Not all tires are equal! This doesn’t only refer to the manufacturer. Some off-brands don’t have the same structural integrity as tires from companies like Michelin or Goodyear.
They won’t last as long even though they’re less expensive. However, what we’re talking about today is trailer tires and vehicle tires. There’s a significant difference in capabilities between these tire types, so let’s dive in!
Can a Trailer Use Vehicle Tires?
It’s best only to use trailer tires on trailers. Vehicle tires aren’t the same because they have different functions. The load difference between the weight of the trailer and the weight rating of vehicle usually doesn’t match. Therefore, if you use vehicle tires on a trailer, it can lead to disastrous consequences.
What Is the Difference Between Trailer Tires and Vehicle Tires?
People use standard vehicle tires daily. Because of this, they have a longer tread life. They also help vehicles perform at their maximum. Vehicle tires are responsible for the car’s traction and handling. Their tread patterns can withstand the pressure of acceleration, braking, and turning. Vehicle tires also have a higher speed rating than trailer tires. This is so the vehicle can travel at high speeds on interstates across the country.
On the other hand, manufacturers don’t design trailer tires to help the tow vehicle’s handling. Instead, they come with stiffer sidewalls because their purpose is to carry heavy loads. They maintain their shape even under thousands of pounds. Stability and load capacity determines how a manufacturer builds a trailer tire and not acceleration, braking, and turning pressures. Trailer tires tend to max out at 65mph. This means you shouldn’t tow your trailer above this speed, no matter the interstate speed limit.
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What Kind of Tires Does a Trailer Need?
Trailers require trailer tires to travel down the road safely. You also need to know the load rating and ensure it matches the GVWR of the travel trailer or the weight of the utility trailer. You can’t have a D-rated trailer tire on a 14,000-pound fifth wheel.
However, if you have a single-axle trailer weighing less than 5,000 pounds, D-rated trailer tires would be appropriate.
What Size Tire Goes on a Trailer?
Now that you know putting trailer tires on your trailer is crucial, you must decide what size tire goes on your particular trailer. You won’t use the exact size tire on a utility trailer as you would on a travel trailer.
For example, a standard trailer tire size is ST225/75R15. These numbers give you several pieces of information about the size and design. ST stands for a special trailer, 225 is the width of the tread in millimeters, 75 is the height of the sidewall represented as a percentage of the tread width, and 15 is the size of the rim for mounting.
A two-horse trailer will typically use ST205/75R15 trailer tires. These numbers are similar to the tire mentioned above except for the 205, which is a smaller width of the tread in millimeters. But if you’re towing a car on a tow dolly behind your motorhome, you won’t have large tires. Instead, you’ll probably have something similar to an ST205/75R14. These have a smaller rim size of 14; thus, you’ll require a smaller tire.
How Do I Know My Trailer Wheel Size?
To know the correct size trailer tire to purchase, you need to know the trailer wheel size. Don’t measure from edge to edge of the wheel. Instead, measure from the inside of the inner wheel flange to the inside of the outer wheel flange. This will give you the diameter of the trailer wheel.
You also need to measure the bolt pattern. If you have an even number of bolts, measure from the center of two bolt holes directly across from each other. If the wheel is a 5-lug wheel, measure from the center of one hole to the back edge of the bolt hole straight across from it.
Where Are the Best Places to Get a Trailer Tire?
When it’s time to buy new trailer tires, you want the best you can afford. Skimping on quality can lead to a tire blowout or buying another set of tires in a couple of years. It’s essential to get the best quality you can. Here are a few places that offer several brands and sizes.
You can browse all the trailer tires available at Walmart online and call your nearest location to see if they have the size you need. You’ll find some trailer tires for less than $40 and others for over $200. Walmart carries Carlisle, Goodyear, and dozens of other brands. One perk of shopping at Walmart is the availability. Because there are so many stores all over the country, you can probably find the right tire at a location near you when you need it.
Pro Tip: Get the inside scoop on Are Walmart Tires Good?
Like Walmart, you can browse all the trailer tires available at Tractor Supply online. There are fewer options than at Walmart, but there are still quality brands and dozens of sizes available. You’ll find options for less than $30 and then RubberMaster all-steel trailer tires for over $500.
It’s straightforward to find what you need at Discount Tire. You can search by vehicle, size, or by brand. For example, if you know you need a width of 175, a ratio of 80, and a diameter of 13, you can put those numbers in and find ten or so tires that will fit your trailer. Then you can decide which tire you want to purchase by price or brand. The search feature is convenient on the Discount Tire website.
How Much Does a New Trailer Tire Cost?
Prices will vary as much as a new trailer. Brands range widely from one to the other. For example, an ST195/70R15 Continental Tires tire may cost around $150, while the same size tire by Nokian Tire may cost about $180.
Someone looking to purchase tires for their utility trailer won’t pay as much as someone shopping for a fifth wheel. The load rating you need to transport a fifth wheel safely will require a sturdier and more expensive tire. A set of four Sailun ST235/80R16 trailer tires can cost almost $700, while a set of four Transeagle ST215/75R14 trailer tires can only be less than $400.
How Long Should a Trailer Tire Last?
In general, you should replace trailer tires every five years. This varies according to use and maintenance. If your rig has sat for three years and you want to take it out for a camping trip next weekend, you should probably replace the tires before hitting the road. The tires have deteriorated over time.
On the other hand, if you pull a flatbed with landscape equipment daily for work, you may need to replace your tires more often because of your high use. Still, if you notice cracking, a reduction in the tread, or air loss, it’s time to replace the tires, no matter their age.
What other questions do you have? Leave them in the comments!
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