by Joshua Thomas
Trailer tires must be strong enough to handle heavy loads and this means having strong sidewalls. On top of this, they should have tough treads so as to withstand the heavy wear and tear that is expected when hauling heavy loads.
With such requirements, it can be very disastrous if you don't pick the right tires because if they burst when towing, the trailer may tip over. To help you get good quality pieces, here are the best trailer tires to consider.
As you shop for trailer tires, you will notice certain numbers and letters that look like branding marked on the sidewall. These are actually very important as they contain valuable information about:
For instance, if you see a tire marked ST175/80D13 C, here's how to break it down.
ST stands for Special Trailer, which means the tire is ideal for utility or boat trailers. P would mean Passenger for passenger vehicles and C for commercial vehicles.
175 means the width of the tire is 175mm at the widest point when fully inflated.
80 indicates the aspect ratio, which is a ratio of the tire height to width. This means the tire's height is 80% of 175mm, giving you 140mm.
D means Diagonal, which implies the tire has a bias-ply construction where the nylon belts inside run diagonally at 30-45˚ angles from the tread centerline. The other common marking is R, which means Radial. These are clearly explained in the article later on.
The tire's diameter is indicated by 13, meaning that the unit has a 13-inch internal diameter (where the rim sits on the tire).
The last section indicates the load range, which is C in this case. This means a 6-ply rating, which can withstand a max pressure of 50 PSI. The different load ranges are covered later on in the article.
1. Carlisle Radial Trail HD (Best Overall)
2. Freestar M-108+ Radial
3. Carlisle Sport Trail LH Bias
4. Maxxis M8008 ST Radial
5. Wheels Express Inc Silver Mod Radial
6. Grand Ride Premium
7. Power King Low Boy Bias
Carlisle trailer tires also have a radial construction, which makes them ideal for short or long-distance use in cargo, utility, stock, horse or boating trailers.
With this, you get 4 different varieties to choose from, and these include ST 205/75R14 105M, ST205/75R15 107M, ST225/75R15 117M, and ST205/75R15 101M. These have slight differences in the width, diameter and load capacity so as to cater for different trailer needs.
However, all of them have a unique tread pattern that is designed to wear evenly over time, which means they will last longer.
Additionally, the units are designed to withstand heat during extreme operating conditions such as when driving at high speeds, and this further extends the durability factor of the tires.
However, none of the 4 options comes with a rim and all are available as single pieces. On the bright side, the tires are widely compatible with popular boat trailer brands such as Continental, Sea Ray, Sun Tracker, Yamaha and Regency among many others.
They are also compatible with popular cargo and utility trailer brands such as Carry-On, PJ, Quality Trailers, Road Force, Mischa, Top Hat, etc.
With a tubeless design, Freestar's M-108+ trailer tires are fairly easy to maintain because they don't depressurize easily, and are available in two varieties, which include the ST225/75R15D and ST205/75R15C.
The former features an 8-ply composition that can withstand a maximum pressure of 65 PSI and a maximum weight of 2540 pounds, which is quite a lot.
On matters size, this unit has an overall diameter of 28.3 inches and a section width of 8.7 inches. These figures are important to consider for perfect fitting on your trailer's wheel well.
The latter is designed for lighter load trailers because it has a 6-ply composition that can withstand a max pressure of 50 PSI and a maximum weight of 1820 pounds. This one has a section width of 7.9 inches and an overall diameter of 27.1 inches.
Both options have a black sidewall design and an L speed rating, which means they can comfortably handle speeds of up to 75 mph.
However, you only get 1 tire per set and it doesn't come with a rim attached. On the bright side, the tires have a radial construction that makes them very strong and durable.
Carlisle's LH trailer tire is characterized by a modern and innovative Intelli-tread design that gives reduced rolling resistance, resulting in better fuel economy.
Though the unit has a bias-ply construction, which is in most ways considered inferior to the radial type, it has very rigid and durable sidewalls that are highly resistant to punctures.
This makes the tire suitable for marine, sport, agriculture or construction trailers, or in any other application where sidewall puncture resistance and rugged performance is required.
That said, this product is widely compatible with popular boat trailer brands such as Karavan, River Pro, Tracker, Triton, Triumph, Yamaha, Alumacraft, etc.
Additionally, it is also compatible with various cargo and utility trailer brands such as PJ, Remeq, Teske, Top Hat, Wells Cargo, FastTrac, Miska, etc.
