One of the most important parts of driving is your tires. Having the right tires on your vehicle is essential, but so are the tires on your trailer. Whether you will be pulling a camper, fifth wheel, boat or utility trailer, you need the right tires. To help you avoid issues and get the most out of your trailer, here are some quick trailer tire tips.
Depending on the trailer and the size, you might be able to find light truck tires which work for your trailer. This will help with aesthetics when you want your trailer tires to match those on your vehicle. Or you can simply stick with specialty tires, which include radial and bias construction options.
Specialty tires come in many different sizes. These include radial and bias. Each offers different performance levels. Radial tires are made with belts running at a 90 degree angle of the tread centreline. On the other hand radial tires tend to last longer overall. They are less likely to develop flat spots when parked during extended periods of time. Radial tires perform well at highway speeds, they dissipate heat better and they offer lower rolling resistance, which results in a smoother ride.
Bias-ply tires are made with belts running at 30 to 45 degree angle of the tread centreline. Bias sidewalls can be stiffer than radials which can reduce the trailer sway and increase stability when the trailer is loaded.
Whether you go with bias or radial tires, you should choose the same type, size and load range on all wheel positions on your trailer.
It’s also important to understand your trailer’s limitations. Check your trailer for its weight capacity. This will be based on its axle rating. Increasing the tire load-carrying capacity will not increase the weight-carrying capacity of your trailer. If you stay within its load capacity, you’ll reduce your risks, especially if you have chosen the proper tires.
Make sure that the tires on your trailer meet or exceed your trailer’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This is the trailer’s maximum operating weight, including the cargo.
The maximum load (carrying capacity) is only met when the trailer tires are inflated to their maximum pressure. When the tires are underinflated, it will decrease the load-carrying capacity and the speed that they can travel. Never exceed a tire’s maximum air pressure.
If you want to keep your trailer tires in great shape for a long period of time, then this will begin with keeping the proper air pressure. Always check, inflate or bleed air pressure when your tires are cold and be sure that you use an accurate gauge to check them. Once a month or before you go out on a long journey, always ensure that the air pressure is where it is supposed to be. For trailer tires, this means running them at their maximum rated inflated pressure for the utmost load carrying capacity. Also important is to keep all of your tires on an axle at the same pressure.