"It's all about the journey, not the destination." It's a proverb that many camping trailer owners will repeat over and over, and it might be true (for some). However, while the journey with a trailer can be fun, it can also go south if one of the tires experiences a blowout.
Blowouts are a pretty regular occurrence on trailers, and the reason is very straightforward – trailer tires endure a lot of stress throughout their lifetime. Not only do these tires succumb to the forces of driving, but they also need to carry the weight of the trailer, even when stationary. In other words, they need to do more things than regular passenger vehicle tires.
Your trailer may be a steadfast companion in your business operations or a warm nest for your family getaways. It could carry your boat to the shimmering lake, haul your horse to the fairgrounds, or transport the tools of your trade. Regardless of the cargo, the importance of its tires is universal: they are the crucial connection between your precious load and the vast array of roads you traverse.
For that reason, you should spend some time when choosing new tires for your trailer. And to help you, I have put together a list of the best trailer tires on the market. Since not all trailer owners have the same needs, my list will include radial and bias tires and models at different price ranges.
Also, I made a very detailed FAQ list, where I tried to answer every lingering question about trailer tires. I think this is important, as apart from choosing cheap, low-quality tires, owners contribute to blowouts by also not taking care of the tires. There, I'll explore what makes a trailer tire exceptional, how to select the right one for your needs, and answer some frequently asked questions.
So, strap in because we're about to roll into the world of the best trailer tires!
- Best Radial Trailer Tires
- Best Bias-Ply Trailer Tires
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 1. How do I choose the right trailer tires?
- 2. What should I look for in a quality trailer tire?
- 3. Can I use car or truck tires on my trailer?
- 4. How often should I replace my trailer tires?
- 5. What tire pressure should I use for my trailer tires?
- 6. What are load ratings, and why are they important for trailer tires?
- 7. Can trailer tires be repaired, or do they always need to be replaced?
- 8. How can I maintain my trailer tires to ensure their longevity?
- 9. What is the difference between ST and LT trailer tires?
- 10. What is the meaning of speed ratings on trailer tires?
- 11. How does temperature affect trailer tire performance?
- 12. What is the difference between 2-ply, 4-ply, and 6-ply tires?
- 13. How can I prevent trailer tire blowouts?
- 14. Should I buy all the same brands of tires for my trailer?
- 15. Is it better to overinflate or underinflate trailer tires?
- 16. How should I store my trailer tires to prevent dry rot?
- 17. Should I replace all trailer tires at the same time?
- 18. Are Tire Blowouts More Prevalent in Trailers?
Best Radial Trailer Tires
1. Goodyear Endurance Trailer Tire
Goodyear is one of the few popular tiremakers that makes ST (Standard Trailer) tires with its Endurance series. It's a shame that other manufacturers haven't joined the legendary American brand, but at the same time, we should be happy that the Endurance exists because it's such an outstanding trailer tire.
The American tiremaker made sure its trailer tire sits above the competition in key metrics, particularly when it comes to longevity. Namely, the Endurance is a radial tire but has Goodyear's Durawall technology, which makes it almost as puncture-resistant as a bias-ply tire. Moreover, the tire has a scuff guard, which protects against sidewall scuffs.
Furthermore, the Goodyear Endurance is great at keeping its pressure when left stationary for longer periods thanks to the enhanced inner liner. As a result, it's more resistant to warping, bulges, and tread separation than its rivals, though I still highly recommend checking the pressure before hitting the road.
Once you hit the road, the stiff polyester construction reinforced with steel belts will provide you with exceptional stability on the road. The Goodyear Endurance tracks straight on the highway without a lot of input from the driver, while its enhanced tread pattern provides excellent grip. Unlike some cheaper trailer tires, the Endurance keeps on going smoothly during rainy conditions and will even give you some traction on light snow.
With that said, although it has a stiff construction, the Endurance isn't fit for off-road use. The casing seems like it could take on some gravel and dirt, but prolonged driving on abrasive surfaces can damage the tire and potentially cause punctures and cuts. For those conditions, you will still need a bias-ply tire.
Naturally, since the Endurance is made by Goodyear in the USA, it costs more than the alternative ST tires. However, apart from the higher safety, owners also report that it has a longer treadlife, meaning less frequent replacements, i.e., less money spent in the long run. You are really getting what you are paying here – the Goodyear Endurance is an undoubtedly exceptional trailer tire.