With this compatibility, you get several tire varieties to choose from and each one of them has a C load range, which means a 6-ply construction that can handle a maximum of 50 PSI in pressure with a max weight capacity of about 1750 - 1850 pounds.
Other features include an improved contour design for extended tire durability, even tread wear, lower noise, and lower heat build up on the road.
This trailer tire is a high-speed unit that has an R speed rating, which makes it ideal for fast-moving trailers, with a top limit of 106 mph.
A couple of factors contribute to this high-performance capability and these include a strong and durable radial construction, which provides a smooth ride with extended tread life.
The radial construction actually comprises of a double steel-belted design and it is topped off by an advanced tread compound that decreases rolling resistance for better tread durability and improved fuel economy.
Another factor that contributes towards the tire's high-performance capability is its E load range rating, which effectively means it has a strong 10-ply construction that can withstand up to 80 PSI of air pressure and can comfortably take on a load of up to 2830 pounds.
Other features include excellent shock absorption, a black sidewall, an overall diameter of 28.3 inches, 15-inch rim diameter and 8.9 inches in section width. However, no rim is included with the tire.
One major advantage you get with Wheels Express Inc's ST205/75R15 is that it comes pre-mounted onto a modular silver steel rim, which means you won't have to look for an additional wheel for your vehicle.
Both the rim and tire have a 15-inch size, with the rim having a 5 x 4.5 bolt pattern. This means 5 bolt holes are arranged in a 4.5-inch pitch circle diameter and for you to use this rim, your trailer's wheel studs must be arranged in this configuration.
The tire itself is a load range C, which implies a 6-ply construction that can handle a max pressure of 50 PSI and a weight load not exceeding 1820 pounds.
Other features include a 0.24-inch tread depth, sturdy radial construction and a tread-wear indicator that shows you when its time to get a new replacement.
There is another option from the same brand that you can consider, which is the ST205/75D15. Though this one has a bias construction, it is cheaper and still comes with a 15-inch rim pre-mounted. However, this rim has a different bolt pattern configuration, which is 5 x 5.
Most of the other features are pretty similar such as a load range C, 1820-pound max weight rating, black sidewall, tubeless design, and an M speed index.
This is a good option to consider if you are on a tight budget and you need a pre-mounted trailer tire. On the downside, you only get one piece per set for either option.
Of course, a trailer needs more than one tire to run and more often than not, replacements are done for all wheels at the same time.
Grand Ride offers their premium trailer tires as a 4-piece set, which means you get to replace the whole trailer's tires and possibly have a few remaining for the next replacement.
Each of the tires has a heavy-duty 10-ply rating (load range E), which means they have an 80-PSI max temperature rating and can comfortably carry up to 2840 pounds in weight.
A nylon cap ply is overlaid across the entire tread area and this is a critical safety feature that is actually an upgrade from the regular nylon strips used in most trailer tires.
Additionally, the tires have a scuff guard ring on the tire wall that makes the sidewalls stronger and better for rugged performance.
Other features include an overall diameter of 28.11 inches, a tread depth of 0.32 inches, strong radial construction and a 15-inch rim-size diameter.
However, the pieces do not come with mounted rims and have a relatively low L speed rating, which means you cannot exceed 75mph when towing your trailer.
Though it has a bias construction, this Low Boy trailer tire from Power King has an F load range, which means a sturdy 12-ply construction that can handle maximum pressure of 95 PSI and a maximum weight rating of 2300 pounds.
In addition to this sturdy structure, the product has a tough, dependable nylon cord, making it suitable for low bed trailers and trailer homes.
Other features include a 14.5-inch rim diameter, 25.3 inches in the overall diameter, black sidewall, a tubeless design and straight tracking treads that enable the tire to roll easily for smooth and quiet movement.
However, you only get a single tire per set, which means you need to buy multiple pieces separately for making replacements on the whole trailer.
There are two main types of tires. These are:
Radial tires are built with steel belts running perpendicular to the tread centerline. They are characterized by impressive tread strength, in which they can remain useable for up to 40,000 miles.
These tires are also less prone to developing flat spots when you park your trailer at a single place for weeks or months. Other benefits include running at cooler temperatures and having a wider footprint for better grip.
However, such tires are quite expensive but most people consider them to be the best type.
