Tires are kind of like the foundation of your house. If they’re in good condition, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Other the other hand, once that foundation starts to crack, crumble, or develop structural issues, things can go south real quick. But what exactly should you be looking for when you inspect your trailer tires? How often do you need to check your trailer tires? How often do you need to replace your trailer tires? Well, you’re in luck, because we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about trailer tires to help avoid potentially dangerous hauling disasters.
Wear and Tear 101
Learning how to read signs of wear and tear on your trailer tires is one of the most important things you’ll need to learn when you start towing a trailer. And you’ve gotta take care of your trailer. If you don’t, you’ll run into a whole load of problems while you’re trying to tow from point A to point B. One of the most basic – but most essential – maintenance items on your checklist should be your trailer tires.
Before you set out on your hauling adventures, you should check your trailer tires for wear. Inspect the tires for defects like sidewall cracking and tread wear. Your tread should wear evenly across the entire width of your trailer tire tread. If you notice uneven wear (such as wear on only half the tire, or feathering), you should get your trailer tires inspected. Chances are that something’s not mounted or balanced right, and it’s causing the tire to wear unevenly.
Under normal towing conditions, you can expect your trailer tires to last for about 3 to 6 years. But that’s just a ballpark range. If you’re hauling more, or if your trailer is exposed to more extreme weather conditions, the tires may age quicker.
Weight and Loading
Learning to load your trailer properly is a must if you want to keep your trailer in good condition. But before we get too deep, let’s get one thing clear: there’s a definite difference between special trailer (ST) tires and light truck (LT) tires. ST tires are designed to hold more weight than your regular LT or even passenger (P) tires. When it comes to holding up to the pressure of your towing load, you’ll get more oomph out of ST tires.
You’ll also want to figure out what the load range is on your trailer tires. Each tire manufacturer marks load capacity on trailer tires. This can range from “A” (being the lightest load rating), to “D.” Don’t forget that the load rating is per tire. To calculate your total per tire load capacity, remember to double the single tire’s load range.
Did you know that all tires have recommended speed limits? From passenger tires to trailer tires, tire manufacturers mark each tire with a speed limit designation. Why, you ask? As you increase in speed, your tires will heat up. Too fast (i.e., too hot), and you run the risk of your trailer tires blowing out under the pressure of your load.
Most ST (special trailer) tires are rated for 65 mph or less. In certain situations, you can increase your tire pressure up to 10 PSI to reduce the effective load while traveling at higher speeds. But, if you ask us, we’d rather be safe than sorry. So, while your lead foot might be itching, staying within the marked speed limits is for your own good. Exceeding the recommended speed limits of your trailer tires can lead to tire blowouts.
All About Inflation
Which is worse: overinflation or underinflation? The harsh truth is that both can cause premature wear and degradation on your precious trailer tires.
Tire manufacturers make it easy for you to know what the ideal pressure range is for your tires. Like speed and load limits, they’ll also mark the pressure range on the sidewall of the tire. You should regularly check your trailer tire pressure. If they’re not properly inflated, your tires won’t be able to properly handle the towing load .
Once you know what you’re looking for, taking care of your trailer tires isn’t so complicated. Plus, you could always download a handy maintenance checklist to keep your trailer in peak towing condition. Trailer tires are your hard-working best friends, so you’ve gotta take care of them! That’s why we rounded up this list of everything you need to know about trailer tires so you can keep your trailer tires in great condition.