- Class-leading traction on dry and wet roads
- Exceptional highway stability and no fishtailing
- Tough radial construction that ensures good puncture protection
- Keeps its pressure longer than other ST tires
- Long treadlife and overall durability
- It is one of the most expensive trailer tires
- Not fit for driving on gravel and dirt
2. Hankook Vantra Trailer
Hankook is the other popular tiremaker that we know from passenger vehicle tires that also produces trailer tires. The Korean company just recently launched its Vantra Trailer model, and it's an instant hit.
I was very impressed with how this tire performs on the road, particularly when it comes to safety – there was no fishtailing or loss of traction when you adhered to the speed limits, even when the trailer was loaded to the teeth. The Vantra Trailer also seems very smooth – the trailer didn't jump around like on some cheaper tires. All of this is thanks to the high-stiffness tread blocks, which ensure the tire doesn't warp much at speed.
The tread design of the Vantra Trailer also seemed capable of providing excellent traction. The trailer remained stable during hard cornering, even during rainy conditions. Due to the existence of some siping on the tread blocks, the Vantra Trailer is also capable of hitting snowy roads, but in that case, the Goodyear Endurance seems slightly better.
With that said Hankook's trailer tire matches the Goodyear Endurance when it comes to longevity. It has a three-ply carcass and folded edge tape, which ensure the tire is strong and resistant to warping. Also, long-distance traveling won't cause overheating on the Vantra Trailer, thanks to the decoupling groove that expands the tire's surface to enhance heat dissipation.
Unfortunately, I don't have any input from the owners to show you since the Vantra Trailer is the newest trailer tire to hit the block. Thus, treadlife will remain unknown for now, though knowing Hankook, I expect it to be comparable to the excellent Goodyear Endurance.
Still, since the Vantra Trailer is a premium tire, it costs more than its alternatives, particularly some budget-oriented trailer tires.
- Outstanding traction and stability on the highway (dry and wet surfaces)
- Excellent resistance to overheating
- Stiff casing with excellent puncture resistance
- One of the most expensive trailer tires
- Treadlife is unknown at this point (it's a new tire)
3. Maxxis M8008 Plus Trailer Tire
The Maxxis M8008 Plus is a successor to the most popular trailer tire on the market, the M8008. It is Maxxis' bread and butter model and a tire that competes tightly with the Goodyear Endurance and Hankook Vantra Trailer for class honors.
I really couldn't find any issue with the Maxxis M8008 Plus, apart from the fact that it's not fit for challenging off-road conditions. But that is not surprising since this is a radial tire designed mainly for highway use. And it does work great on the highway, with similar stability and straight-line tracking as its closest rivals and no fishtailing.
Thanks to its modern tread design and advanced rubber compound, the Maxxis M8008 Plus is also great at resisting overheating, even when loaded to the max. Moreover, it provides very good traction and lateral grip on dry roads, keeping your trailer very stable during cornering. Maxxis' tire is even good when it rains, with very good traction and hydroplaning resistance.
Much like the Goodyear Endurance, the Maxxis M8008 Plus also has an inner liner design that retains air better, which ensures the tire stays pressurized for longer. However, Maxxis also designed the sidewall with UV resistance in mind, resulting in a durable tire that won't dry rot as easily. On top of that, thanks to the stiff construction with a full nylon cap-ply design, the Maxxis M8008 Plus resists warping much better than cheaper trailer tires.
Owners of the previous model were also very satisfied with the treadlife, and Maxxis says that the M8008 Plus is even improved in that regard. So, there is no reason to believe that this tire won't last long. In fact, it should still be one of the longest-lasting trailer tires on the market.
- Proven construction that withstands warping
- Good straight-line tracking and no fishtailing
- Very good grip on dry and wet roads
- Special compound that maximized UV resistance
- Long treadlife
- There are much cheaper trailer tires on the market
4. Carlisle Radial Trail RH
The Carlisle Radial Trail RH is a budget-oriented trailer tire that won't break the bank. Of course, since it's a low-cost tire, it won't compete with the premium tires from Maxxis, Goodyear, and Hankook, so don't expect miracles here. Still, owners are generally satisfied with how the tire performs, and I couldn't find a lot of people having issues with tread separation, blowouts, or warping.