On the other hand, bias tires are made using nylon belts running at 30˚ - 45˚ angles to the tread centerline and this diagonal design gives them very strong sidewalls.
Such tires are more affordable as compared to radial tires, which means if you are on a tight budget, this is the best type to consider.
The load range basically indicates the strength of the horizontal and sidewall parts of the tire. This is usually indicated on the tire's sidewall as a letter from B to E, with B handling the least weight and E handling the most weight. In the actual letters, this range means the following:
With that in mind, LR E is the toughest tire and though expensive, it is highly recommended. However, if you don't plan to haul very heavy loads, you can go for the other lower load ranges.
Another important thing to check is the size of the tire and for this, you check the unit's diameter. This value should match with the rim's size so that it fits. For instance, if the rim is 16 inches in diameter, then you need to buy a 16-inch diameter tire.
Still on size, two other things to check are the tire's width and overall diameter because it should fit on the horizontal and vertical space available on the trailer's wheel well.
On weight, you need to check the total amount of weight that the tire can support, which is usually indicated in pounds. You can also check the load index, which is usually indicated between the diameter and speed rating. This index implies the following:
Even if the LR (Load Range) letter is indicated on the sidewall, you should check the pressure rating, which is usually also indicated on the sidewall in PSI. Ensure you do not exceed this level or you will affect the integrity of the tire.
A tire's speed rating is a very important factor that should not be ignored because it defines its maximum speed capability. This is usually indicated as a letter next to the tire's load index and these letters mean the following:
|Speed Rating||Maximum Speed (mph)||Maximum Speed (kph)|
Trailer tires usually range from L to R. The higher ratings are common in sports sedans, vans, family sedans, and other small personal vehicles. That said, high-speed trailer tires are best because you may find yourself speeding at times.
Sidewall strength contributes greatly towards the overall sturdiness of the tire and you should check for certain features such as scuff guard rings or additional nylon layers that make the sides more resistant to punctures.
In considering a tire's traction and smooth operation, what you need to check is the tread design. Generally, the best travel trailer tire should have an optimized tread design that minimizes heat build-up or other features such as:
Another great feature to have is a tread wear indicator, which shows when the tire is worn out and needs a replacement.
This is a no brainer. Most people consider investing in a new brand as highly risky because the quality factor is unknown.
The list above covers products from the best brands in the market and from this, pick tires from the brand that you identify with most.
Tire maintenance is crucial for durability purposes, as well as for haul safety. Proper maintenance requires you to do the following:
Underinflated tires wear out much faster, lead to poor fuel economy, poor braking and handling. On the other hand, overinflated tires might be too bouncy, making the trailer unstable, and may burst if the pressure is too much.
Therefore, it is important to maintain just the right amount pressure and to do this, you need a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, which will keep tabs on all wheels and inform you in real-time if any of them does not have the correct pressure.
With or without a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, you should always check and inflate the tires regularly, preferably before heading out for any trip.
Read More: 9 Best Tire Inflators
Before heading out, especially for a long journey, always check the tire's tread. It is recommended to change the tires as soon as the tread depth hits approximately 4/32 of an inch.
As for the sidewall, check for any cracks or bubbles, which are common if you hit potholes a lot or drive on rough roads.
If you spot any of the damages or wear and tear explained above, it is time to get a new tire. Remember to check the sizing, type, weight capacity, etc. during the selection process. Alternatively, you can simply check the sizing on the old tire's sidewalls, then buy an exact one.
Lastly, part of the maintenance process requires you to check for any visible problems such as cracks, bulging or leaks regularly, and more so before embarking on a long journey. If you spot any big issue, fix it immediately before getting on the road.
To summarize, the tires you install in your trailer directly affect the safety and smoothness of the ride.
Since there is a wide range of tires to choose from and most of them have different features, you need to know exactly what you require in terms of size (diameter, width), weight capacity and speed rating, then look at the durability and performance features that are ideal for your trailer.
That said, after reading through the review above, you should be in a better position to pick the best trailer tire that suits your needs.
About Joshua Thomas
Joshua Thomas just simply loves cars and willing to work on them whenever there's chance... sometimes for free.
He started CarCareTotal back in 2017 from the advices of total strangers who witnessed his amazing skills in car repairs here and there.
His goal with this creation is to help car owners better learn how to maintain and repair their cars; as such, the site would cover alot of areas: troubleshooting, product recommendations, tips & tricks.
Joshua received Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University.