Something happened. I didn’t really talk about it because I didn’t want to worry anyone and I figured it would all work out. And it did.
But not long into my drive, when I encountered the first somewhat steep downhill grade, the RV started shaking uncontrollably and even though I was gripping the steeling wheel as hard as possible with both hands, I could barely hang on.
Since I was driving basically a house, it felt and sounded like an earthquake. The entire RV was shaking so hard that everything was falling over and banging against each other. Even though I was going fairly slowly, was in 3rd gear, and was in tow mode (the grade was about 6%), I slowed down even further and went into second gear for the next hill. (Since I was in the middle of a mountain range, avoiding hills was not really an option.) I lightly tapped the brakes. Uncontrollable shaking.
It was pretty terrifying.
In addition to being scared out of my mind, I was also super irritated because I asked specifically about the tires and brakes before I bought the RV. Several times. My continued questions about the quality of the tire and brakes and how those might impact my safety got really annoying for the RV sales and technical staff. But the answer was really important to me. Mostly because I wanted to live.
Anyway, I was fine on flat roads, so I just went as slowly as I could on downhill slopes (when you’re in second gear going 25 mph on the freeway, you get lots of mean looks even when you’re in the slow truck lane, but I decided to choose mean looks over dying).
Once I got to my sister’s house in southern California, I brought the RV into a local mechanic. Who told me that the brake rotors were warped. And that while the tires looked fine from the outside, the side of the tires pointed inward were completely bald.
Well, that explains the whole terrified I’m going to die while going down hills thing, I guess.
$1,500 later and I had sparkly new tires and unwarped brake rotors. Hurray for money and safety!
The happy ending is that when I later came across signs like this:
The downhill grade was terror-free. No shaking or hanging on to the steering wheel for dear life.
The other happy ending is that I sent the RV dealership an email with photos of the tires and a copy of the receipt and they sent me a check for the entire amount. I’m not sure if I should be grateful they reimbursed me when they could have told me used cars are “as is” or irritated they bought my silence for nearing killing me for only $1,500. I’m choosing to go with the first one.