In my testing, I was far from impressed with the performance, but I couldn't find anything bad that stood out, either. Notably, the Carlisle Radial Trail RH seems very good at dissipating heat. Even when traveling for prolonged periods on the highway at 70 mph, the tire kept cool. This is probably the reason why there aren't many blowouts, unlike other budget-oriented tires.
Furthermore, the highway stability is commendable for the price. The Carlisle Radial Trail RH won't keep you as straight as the Goodyear Endurance, for example, but it is still very usable on the highway. Most importantly, fishtailing isn't an issue – it's that you will need to work more with the steering wheel.
As for the traction, I was pleasantly surprised with how well the Carlisle Radial Trail RH sticks to the road. It provides solid braking power on dry and wet surfaces and also has a solid lateral grip. You can surely get more grip if you opt for its premium rivals, but the Carlisle Radial Trail RH is more than good enough for the price.
As for durability, the Carlisle Radial Trail RH feels strong and durable, and the manufacturer says the tread is designed with even wear in mind. I couldn't test these things for obvious reasons (I only had them for a few hundred miles), but owners are generally satisfied with how long the tires last, especially considering the price. The Carlisle Radial Trail RH comes in many different sizes, including load range C, E, and F variants.
- Solid highway stability and straight-line tracking
- Good dry/wet traction for the price
- Resists overheating surprisingly well
- Should be durable
- Stability and traction are a step behind the premium competition
- Not usable for off-roading
5. Trailer King ST Radial II
The Trailer King II is a low-cost alternative to tires from Maxxis, Goodyear, and Hankook. However, its manufacturer managed to hide the cost difference pretty well, as the King II seems like a very capable trailer tire, both for camping trailers and boat trailers. It also comes in many sizes that cover most trailers, so it's not surprising that it's very popular in the community.
On the road, the Trailer King II provides pretty good stability and straight-line tracking. Its performance is not on the level of its premium counterparts, but provided you adhere to the speed limits, you will have zero issues with stability.
It also provides solid traction on dry and wet roads for braking and high grip in the corners. Again, the traction it provides is not class-leading, but still excellent for the price.
I was also very impressed with the heat resistance of the King II. Thanks to the brand-new tread pattern of this model, the tire doesn't overheat when used for prolonged periods on the highway, even when towing heavier trailers. The overall construction also seems very stiff, especially in 15-inch and 16-inch models, which come with added nylon overlays and are rated load range E or F.
With that said, while the Trailer King II is pretty good at resisting warping, it's not on the level of its premium rivals. The tire also doesn't have additional protection from air loss. Hence, you will need to check the pressure more regularly on the King II to ensure it lasts longer and provides safe traction.
Treadlife should be okay for the price, though, as owners of the previous models were satisfied with how long they lasted, especially considering the price. However, some owners reported blowouts, even when the tires were new (used for 500 to 2000 miles). I didn't have any issues, and these things are hard to check (maybe the tires were underinflated?), but I thought it's important to mention.
- Very good stability and straight-line tracking for the price
- Good traction on dry and wet roads
- Solid treadlife for a budget-oriented trailer tire
- Excellent overheating resistance
- Available in many sizes
- Not very expensive
- The construction isn't as stiff as that of its premium rivals
- It loses pressure more quickly than its premium competitors
- Some owners report blowouts
6. Power King Towmax Vanguard
Power King's Towmax Vanguard is another budget-oriented trailer tire that claims it offers premium performance. Well, you probably learned by now that this is not possible – there is a reason why offerings from Goodyear and Hankook cost more. Still, the Towmax Vanguard is a good tire if you want to save some cash.
Namely, this is a tire that performed better than I anticipated on the highway. The trailer didn't sway on the highway and felt surefooted on a twisty road, even when I was driving faster than really necessary. Moreover, the tire provided a solid lateral grip, which further helped with the overall sense of stability.
Thanks to the modern tread pattern, the Towmax Vanguard also provides solid traction in rainy conditions, while the advanced rubber compound keeps it glued on the road when it's dry. The pattern also helps the tire cool down – overheating wasn't an issue in my testing.
Of course, the overall performance this tire offers is lower than that of the premium competition. Although the Towmax Vanguard feels stable and surefooted, it can't hold a candle to the Goodyear Endurance and Hankook Vantra Trailer and necessitates a higher involvement from the driver, particularly on twisty roads.
