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Trailer Tires 101: All You Need to Know

Jun 16th 2021

Trailer Tires 101: All You Need to Know

Trailer tires are essential for your trailer's secure performance. While the sizes might be similar, specialty trailer tires are designed, produced, and manufactured for trailer tire use only.

Their performance, durability, and driving manner differ from regular tires so drastically that they should never be used on light trucks or SUVs.

But why are trailer tires so unique? We strive to answer this question to the best of our abilities in this post.

What are Trailer Tires?

Trailer tires, or ST tires as they are sometimes referred to, are made to be mounted on the free-rolling axle of the trailers. These tires are manufactured to be towed, therefore their main focus is load durability.

These types of tires do not need to provide outstanding traction and sharp maneuvering, as that is the towing vehicles' job. They just need to focus on following the instructions of the towing vehicles, while handling heavy loads with their strengthened internal structure.

Trailer tires can be made with radial or bias-ply constructions. The difference between these structures is the angling of the internal plies, as they offer varying performing capabilities.

Radial trailer tires are known for their heat-resistant performance, which helps them to lengthen the service life. Bias-ply tires offer better heavy load durability. You need to choose the correct tires depending on the need of your trailer.

How Long do Trailer Tires Last?

All tires need to be replaced sooner or later, but what happens when said tires are not used for the majority of the year?

Trailer tires are not utilized every day, with some exceptions. Therefore, they usually sit around waiting to be used throughout the year. This tends to lead to minimal treadwear across the tread area, but other factors need to be taken into account.

The recommended age of trailer tires is five years with normal use, optimized circumstances, and regular maintenance. While various manufacturers might have other suggestions, based on statistics trailer tires typically do not last longer than that, with some even needed replacement after three years. What is the reason for this?

Trailer tires do not perform as regular tires do. They are more prone to weather and mechanical damage, as their compound elements, tread design, construction, and application all affect their performing ability.

Additionally, while most owners do not consider this, trailer tires have their limits and needs as well. The and shortened service life.

Here is a list of the most common issues which can damage trailer tires:

  • Incorrect tire pressure levels
  • Exposure to moisture, sunlight, harmful temperatures, and heat build-up while in use and during storage
  • Exceeding their speed and load limits
  • Storing loaded trailers
  • Irregular trailer use
  • Trailer axle issues that damage the tires

These factors - and sometimes their combination - easily reduce the service life of trailer tires. By knowing what to look for and prevent, trailer owners should be able to extend the tires' usability greatly.

Trailer Tires Load Range

Trailer Tires Manufacturers

Transeagle

Transeagle tires are manufactured in China, by the Winforce Tyre company. They deal with making truck and trailer tires. Their products are made for worldwide distribution and are imported to the US by Transamerica Tire Ltd.

Maxxis

Maxxis tires are mainly manufactured in Taiwan. The company was founded in 1967 and had dipped its toe into trailer tire design and production. Maxxis is currently one of the largest Taiwanese tire brands, that offers excellent quality products.

Carlisle

Carlisle tires are manufactured in China and America. Depending on the tire line you are looking at, their country of origin can differ. The brand is produced by the Carlstar Group and it has a few trailer tires lines available for purchase.

Trailer King

Trailer King tires are produced in China. The brand deals with designing and manufacturing exclusively trailer tires, as its name suggests. Their products are on the budget-friendly side, while also offering excellent quality.

How Much do Trailer Tires Cost?

How much a trailer tire will cost greatly depends on its type. Smaller trailer tires tend to cost less, while larger ones are on the pricier side. The brand will also greatly affect the price. However, typically trailer tires can be found for as low as $30-$40, with some specialty tires costing over $800.

What are The Best Trailer Tires?

As with all products available on the tire market, trailer tires also have their reigning kings.

Let's take a look at some of the best trailer tires we offer on our website, Priority Tire.

Maxxis ST Radial M8008

  • Fuel efficient drive
  • All weather traction
  • Increased durability
  • Enhanced controllability

Check available sizes for Maxxis ST Radial M8008 at Priority Tire.

The Maxxis ST Radial M8008 is a highway terrain, all season trailer tire. This model promotes exceptional controllability in all weather conditions thanks to its ideal tread design. Its reinforced double steel belt construction enhances the overall durability, while the better traction manages to optimize the towing vehicle's fuel economy.

This trailer model comes in 13-16 rim diameter sizes. Depending on the tire size chosen, the tire can have a 6, 8, or 10 ply rating. Their maximum PSI corresponds with the ply rating, which is 50 for 6 ply sizes, 65 for 8 ply sizes, and 80 for the 10 ply sizes.

Carlisle Radial Trail HD

  • All weather traction
  • Fuel efficient drive
  • Improved durability
  • Enhanced controllability

Check available sizes for Carlisle Radial Trail HD at Priority Tire.

The Carlisle Trail HD is another trailer tire model made for highway use. The tire utilizes its all season compound and ideal tread design to boost the year round traction. This also allows the tire to decrease the rolling resistance and the towing vehicle's fuel consumption. The maintained road contact optimizes its handling, while the structure construction boosting its load capacity.

