The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is contributing $80,000 to a $170,000 study by the Trailer Safety Industry Coalition (TSIC) to determine the factors that cause wheel problems on trailers.
RVIA also will participate in a consumer education initiative on wheel safety.
“Every time you change a component on a wheel attachment, it can have an impact on the wheel’s performance – whether it’s an open or closed nut, or whether the wheel is zinc, steel or aluminum,” said Bruce Hopkins, RVIA vice president of standards and education. “There are 42 different combinations that they want to study. They will hire a third-party engineering firm for the testing.”
The contribution was approved by the RVIA board which met March 1 at Copperwynd Resort, Fountain Hills, Ariz.
The coalition, consisting of RVIA, the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM), the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and the National Truck and Equipment Association (NTEA), is attempting to forestall regulatory involvement by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
NHTSA has been applying pressure in response to reported problems, which led to establishing the TSIC.
“We are trying to be proactive,” Hopkins said. “NHTSA is convinced that more wheels have come off than have been reported to them. Members of the coalition were concerned about what NHTSA’s response to this might be in the end.”
Educational press releases aimed at owners of new trailers are being prepared to instruct on the need to re-torque lug nuts, inflate tires correctly, attach trailers properly to their tow vehicles and maintain safety lighting.