With that said, durability shouldn't concern you, as the Towmax Vanguard has the same internal construction as its higher-priced rivals. Things like steel belts and nylon plies are present here, and Power King even included a scuff protector to reduce sidewall damage from hitting curbs. The company even provides a 2-Year Nationwide Roadside Assistance Program and a 1-Year Road Hazard Protection Plan for peace of mind.
As for longevity, not many people reported on this tire online, and I didn't have time to use it long enough to tell you the whole story. Still, I wouldn't expect the Towmax Vanguard to last more than five years, unlike the premium competition, which can give you six years of usage.
- Good drivability and stability on the highway
- Surprisingly good lateral grip and overall traction
- Strong and durable, particularly for the price
- Excellent warranty
- Overall performance falls short of its more expensive competitors
- Won't last as long as premium tires
7. Taskmaster Contender TTT868
The Taskmaster Contender TTT868 is a very cheap radial tire for trailers, intended for owners with a limited budget. As you might expect for the price, this tire isn't built like its premium rivals and won't last as long.
Although the brand says it is designed for durability, the reality is that this tire won't be as resistant to warping or overheating as its premium rivals. Moreover, it wears more quickly and will probably dry rot faster (though I can't confirm that).
Still, you have to remember that this is a very cheap tire, so you shouldn't expect it to perform on the level of an expensive premium tire. For the price, I was actually pleased with how well it handled day-to-day tasks, as it felt very safe on the road.
For instance, the highway stability is pretty good for the price, and I had zero issues with fishtailing when driving at normal speeds. Also, the tread blocks seemed stiff in the corners, and the tires didn't warp much, resulting in surefooted handling.
Furthermore, the traction was pretty good on dry roads, resulting in solid braking and high lateral grip. The Taskmaster Contender TTT868 wasn't as capable in the rain and had some traction issues, but only when I drove faster than really necessary.
Now, sure, a premium trailer tire will enable you to drive faster and still feel safe. However, for drivers that aren't in a hurry (you should never be when driving a trailer), the Taskmaster Contender TTT868 performs more than well enough for the price.
- Solid highway stability and straight-line tracking for the price
- Good traction on dry roads
- Resists overheating very well
- It's not as long-lasting or strong as its premium rivals
- Treadlife is only average
- Worse rain traction than its more expensive rivals
Best Bias-Ply Trailer Tires
8. Kenda Loadstar K550 Bias-Ply Tire
The Loadstar K550 is Kenda's bias-ply trailer tire, meaning it's designed specifically for heavy-duty tasks. Thanks to its internal design, this tire will give you the best puncture resistance in the category. As a result, you can use it on gravel and dirt and even intermediate surfaces with very sharp rocks. This makes the Laodstar K550 an excellent option for agricultural use, as well as any off-road trailering.
The Loadstar K550 features a modern tread pattern, which successfully hides its bias-ply origins. As a result, it provides solid traction on the road, both in dry and wet conditions. However, this tire is at its best on hardpacked surfaces, like dirt and gravel, where it works better than any other trailer tire.
Still, due to the bias construction, the Loadstar K550 isn't at its best on the highway. It still works better than other bias-ply tires, but it doesn't feel as stable as a radial tire.
Fishtailing won't be an issue if you don't drive too fast, but it could happen, so slow down if you have bias tires on your trailer. Fortunately, the Loadstar K550 resists overheating pretty well for the category.
As for treadlife, it will, of course, be lower than any comparable radial tire but better than most bias tires. On the flip side, the bias construction makes the Loadstar K550 very resistant to warping when left stationary, which gives peace of mind.
- Exceptionally stiff construction
- Great for towing on dirt and gravel
- Excellent for agricultural use
- Pretty good on the highway (for a bias tire)
- Not at its best on paved roads
- Treadlife isn't as long as on a radial tire
9. Power King Boat Trailer II
Power King's bias tire is specifically designed for boat trailers. Unlike the Kenda Loadstar K550, it has a round profile, which makes it even stiffer and more durable. Still, due to this design, the Power King Boat Trailer II lacks the stability of its Kenda rival, meaning that you should be driving more slowly in the corners.
Overheating shouldn't be an issue, but only if you adhere to the speed limits – the Power King Boat Trailer II doesn't want to be rushed.
For a tire with a rounded design, though, the Power King Boat Trailer II has solid traction in dry and wet conditions. It also works fairly well on dirt and gravel, especially regarding durability – the casing seems very sturdy and resistant to punctures.
