Every vehicle owner knows that keeping your tires in top-notch condition is one of the most important parts of regular maintenance. Regardless if we are talking about a bicycle, a car, or a trailer – damaged tires can cause massive headaches, and in certain situations they might even be a health hazard.
The goal of this post is to make you familiar with trailer tires, and some of the best practices to follow when trying to maintain them. We advise you never to postpone the replacement of your trailer tires, because this could lead to massive issues – even at lower speeds, a blowout while towing your trailer is likely to lead to fishtailing, and complete loss of control of your vehicle. For starters, let’s say a few words about the methods you can use to determine whether your trailer tires are decent.
Are your Trailer Tires Good or Bad?
Regardless if you are using a utility trailer, camper or a boat trailer, you are likely to have pretty much the same tires. This means that you can rely on the same ‘tells’ to inform you whether the tires are good or bad.
It might come as a surprise to many of you, but determining whether trailer tires are still good to use is not that different compared to regular vehicle tires – just take a close look at their thread and condition. Also, make sure to inspect the sidewalls for any signs of damage or rot – this is the area that is likely to deteriorate faster when talking about trailer tires.
A helpful tip to preserve your trailer tires for as long as possible is to keep them in shade – sun is the #1 damaging factor when talking about trailer tires. Pair this with the fact that usually trailers go unused for long periods of time. If you make the effort to keep your trailer tires away from the sun, you are likely to greatly enhance their lifespan.
Last but not least, a few words about expired tires. It is possible to run on expired tires, but we would not advise you to risk doing this on long trips. They might behave differently under higher speeds, and the risk of a blowout is much larger – they are, however, fine for short trips.
What Kind of Trailer Tires Should You Buy?
Choosing tires for your trailer might sound like a lot of research, but it might be easier than you think. For starters, your list of options is shortened significantly because of the model of the camper and, in particular, the hub that the wheel is mounted on.
Make sure to note that bolt pattern of the hub, as well as its exact size – measure it properly to ensure that you will make the right purchase. Size is flexible and could be limited by your trailer’s clearance – but we will talk more about trailer tire size below.
The good news is that trailer tires come fitted on the rim – they are mounted and balanced, so all you need to do is put them on your trailer. While this may sound strange compared to passenger tires, it is very convenient because it also makes reselling much easier. Thankfully, it does not impact the price of trailer tires either – we’ll tell you more about this below.
How Much do Trailer Tires Cost?
The good news is that changing your trailer tires will not break the bank. In fact, if you opt to resell your old tires, you might end up having to spend just $60-$70, depending on the deals you find. For example, a new set of highway speed-rated tires can go for around $120-$130 – of course, you could find cheaper or more expensive models depending on your needs and budget.
Surprisingly, selling your old tires is very easy – there are plenty of people looking to buy expired tires that will then be used on their farm trailer, for example. In these cases, the condition of the tires barely makes sense, since they will mostly be used around town, and there are no long hauls involved.
What Size Trailer Tires Should You Get?
When talking about trailer tires, you should know that bigger is better. Smaller ones can also work, but they are likely to get damaged faster, because they will do more revolutions per minute compared to larger counterparts. Smaller trailer tires are also likely to be rated for lower speeds, and this is something that you want to avoid if you frequently take your trailer on long trips.
Last but not least, make sure that your trailer has sufficient space for larger tires – check the clearance to see what size of tires you can fit comfortably.
What is the Difference between Radial and Bias Ply Trailer Tires?
Trailer tires usually have two types of construction – bias ply and radial. Of course, there are other kinds as well, but these two are the most popular ones. So, which one should you choose? Radial tires are, hands down, the best option in terms of quality and longevity. However, keep in mind that they could be a bit pricier.
If you have found the perfect tires for your trailer, but they are using a bias ply construction, then don’t worry – you can use them, but they might not last as long. Typically, bias ply tires are cheaper, and they are a good choice if you are looking to urgently replace your set of tires.
- Radial Tires – radial construction makes use of steel belts and radial plies that are running at a 90 degree angle through the thread center line. These tires are characterized with better longevity, heat dissipation, and higher speed ratings. The best prices on radial trailer tires are here.
- Bias Ply Tires – in these, the belts run at a 30-45 degree angle through the thread center line. They are typically a lot stiffer (especially the sidewalls.) This has a negative impact on ride smoothness, but could improve stability under high loads. However, their lifespan tends to be shorter. Find the best price on bias ply tires here.