Trailer Tires, What has been your Experience

Keith B.

New member
I didn't find a thread devoted just to trailer tires so I thought maybe there should be one. A lot of tires are imports now so if you have any Brand experience that might be useful. A lot of years of collective experience is out there and would be nice if it was in one place.

Things that I think would be helpful are practical experience with.....

1 . Radial vs Bias tire construction.

2. Tire type, ST trailer, LT light truck, P passenger.

3. The type of trailer used on, bumper hitch, gooseneck/5th and number of axels and brake type and witch axle braked.

4. Tire size, Load Range and PSI you run at.

5. Where you run, in town, open road and MPH?

6. Have you solved a handling or breaking problem with a tire change?

7. If you run a 14.5" / mobile home how you get around the problems.

Mike Grivna

New member
I have an 18 foot dove tail we use for my loader occasionally,4,000 pounds, or an engine or two. After having a set of 4 tires go bad in two years at under 400 miles, I bought a new set, got full reflective covers and lift it up on jack stands after every use. Three years and the tires look like new.



Active member
IMHO go to a LARGE tire shop and get their trailer rated tires to start with. Even the Firestones and other big name trailer tires are made in China now. Hopefully a big shop will quickly go to tires that last. I got 4 china tires of 2 kinds on my horse trailer. the first two from a large shop seem great, the second two are TERRIBLE, they came from a really crap tire shop i dropped into ....oh well, live and learn....

Keith B.

New member
I have an 18 foot dove tail we use for my loader occasionally,4,000 pounds, or an engine or two. After having a set of 4 tires go bad in two years at under 400 miles, I bought a new set, got full reflective covers and lift it up on jack stands after every use. Three years and the tires look like new.

That seems to be a real problem for trailer tires whatever the type. I have considered putting pivoting sidewinding jacks on all four corners of the trailer for just that purpose.


Keith B. I haul a tractor(wt 4500lb) and other stuff. ( that I mit need at a show). plus trailer wt. Total wt. is 8300lb. on two axles. ( with 7000lb. axles, heavy duty trailer and Lt tires), maybe a little overkill, but I don't have trouble with springs, wheels or tires. I ware the tires out,& change them about every 4 or 5 years. Brakes on both axles, stops real good. No1, Mostly radial tires. Trailers are used enough, they don't sit around long in one place. No2, Very seldom on the St. type tires. One trailer is 24 Ft. flat bed, Plus 3 ft. hitch ,(Has 8-14.5 wheels/tires, 3 AXLES, Not moble home type tires, I use the more heavy duty tire, ( Cost a little more, but last a lot longer, 3 - 4 years longer). The Hubs & wheels are the automotive type,( 5 lugs or bolts) Wheels look like regular wheels for cars & trucks, Very hard to find & old. The scale people don't know the diference, Been in about 20 some states with that trailer. The axles are rated at 5000lb. each. Never had a proplem with that trailer .No3, NO BUMPER HITCHS, only " Draw Tight" or of that type. No4, The largest that fits the wheel WITHOUT RUBBING, At least one range higher then came on trailer, Brakes on all wheels, ( MIT COST MORE), But the brakes will stop both load & truck. No5 ,Travel all over US & Canada. About 5 miles under the speed limit when loaded and that's most of the time. No6, Only when a tire fails or gos flat, which is hardly ever. No7, See No2, above.

---------- Post added at 01:49 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:09 AM ---------- for tire PSI, I run what the tire says on the sidewall, Maybe 5 psi less on light loads, I check tire heat every time I stop and also hub heat,( BY HAND) Over the last 15 years lots of people ask what I"m doing that for, I like to know whats going on, And a lot of those same people I pass later down the road , They got some problem and I don"t. I also pull a 34ft 5th wheel RV trailer a lot in the off season of tractor shows, Same type of operation, Check, know, be safe, don"t have problems Also I use a 350 Ford long bed crew cab dually truck, It dose the job. RIGHT
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Won't go into a lot as others will add there ideas and likes .
The number one thing most people do not look at in a trailer tire is the speed rating.
Alot of trailer tires have a speed rating of 55mph these in my mind are no good on anything but farm wagon.
I worked in the tire end of things for 11 years and you would not belive the number of flat trailer tires that had a rating of 45mph and 55mph and they were trying to run them at 65+ mph and could not understand why they blew out.


Find a good tire shop and see what they recommend for your trailer. The key here is GOOD tire shop. Might be harder to find than you think. Might pay a bit more, too. A good shop (not just for your trailer tires but for everything - truck, car, tractor, etc.) goes beyond just flopping a set of tires on your rims. They check the rim for round and clean all the rust off the rim if needed. They will tell you if there is anything about your wheels they don't like. They will replace lug nuts and studs if they see a problem with them. And often they will ask exactly what kind of service the tire will see so they can offer the right tire. And finally they give a price range - surprisingly they may NOT suggest the most expensive tire! We found a shop (about 40 miles away) that does all this and have been nothing but happy with them for years. Started with the truck tires, then tires for the trailers (a 3 horse slant and a flat) and now we even take the little commuter sedans there. Been nothing but happy with them.

Oh, and one more thing - don't skimp on trailer tires. Think of the mess you make if something blows out. Goes about 10 fold if you are hauling horses or livestock.

Keith B.

New member
Yes, its my understanding that all trailer tires are rated for 55mph unless stated otherwise. Maybe some one with better tire experience can elaborate. I've read that passenger tires when used on a trailer you should reduce load capacity by 9% all the way up to 40% depending on what you read. Right or wrong I've always used 10%. St tires have reduced load over 55mph. Here again I've read different figures how much reduction. Lt tires seem to fall in the middle for reductions.