As for treadlife, don't expect the Power King Boat Trailer II to last as long as the Kenda Loadstar K550. However, that shouldn't be an issue since you will probably use this tire once or twice a year. More importantly, due to the bias construction, the Power King Boat Trailer II can be left stationary for longer without any warping occurring.
- Very stiff construction that withstands high loads
- Excellent puncture resistance
- Great for towing large boats
- Only average traction on paved roads
- Average stability on the highway
10. Carlisle USA Trail
The Carlisle USA Trail is another bias tire designed specifically for boat and utility trailers. However, unlike Power King's model, it has a flatter construction that looks similar to a radial tire.
As a result, it provides higher traction on paved roads, both in dry and wet conditions. Its weight-carrying capacity didn't suffer – the Carlisle USA Trail is still capable of carrying heavy boats without too much hassle.
Of course, you won't be getting the same traction as on a radial tire. Still, the bias construction makes the Carlisle USA Trail much more resistant to punctures, giving you peace of mind when driving on dirt and gravel.
Carlisle even employed weather-resistant chemicals in the rubber compound, so I expect the Carlisle USA Trail to resist dry rotting better than its rival. Not to mention, warping is less of an issue on bias than on radial tires.
Finally, Carlisle promises low-rolling resistance, so you should see your MPG numbers go slightly up after installing these tires.
- Good highway drivability for a bias tire
- Capable of carrying very high loads
- Doesn't warp when left stationary for longer periods
- Excellent puncture resistance
- It doesn't perform as well as a radial tire on the highway
- Traction on wet roads is only average
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How do I choose the right trailer tires?
Choosing the right trailer tires isn't as straightforward as choosing regular passenger tires because there are more things to consider.
First, you need to consider the load capacity of your trailer. Each tire has a maximum load it can carry safely, and the total of your tires' capacities should exceed your trailer's Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). Overloading can cause your tires to fail, even if they're new, resulting in a blowout. This failure could destabilize your trailer and vehicle, which can be very dangerous if it happens at higher speeds.
Then, you should also be looking at the tire size and making sure the new ones fit on your trailer and wheel. On top of that, the speed rating also plays a big role here, especially since trailer tires come in two different designs – radial and bias-ply.
Radial tires are more popular because they come in higher speed ratings, offer better highway stability and a much smoother ride. Besides, radial tires offer longer treadlife, making them a better option for trailer owners that move frequently and cover a lot of miles.
However, bias-ply tires have their advantages, too. For instance, they are cheaper than radial tires and more resistant to damage from uneven terrain, making them great for going off-road.
Moreover, bias-ply tires usually resist warping better than radial tires, which happens when you leave your trailer stationary for longer. So, if you don't tow your trailer often, you might want to think about having bias-ply tires.
With that said, for most trailer tires, a speed rating of L (75 mph or about 120 km/h) or higher will be sufficient.
2. What should I look for in a quality trailer tire?
Manufacturers of high-quality trailer tires put a lot of emphasis on safety, performance, and durability. Thus, a quality trailer tire should have a robust construction that will withstand the weight of the trailer and the driving forces (acceleration, braking, and turning). Moreover, a quality tire won't warp as fast when left stationary for longer.
Then, the tread pattern should be designed for stability, and the tire should have a good heat dissipation feature, as excessive heat can cause a blowout. A quality tire will provide a solid grip in a variety of weather conditions, particularly in dry and wet conditions.
Additionally, look for tires with a high load index. This index tells you how much weight the tire can support when properly inflated. Remember, trailer tires must carry heavy loads, and getting a tire with a high load index is crucial.
Lastly – and this is very important – you should only buy fresh trailer tires. Any tire that was manufactured 4-5 years before you buy it is not worth it. Namely, the rubber compound ages over time, which greatly reduces their traction and weight-carrying capability.
3. Can I use car or truck tires on my trailer?
While Light Truck (LT) tires come in similar sizes to Special Trailer (ST) tires, using them on your trailer is not recommended.
Special Trailer tires are designed with stiffer sidewalls, which allow them to handle heavier loads and control fishtailing (trailer sway) better. As a result, ST tires provide a much more stable and safer ride. But another advantage of ST tires is that they are also more resistant to warping when left stationary for long periods, which is a common occurrence on trailers.
