My 1993 VW Eurovan needs new tires. We had a flat, and while we were changing the tire we took a good look at the ratings printed on the sidewall, and realized that the tires that were on the vehicle when we bought it (a couple of years ago) are inadequate to the load.
We live two miles up a gravel road, and this is hard on our tires. We get a lot more tire damage than we did when living in the city. Whenever possible, we use six-ply commercial tires on our vehicles. And we do this the other way around, too, preferring vehicles for which six-ply commercial tires are available. I ordered a set of appropriate German-made tires, which of course no one has in stock and won’t arrive for a few days. They cost over $200 each. Ouch! This is the penalty I pay for choosing an obscure imported van. Commercial tires for more popular vehicles are cheaper.
We frequently load our vehicles to capacity with feed, so it’s good to have a vehicle with a commercial chassis. We used to have a Ford Taurus station wagon, which went through a surprising number of tie rods and shocks because it’s not designed for that kind of service. Our Isuzu Trooper and VW Eurovan don’t have this problem. Having a commercial chassis doesn’t force you to have a stark, utilitarian commercial vehicle (though that’s not a bad idea). Our Eurovan (designed originally as a commercial van) came in a a seven-passenger semi-RV configuration, with a fold-up table and fold-down bed. It’s great for family outings. Just don’t expect a sedan, minivan, or even an SUV built on a non-commercial chassis to last like the real deal.
We learned the hard way that conventional wisdom is wrong in one area: never overload a pickup truck! Not if you want to end the trip with the same number of wheels that you started with, anyway. A lot of people told us that you can overload a full-sized half-ton pickup to a full ton with no problems, and this quickly chewed up the rear bearings and spat out a rear wheel. Not fun! (Why would anybody make a full-sized half-ton pickup, anyway?)