How To Choose The Right Trailer Tire For Your Business Or Recreational Needs
March 17, 2023
There’s a bewildering amount of trailer tires out there, all with their own unique strengths and sets of features. So how do you know what’s right for your ride?
While there is no universal, undisputed “best” trailer tire for all drivers, there is a best-for-you, and your local TIRECRAFT can help you find it.
Read on to learn some quick tips for trailer tire selection, or contact your local TIRECRAFT to speak directly with a trailer tire specialist near you.
How To Choose The Right Trailer Tire For Work Or Play: TIRECRAFT Tips
1. Determine What Type Of Trailer Tire You Need
There are two basic types of trailer tire—light truck (LT) tires and special trailer (ST) tires—and the first step in your decision-making process will be to determine which is right for you.
Special trailer (ST) tires are designed purely for towing stability and durability, with no real consideration for passenger comfort. Tim Fry, a senior development engineer with Goodyear Tires, says “the major difference is reflected in the polyester cords used in ST tires. These cords are bigger than they would be for a comparable passenger (P) or LT tire. Typically, the steel wire also has a larger diameter or greater tensile strength to meet the additional load requirements.”
With their stronger design, special trailer tires are typically used in heavy towing applications, such as:
- Towing large trailers
- Towing boats
- Towing motor homes
- Towing heavy equipment
In contrast, LT tires are designed for passengers, not heavy cargo. Though they aren’t as buttery-smooth on the road as true passenger-class car tires, LT tires put more emphasis on ride comfort than STs. These will be best for SUVs and trucks, where passengers can appreciate the added ride comfort, whereas STs are meant for the big towing jobs, where their higher load capacities and sidewall stiffness shine.
While it is possible to use LT truck tires on heavy trailers, they aren’t the best fit for the job, and you should expect handling issues, poor fuel economy, and accelerated tire wear when using them in these applications.
2. Consider The Trailer Tire Load Rating
Every trailer tire is designed to bear a specific weight, indicated by its load rating. Exceeding this maximum weight can lead to serious tire damage, such as tire blowouts or deformation, and cause unpredictable handling.
But more load rating is not always better, as stiffer sidewalls often translate to reduced ride comfort. Again, there is no universal best pick, only a best-for-you.
For best results, think carefully about the approximate weight of your cargo, then overshoot it, weighing the benefits of better durability and hauling capabilities versus ride comfort to land on a level that’s right for you.
3. Choose Between Bias And Radial Construction
Radial tires offer less rolling resistance than their bias ply counterparts, which translates to better fuel economy, heat reduction, and tread life, in exchange for weaker sidewalls and less sway reduction. Radial tires are also somewhat easier to store, since they are more resistant to flat-spotting from prolonged inactivity.
In contrast, bias ply tires have stronger sidewalls, which translates to better sway reduction and stability. They’re also typically the more economical option.
So what’s right for you? The decision basically boils down to a tradeoff between ride comfort, gas savings, and storage simplicity (radial) versus towing performance and affordability (bias). Only you can decide what fits your needs, but your local TIRECRAFT can help.
Browse All The Top Trailer Tires Under One Roof: Call TIRECRAFT
No matter what you’re towing, be it a boat, a trailer, or a travel camper, finding the right tires is easy when you work with your local TIRECRAFT.
We carry all of the top brands and trailer tire types in a wide range of sizes, speed ratings, and load indexes, and we offer free product recommendations, tailored to your unique vehicle, driving needs, and budget.
Whatever you choose, we can help you save with our exclusive shop promotions, customer loyalty rewards program, and nationwide warranty plan, and our technicians can save you time by taking care of your mounting, installation, and alignment before you leave the shop.
To learn more and schedule a free trailer tire consultation, get in touch with your local TIRECRAFT.Back