So, putting LT-metric (or, even worse, P-metric) tires on your trailer could result in much worse stability at higher speeds due to fishtailing. Also, the tires won't last nearly as long, particularly when they are not driven for longer.
4. How often should I replace my trailer tires?
Trailer tires should generally be replaced every three to five years, regardless of the tire's visual condition or tread depth. That is shorter than regular passenger vehicle tires, but there is a reason for that.
Namely, trailer tires are more often subjected to higher loads when stationary, which weakens the tire's structure. Moreover, tires can degrade from the inside out, especially when exposed to extreme temperatures and the sun's UV rays, which can't always be seen from just a visual inspection.
To determine a tire's age, you can check the Tire Identification Number (TIN) on the tire's sidewall. The last four digits represent the week and year the tire was made.
5. What tire pressure should I use for my trailer tires?
The correct tire pressure should be stated on a placard somewhere on your trailer, but you can also find it in the owner's manual. The sticker informs you of the cold tire pressure, so make sure you only check the pressure when the tires aren't driven for longer than 30 minutes. Tire pressure should be checked regularly, especially before long trips.
Underinflated tires can cause poor handling, reduced fuel efficiency, and increased tire wear, while overinflated tires can make the trailer bounce and the tires more prone to damage from potholes and debris. Always use a high-quality tire pressure gauge for accurate readings, or use the one at the nearest gas station.
6. What are load ratings, and why are they important for trailer tires?
Load ratings, also known as load indexes, are numerical codes that correspond to the maximum load a tire can carry at the speed indicated by its speed symbol when properly inflated. They are critical for trailer tires because they determine how much weight the trailer can safely carry.
If your trailer tires are under-rated for the load they're carrying, it could lead to bulges or tread separation. These issues can then lead to catastrophic blowouts, which can be dangerous if they happen at very high speeds.
Thus, you should always adhere to the manufacturer's recommended minimum load rating for your particular trailer. The minimum load rating is equal to or higher than the gross trailer weight (the maximum legal weight of the vehicle), so also make sure you don't overload your trailer.
7. Can trailer tires be repaired, or do they always need to be replaced?
Just like on passenger vehicle tires, you can repair a puncture on trailer tires. However, the puncture must be in the center of the tread area and not larger than ¼ inches (6 mm). You can use plugs to repair the puncture, but patches are a much safer solution.
Optionally, you can bring the tires to the nearest service shop, where they will be repaired with safety and quality in mind.
However, other issues with the tire, like warping, can't be repaired. For instance, if a tire has been driven on while flat or very low on air, it may have sustained internal damage that isn't visible but makes it unsafe to repair. And you should also not continue using a damaged tire, as it could lead to cracks, bulges, and tread separation, all of which can cause a blowout.
8. How can I maintain my trailer tires to ensure their longevity?
You can greatly reduce the chances of anything bad happening to your trailer tires by following some simple maintenance advice. First of all, I strongly recommend keeping a tire inflator in your trailer. It won't take up almost any space, yet it will let you reinflate the tires whenever you want, even when in the middle of nowhere.
By keeping your tires properly inflated, you ensure they last longer (no warping or accelerated wear) but also that they are safer to drive on the road.
Then, it's highly recommended to check your tires regularly for signs of damage, like cracks and bulges. This would take only five minutes, and you only need to do it once every month. The trailer is your house when you are on the road, so make sure that you regularly check the status of its most important part – the tires.
Also, when you park your trailer and plan to keep it stationary for a longer period, put covers over the tires to protect them from the sun's UV rays. The sun can accelerate dry rot, causing your tires to fail even after 2-3 years of use. If possible, put your trailer on jacks; by doing that, you will ensure that the weight of the trailer doesn't sit on the tires and no warping will occur.
Finally, make sure that you bring your tires to the service shop for rotation and balancing at least once each year. That will ensure proper alignment between all tires, along with even wear, which eventually prolongs their lifespan.
9. What is the difference between ST and LT trailer tires?
ST (Special Trailer) and LT (Light Truck) tires are designed for different purposes. ST tires are specifically designed for trailer axles and can handle higher inflation pressures for greater load capacities. They have stiffer sidewalls to help control sway and are typically used on medium to heavy-duty trailers.