This tire has 12-16 rim diameter sizes available. The model offers C, D, E, and F load ranges in versatile sizes. Depending on the tire size, the tire can have a starting tread depth between 8-12/32. Their maximum PSI ratings are corresponding with their load capacity, and it ranges between 50 and 95.

Freestar Radial S/T M-108+

  • All weather traction
  • Longer lasting tread life
  • Enhanced controllability
  • Upgraded Hydroplaning Resistance

Check available sizes for Freestar Radial S/T M-108+ at Priority Tire.

The Freestar Radial S/T M-108+ offers excellent all weather traction throughout its lifetime. The tread's surface contact enables the tire to upgrade the handling, offering a secure towing experience. The tread design and the stronger compound greatly lengthen the tire's usability.

This tire model has sizes available with 13-20 rim diameters. Its strengthened internal structure enables the tires' C, D, E, and F rated load durability, which correlates with the maximum PSI the tires can handle. The tire comes with two speed ratings: M (81 mph) and L (75 mph).

Couldn't find the tire that will fit your trailer? Don't worry, we have created a list of the best trailer tires available on our website. Make sure to check it out!

How to Keep Trailer Tires From Dry Rotting?

As trailers are not in use as often as the towing vehicles are, they tend to sit on the tires for longer periods of time. However, this downtime comes at a price. As the tires are not in use for most of the year, they are more exposed to the elements that may hurt them. The biggest issue, which WILL shorten the tires' lifespan is dry rot.

Dry rot is the cracking and lining of the tread area which is caused by the Sun's UV rays. When trailer tires sit on concrete (or other surfaces which attract sunlight), they are prone to develop dry rot faster. While dry rot is annoying to deal with and it will cause headaches for trailer owners, there are a couple of ways to protect the tires from weather damage.

Here is a short list of ways to prevent dry rot:

  • Climate controlled garage
  • Wooden plank or board
  • Park the trailer on grass
  • Remove and store tires
  • UV blocking spray
  • Tire and wheel covers

Climate controlled garage

This is the most expensive method to protect trailer tires from dry rot. Such garages will keep your trailer and its tires cool in the heat of summer, away from the UV rays at all times (at least when the trailer is not in use). Unfortunately, most trailer owners are unable to use this method as climate-controlled garages are quite the luxury to have.

Wooden plank or board

When the trailer is not in use, it usually sits outside on concrete or asphalt roads. These types of roads absorb the heat of the sun and make the tire's rubber composition heat up as well. To prevent direct contact between the trailer tire and the road, place wooden planks or boards under the tires. This will help you keep the tires a bit cooler.

Park the trailer on grass

This is probably the easiest method, but it is not fail-proof. In order to protect the tires from the heat emitted by the asphalt, the trailer can be parked on grass. Grass surfaces do not pull the UV rays like roads do, which will help prevent dry rot.

Remove and store tires

If your trailer is not functional for months at a time, it might be best to remove the tires. Place the trailer on jacks, and bag and store the tires in your garage. The trailer itself will not be damaged by this, while the tires will be safely stored, hidden away from UV rays.

UV blocking spray

If you notice dry rot on the tires in its early stage, you might be still in luck. Special UV blocking sprays can be purchased which will stop the tires from deteriorating due to weather damage. Just be careful what type of products you decide to use, as some cause more harm than help.

Tire and wheel covers

Probably the least expensive method is to purchase tire and wheel covers for your trailer tires. These covers are available in versatile sizes, and you will be sure to find the perfect one for your trailer. Place the covers on the tires, and it will block them from UV rays.

Trailer Tires vs Commercial Trailer Tires

When it comes to trailer tires, there are different types available on the market. From boat tires to cargo trailer tires, and commercial trailer tires, you will be able to find anything and everything you might need for your specific trailer. But it is important to know the difference between them before you choose your new set. Let's see if we can figure this out.

Both regular trailer and commercial trailer tires should only be mounted on free-rolling axles and follow the instructions of the towing vehicles - which makes them trailer tires, to begin with. However, they vary in size and durability.

Most trailer sizes can be found on passenger vehicles, SUVs, and light trucks. Such tire models are made for low-weight trailers. This does not mean that the tires cannot have commercial applications, but they are not meant to be mounted on heavy-duty commercial trailers. Their load durability is lower as well. They might be able to securely carry higher loads, but they will never be able to compete with commercial tire products.

On the other hand, commercial trailer tires are manufactured exclusively for commercial trucks. Larger vehicles require bigger tires to function correctly, which makes commercial trailer tires so much bigger. Their application can be versatile - regional, long haul, etc - but their load capacity is significantly higher than that of regular trailer tires. Therefore, commercial trailer tires are the kings when it comes to their load capacity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can you use regular tires on a trailer?

While regular tires can be used on trailers, it is not recommended. Trailer tires function in a different manner than regular tires, and their performing characteristics will vary. If you do decide to mount regular tires on a trailer, be sure that their load capacity is not exceeded.

Are radial tires better for trailers?

Radial tires are better for your trailer if you are looking for a smoother drive. The radial construction enables the tire's performance with heavier cargo, while also minimizing the swaying of the trailer during the drive. Additionally, radial trailer tires last longer as they prevent heat build-up.

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