternatives?
The best RV tires are commercial truck and bus tires — RVs don’t require special tires per se. They’re also called medium-duty, medium-distance tires for trucks and buses.
For example, Hankook AH12 Radials (11R22.5) are regional all-position tires designed for extreme mileage and fuel efficiency. Michelin XPS Rib tires are another great option. These retreadable on-road commercial truck and bus tires have steel casing for durability.
Then there’s the Gladiator Steel Belted QR25 for truck trailers. Because these tires are approved for highway speeds, they’re a great option for RV trailers. The QR25’s steel-belted construction adds strength and stability, offering a worry-free drive.