LT tires, on the other hand, are designed for towing vehicles like pick-up trucks and vans. They offer more flexibility and are designed to provide a smooth, comfortable ride. Also, they provide higher acceleration and braking traction, which aren't necessarily needed in trailer tires.
10. What is the meaning of speed ratings on trailer tires?
Speed ratings on trailer tires indicate the maximum speed the tire can safely maintain over time. Tires with lower speed ratings could go higher in short bursts, but driving at higher speeds for prolonged periods could lead to catastrophic failures like tread separation and blowouts. That is because the speed rating is really more about how well the tire can dissipate heat at higher speeds than how fast it can go.
For those reasons, always refer to the manufacturer's specifications for the correct speed rating for your tires and trailer.
As an example, a speed rating of "L" indicates that the tire can safely maintain speeds up to 75 mph (120 km/h), while a "K" speed rating indicates a speed of 68 mph (110 km/h).
11. How does temperature affect trailer tire performance?
Temperature plays a significant role in how your trailer tires perform. The main reason for that is that as temperature increases, the pressure inside the tire also rises, which can lead to overinflation if not carefully monitored. This happens because the heat excites the particles, which then causes the air to expand.
As you drive on the road, due to heat produced from the friction between the tire and the road, the pressure inside the tire increases. If the temperature is too high, the tire could become overinflated, leading to lower traction, uneven wear, and a higher probability of damage from potholes or curbs. Also, if the pressure is sufficiently high, it can cause a catastrophic blowout, i.e., the tire could burst.
Conversely, in colder temperatures, the air inside the tire contracts, potentially leading to underinflation. Underinflated tires can overheat, wear prematurely, and reduce fuel efficiency. Also, they tend to increase the chances of fishtailing happening, which is a significant safety issue.
Therefore, it's vital to regularly check tire pressure and adjust it according to the manufacturer's recommendations, considering temperature variations.
12. What is the difference between 2-ply, 4-ply, and 6-ply tires?
The terms 2-ply, 4-ply, and 6-ply refer to the number of layers, or "plies," of rubber and fabric used in the tire's construction. The greater the number of plies, the sturdier the tire.
For instance, 2-ply tires have two layers, making them lighter but less robust.
Meanwhile, 6-ply tires have six layers, which makes them more robust. As a result, higher-ply tires can carry higher loads and have better resistance against punctures, but they are also heavier, leading to worse performance and higher fuel consumption.
Today, you can also find 8-ply, 10-ply, and even 12-ply tires for some really large and heavy-duty trailers.
13. How can I prevent trailer tire blowouts?
Absolutely, you can greatly affect how your tires perform on the road and prevent blowouts by following some simple guidelines.
For starters, you should always keep your tires inflated at the recommended pressure. Only check the pressure when the tires are cold (not driven for over 30 minutes), and make sure it adheres to the manufacturer's recommended pressure.
Then, it's a good practice to visually check the tires before hitting the road. Trailer tires can be damaged even when stationary due to the weight of the trailer, so look for cracks, punctures, and bulges.
Also, you should never overload your trailer with more than what the manufacturer recommends. Doing this will significantly shorten the lifespan of the tires but can also cause excessive stress, which could lead to a blowout. It's the same story with velocity – avoid driving at excessive speeds, especially in hot weather, as this can cause the tire to heat up and blow out.
Finally, trailer tires should be replaced every three to five years, even if the tread looks fine. The rubber can degrade over time, making the tire more prone to blowouts.
14. Should I buy all the same brands of tires for my trailer?
It is usually recommended to buy all the same brands and types of tires for your trailer. This ensures that all the tires have the same performance characteristics, including traction, handling, and load capacity.
Having different types of tires on your trailer can result in unpredictable handling and could potentially be unsafe. For instance, if one tire has higher traction than the other, your trailer will be less stable, especially in challenging conditions like rain or snow.
15. Is it better to overinflate or underinflate trailer tires?
Neither – you should always inflate your trailer tires to the manufacturer's recommended pressure. Only tires that are inflated to the recommended pressure will provide optimal performance, i.e., a perfect balance between traction, stability, fuel efficiency, and longevity.
Overinflating the tires might seem logical if you carry higher loads, but it's actually not. Sure, the tires will keep their shape better when the trailer is loaded to the teeth, but they will also be more prone to punctures and cuts and will have less traction. Moreover, excessive heat from driving on the highway during the summer can further increase the pressure inside the tire, potentially causing a blowout.
