Let me preface this blog with a “Thank you” to God! I have never had a tire blowout while zipping down a highway. Having said that… watch this Youtube video:
The first thing I would do if I had a tire blow out would be to take my foot off the gas pedal so we could start slowing down. Turns out that this is the 2nd worse thing you could do in a vehicle – especially a huge Class A Motorhome. This video by Michelin explains what you should do!
It’s counter-intuitive! Who’d have thought to step on the gas if you had a blowout? Not me – not until now.
This whole thought has got me to thinking. There are some products out there that will help during that initial instant when the steering wheel jerks after the tire explodes; that is what I’ve been looking into these last few days. The two I’m focusing on are the Safe-T-Plus and the Steer Safe.
After watching Michelin video above, it seems that neither of these products are actually required. And researching the many blogs/forums I’ve found many people say that neither are necessary. However, although not necessary, it seems like they do help immediately after a blowout. The jerk of the steering wheel is not as severe!
And, for all the rest of the driving time when you don’t have a tire failure, these products help reduce driver fatigue. It doesn’t take as much effort to keep the RV on the road – especially during crosswind situations or when the 18-wheelers zip past you.
So my research has been to try to figure out which is the better product…
I found this good explanation concerning the operation of each product at a forum which was from Dave Hall at Safe-T-Plus:
The main difference between the Safe-T-Plus unit and Steer Safe is in the approaches to solving similar issues. Some operators are using both systems, as their applications don’t overlap.
Steer Safe introduces a pair of extended springs on each of the steer tires in an attempt to capture shimmy and outside influences at the king pins (hinges). The attach bar is also hinged and the net result is a neutral feel at the steering wheel until approaching near the limits of travel ( something exceeding 20-30 degrees ).
Safe-T-Plus introduces a preloaded coil spring and a 50/50 hydraulic damper into the middle of the steering system by attaching to the tie rod. This way it returns the system to center and firms up the steering in your hand. Outside influences are captured by affecting both steer tires simultaneously and with equal force.
Now, the Steer Safe folks have said (on their website):
Unlike hydraulic shock absorber stabilizers that hook onto a vehicle’s tie rod, Steer Safe offers protection from the front wheels to the steering gear box.
I’m not really sure how important that statement is.
Both claim to be installable by normal people (I’ll see if I can find one of those; but may have to do it myself anyway) in an hour or so. Both require you to drive the RV and check that the system doesn’t pull the vehicle to the left or right – and, if it does, adjustments are made until the RV drives straight and true. Both say that no maintenance is required (except the occasional adjustments maybe). And both are guaranteed for the live of the RV for the purchaser.
When looking at the actual products when installed on the RV, it seems that the Steer Safe product hangs lower than the Safe-T-Plus. Granted, I don’t expect to go four wheeling in the RV but I don’t like reducing the clearance of it either.
Checking the prices of each, the Steer Safe is $439 while the Safe-T-Plus is about $504 so the price difference is relatively insignificant.
And finally, my perceived professionalism of each company. The Steer Safe company is using what appears to be a do-it-yourself free website using WordPress. Their installation instructions are poorly designed Word documents. And I’ve found no Youtube videos of their product installation or adjustments. Safe-T-Plus, on the other hand, seems to be a more professional outfit.
So… I’ve guess I’ve answered my question…which do I want to get? The Safe-T-Plus!