Size Matters

Until today, we still had 2 of the original tires from when we bought our trailer in 2011. We replaced 2 in 2013, one due to a flat caused by a nail and the other for uneven wear.

Brian’s been wanting to upgrade to Michelins, but it seemed a little soon to do all four in 2013.

Did you know that you can tell the age of your tire by looking at the 4 digit DOT code on the sidewall? Our oldest tire had a DOT code of 0611 which means it was made in the 6th week of 2011, so we were finally feeling like it was time to make the upgrade.


We put the trailer up on blocks so Brian can take the back tires off and bring them over to Discount Tire. When he got there, they wouldn’t swap them out. Initially, the reason was because it was a truck tire and not a trailer tire. After some back and forth, they agreed to do it and told him to come back in an hour.

A little while later, Discount Tire called and said they did some research and they were concerned that we would be losing a significant amount of load that the tires could bear by switching to the 15 inch Michelins and it would be a downgrade.

We have a few Airstream friends who love that tire, so I called Dan who has them, to see what he thought. He pointed out that they have a much smaller trailer than we do, so they can safely use those tires.

Brian had been considering the 16 inch Michelin’s all along, but we thought it would be a hassle to order the rims. When the guys at Discount Tire said they could get them in by Thursday, Brian happily pulled the trigger.

Marathon 15 inch, max load: 2540 x 4 = 10,160
Michelin 15 inch, max load 2205 x 4 = 8,820
Michelin 16 inch, max load 3417 x 4 = 13,668

GVWR 2012 27 FB Airstream Flying Cloud: 7,600

Big thanks to Iain and Taylor for helping Brian get the new tires on and the guys at Discount Tire for looking out for our safety.


When I was telling my parents about all of this, it reminded them of a cartoon my grandfather drew when he worked at Disney. It appeared in newspapers on April 17, 1939.

2015 Cost of Camping:
$110.00 thru 2/28
29 night paid camping
29 nights free camping
58 days this year
Total spent: $470
Daily average cost: $8.10

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  • Reply Jim and Gayle February 27, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Great cartoon. Your grandfather was very talented!

  • Reply John February 27, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    I wanted to put Michelin on the Scamp but couldn’t find any that would fit. I love them on the truck. It’s really nice to run tires that have so much excess capacity.

    Love that cartoon. Still occasionally true today.

  • Reply Cynthia Luts February 27, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Love the cartoon!.
    On another note, we also put 16″ wheels and Michelin tires on our trailer.
    When Discount Tires does the work, make sure they place the jack in the correct location. They caused over $1000. dollars in damage to our belly pan and water tank. We had to have both replaced. Discount was great in that they paid for everything, but it would have been better if the damage had not happened! I suggest you stay with the trailer the whole time and make sure they place the jack correctly. We had showed them the arrows that day “place jack here”; we stayed with them for all but five minutes when they needed us to do paperwork inside…..and that’s when it happened.

    • Reply Leigh March 1, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      Thanks for the heads-up, we were considering going to Discount Tire to have the tires rotated in a year or so. After reading your story, we’ll probably do it ourselves.

  • Reply John and Pam Wright February 27, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Glad you got the correct tires! Boy, they aren’t something you want to mess with. Bet you two feel a lot better with new larger tires:)

    Love the cartoon! How cool that your grandfather drew it for Disney!!!

  • Reply pnwdutchgrl February 28, 2015 at 8:04 am

    Love the cartoon, always so interesting to find out people have famous parents! Were you kids spoiled with lots of drawing from your grandpa?

    You story about safety and loads reminds me of the campers or caravans as they are called over there. End of June vacation season starts, schools have 6-8 weeks vacation and most parents have 4-5 weeks off as well. Vacations are spread throughout the country so that not all areas of the country go on vacation at once. But still it’s a very busy time. Most of the families and couples travel south to Spain, France and Italy. In the 80-90’s there were a lot of accidents with overloaded caravans. People took their whole household with them and lots of food items. This was before we had one currency and international foods.
    The government took matters in their own hand and now post at the border police teams experienced in checking caravans on load, age and safety. Every caravan traveling to the south will get tested. Of course it gets a lot of TV time when people who have been preparing there caravan for weeks and stuffed it up to the ceiling with stuff get send back home and come again tomorrow.
    They get the choice to leave some if the stuff like 10 pound bags of potatoes there on the spot or go back and repack. Why the potatoes you ask? Well, Dutch eat a lot if potatoes. Meat, veggies and potatoes is a standard dinner. The French, Italians eat lots of pasta and rice and no potatoes. Instead of getting to know other cultures they take their own food items with them.:-) crazy people.
    Dutch caravans are almost always travel trailers small with no bedrooms. Once in a camping they hook up on the front a what is called front tent. It has windows and doors and sleeping cabins for kids. The larger caravans will have an indoor kitchen but some have a portable kitchen which will be placed in the front tent. They usually stay put in one place and to not trek from one place to the other. Those campings are hell. They are like the Walmarts of the USA. Screaming kids, blaring tv’s in the front tent and until deep into the night. I hated it.
    We had a folding trailer and could set it up in 5 min. This would give us the opportunity to move around. We brought it with us to Oregon but could make it fit behind the Saab and sold it to an Asian family who were also familiar with folding campers. They did send us pics, they had a blast and it always was a conversation starter.
    But that is how the Dutch government reduced the caravan related death with 95%.
    This has become a novel again! I always seem to write novels on your blog comments. What’s wrong with me? 🙂 I’ll promise I’ll do better next time.

    • Reply Leigh March 1, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      That’s a crazy long comment! Though I have to say I relate to overstocking on supplies this week since we’re going to have limited grocery options for the next 5 or 6 weeks!

      • Reply pnwdutchgrl March 2, 2015 at 5:16 am

        OMGosh now I’m embarrassed. Please delete the crazy comment. I promise not to write such long novels anymore. It’s just that I’m always so amazed at how different things are here while we seem so similar as countries.

  • Reply Vince February 28, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Good deal. I feel much more confident and happy with my 16 inch rims/tires!

    Love that cartoon!

  • Reply John B March 1, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Here are a few thoughts on the tires. Can-Am in London, Ontario installed the 15 inch Michelin tires on our 2012 Airstream (28 ft. International). We now are approaching 35,000 km. with no problems; the tires have been excellent.

    The max load per tire is less than the stated 2,205 lb. per tire. Apparently DOT regulations require the load to be derated by 10% if the tire is used on a trailer so the maximum load is just shy of 2,000 lb. Our gross weight is also 7,600 lb. however the weight on the tires is the trailer weight (total) minus the tongue weight. When we weighed our trailer some time ago (must do so again), the hitched weight on the axles was around 6,900 lb. or within the weight specification of the tire.

    I believe the Airstream manual also references the requirement to derate the tire load as mentioned above. I’ve heard nothing but positive comments regarding the 16 in. Michelins that you installed.

    • Reply Leigh March 1, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Right, I forgot about the “minus the tongue weight” part of the equation, though we always lean towards overkill and I don’t think Discount Tire would have even sold us the 15’s!

  • Reply Rich March 1, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    So how many miles on those tires you replaced…? And what are the criteria for replacement…?

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