Meanwhile, underinflated tires will warp more during acceleration, cornering, and braking, which can cause excessive instability. In addition, underinflated tires overheat more easily, wear more quickly and unevenly, and will reduce the fuel efficiency of your truck/SUV.
16. How should I store my trailer tires to prevent dry rot?
You can greatly reduce the chances of dry rot happening before your trailer tires reach the end of their lifecycle by following these simple guidelines:
Keep them away from the sun: UV rays from the sun can cause tires to degrade and dry out, leading to dry rot. Store your trailer in a shaded area, or use tire covers to block out UV light. You can find great wheel covers on Amazon, which are easy to install, compact, and very cheap.
Clean your tires before storage: debris from the road can also cause the rubber compound to degrade, so make sure you splash them with some water whenever you leave your trailer stationary for longer periods.
Store your tires in a dry environment: whenever possible, keep your trailer tires in a cool and dry place, which can significantly reduce dry rotting.
Reduce the load on the tires when stationary: whenever possible, put your trailer on jack stands. You can find numerous models of special jack stands made for trailers, which will keep your tires from warping when stationary, thus significantly increasing their lifespan.
Regular rotation is key: just like in passenger vehicle tires, rotate your trailer tires regularly to ensure they wear evenly and last longer. Also, when you leave your trailer stationary for more than a few weeks, rotate (turn) the tires so that no flat spots appear.
17. Should I replace all trailer tires at the same time?
You can replace only two tires on your trailer, but I still won't recommend that. Trailer tires wear at the same rate, meaning you will drive with two tires that have higher traction, which can destabilize your trailer. Having all tires in a similar condition helps ensure uniform performance and safety.
However, if one of your tires was damaged due to a puncture and can't be repaired, you can only replace that tire. Just make sure that it's of the same type, size, and load-carrying capacity to ensure balanced handling.
18. Are Tire Blowouts More Prevalent in Trailers?
Yes, tire blowouts are more prevalent in trailers than in cars, trucks, and SUVs.
There are numerous reasons for this, but the biggest one is fitting the trailer with the incorrect tires. Perhaps unknowingly, many trailer owners think that there is no significant difference between the LT and ST designation on tires and fit their trailers with LT tires of the same dimension.
These tires are not designed to handle the unique demands of a trailer and can fail under pressure. Thus, I highly recommend putting ST (Standard Trailer) tires on your trailer, even though LT tires with the same dimensions will fit.
Other factors also are causing more blowouts in trailers. For instance, many trailers are not used regularly. They are often parked in one place for extended periods, which can lead to tire degradation. When the trailer is finally moved, the tires may be in a weakened state and more susceptible to blowouts.
Furthermore, overloading can also cause blowouts, and owners tend to overload trailers more often than they overload their vehicles. This happens because trailer owners want to put as much stuff as they can inside the trailer, like a new kitchen with more electrical appliances, a WC, and more. Not to mention, owners often overlook the highest towing capacity of trailers when they put boats on.
Age also plays a big factor. Trailer tires tend to age more from time than from use. Even if a trailer tire has plenty of tread left, it may be susceptible to a blowout if it's old. Many manufacturers recommend replacing trailer tires every three to five years, regardless of how they look.
Other reasons for blowouts are inadequate maintenance and high-speed traveling. Notably, trailer owners often neglect the tires and don't keep them properly inflated while stationary but also before hitting the road. Meanwhile, frequent highway usage overheats the tires, leading to a higher risk of a blowout.
Given these factors, it's crucial to maintain your trailer tires properly, respect load and speed ratings, and replace them at recommended intervals or at the first sign of damage or deterioration. Regular inspections are key to catching potential issues before they lead to a blowout.
Buying a trailer tire involves many variables, as you need to choose between different brands, but also the internal construction (radial or bias). With that in mind, I hope that my reviews helped you find a model that suits your needs best and fits your budget.
If you found a suitable model, it would help us if you purchased through our website. You will still get the same price, but we will get a small commission that will help us write more articles like these and contribute to road safety by helping other drivers find quality tires.
I’m Ivo Gievski, the content writer for Tireer. We built our website with over 15 years of experience and extensive research in the automotive and technology sectors. My dedication to delivering high-quality content is unwavering, and I strive to continuously hone my skills to stay ahead of industry trends and provide readers with informative, engaging, and valuable insights.