In years past I had a tandem trailer with 14.5's, tires labeled low boy, not sure of the ply rating but were in the neighbor hood of 3400lb load if I remember right. They were hard, stiff and handling was terrible over 45 mph. Poor braking as they didn't bite very well even on dry pavement. I've ran 15" ST radials with pretty good service on a tandems, flatbed and a travel that was 29'. I run 15" passenger radials XL's on a single and a tandem around town, max speed 45mph. I find the passenger radials brake better than trailer tires around town. This is on 3500lb axels loaded at about 3000lbs max. Electric brakes, and on the rear axel of the tandem.

Does anyone know of a good page or source for tire loading for trailer use. Maybe DOT regs for tires? I've heard that your not suppose to run 14.5's but cant find anything to say definitely. The biggest problem I had with 14.5's was leaking and breaking loose at the bead. Solved that by running tubes. Used to run them because had a good source for take off tires after a home was set.


I've been hauling trailers for the past 25 years, "trailer" tires are terrible and my understanding is they are only rated for 55 mph. One brand of tire I refuse to buy is Firestone, I think everyone of those I ever bought blew out. I use LT tires and get one load range higher than I really need, when tread gets thin they are used on a lighter duty trailer until bald. Bought a 20 ft box trailer a few years ago that had chinese trailer tires on it, ran them for awhile but the trailer always felt a little squirrely, especially when getting passed by a semi truck, replaced them with LT tires and all that went away.
I was told by the Hercules rep that load rating has nothing to do with the speed rating.
The speed rating is set by how the belts are put into the tire and how the belts are made. Centrifugal force makes the belts shift and the belts in a 55mph tire will not stand the force of 65mph very long before they stretch and break.


In Memory Of
We use commercial vehicle tyres (tires) on our trailers, usually Hankook RA08 'C' rated, which gives us 730kg per tyre up to something like 85mph or 690kg per tyre at 99mph, not bad for a commercial!

In practice we are limited to 50mph, or 60mph on freeways.

We have an upper limit of 3500kg (3.5 tons) trailer weight when using overrun or surge brakes, which is 99% of the small trailer market.

Over 3500kg you have to have powered brakes, either air or hydraulic. We don't seem to use electric brakes over here.

While out in the USA at Portland, Buckley, Baraboo or Tulare I have had a good look at USA trailers, and they are more 'casual' in design than we see over here, but of course our roads and turn-ins are smaller and our vehicles for towing are also much smaller too.

We don't yet have trailer registration or annual testing below 3500kg.


Forrest A

New member
If trailers are over or not properly loaded axle deflection can be the reason trailer tires are not lasting. Also going faster than 55 MPH in the same condition will greatly reduce tire life. The best tires in the world will not last if the wheels are not tracking straight and at higher than rated speeds. Trailer must have trailer rated tires on them. I have seen lots of trailers at shows with passanger tires on them. Yikes! Trailer tires have a higher UV rating. If you are guessing at your trailer weight that is a bad way to go down the road. Take your loaded trailer and truck to a weigh station and actually weigh it. Most people have no clue and are often over what they actually think they have on the trailer.


Hummm 55 MPH guess thats why mine are coming apart , can't do less than 60 without becoming a road hazard . dam jersey TP is 65 mph , most are running 70 +MPH.

I also think its important to unload trailers or jack off ground, use tire covers

All axles are electric breaks, try and get next higher load rated tire

Always check lugs ,brake adjustment, brake away system , check tire pressure
check tires and bearings at intervals. check binders too.

could use thoughts on fair priced tires , I run ST trailer tires , should I switch to LT ??? how are the china tires, my Canadian Good Year Marathons did not last .


One Millionth Post
Pretty much all tires these days are made in china or Mexico. All the tire companies have out sourced to over seas to cut their employee benefits. Notice that the price hasn't come down any. The worst part is that they have also shipped the tooling out as well so if they ever get cut off from their new sources, they no longer have the easy option of starting back up here. Mentioned above are some good points to check to help tire use but I sure wouldn't go to any State patrol weigh station to check weight, they will write fines for any and all things they find amiss. Only cross them when required and make darn sure you are legal! To check your weights find a grain elevator or a truck stop with a Cat scale to check.


In Memory Of
I use Nexen tyres on the Land Rover Discovery V8, made in Korea, the Hankook trailer tyres are made in China. Never had a bit of trouble with either.

Use an established brand and you won't go far wrong.

Check the tyre ply ratings as well, plus the load ratings. Often possible to by 8 and 10 ply in the same tyre size.

Tyre = Tire :O



I have been plagued by "ST" (Chinese) tires on my last two fifth wheels - since 2007. My current trailer has 5000 lb 6 lug axles, so I replaced the 15 inch stock rims with 16 inch rims and put LT rated tires on the trailer. No more problems, I was getting paranoid about running anywhere with the ST tires - couldn't find any that I trusted.

This may not be the only way to solve this issue, but it worked for me. I have recommended this to friends who have done the same with good results.

Dave Pratt

slip knot

I must have gotten a really good set of Chinese trailer tires. My 16ft lowboy has a set of Primex tires that are at least 8 years old if not more. I regularly haul 3 round bales of hay on it. 75mph down the freeway. :eek: Tires are 10ply rated and stay outdoors year round.

Running empty, the trailer is as smooth running as can be at 75mph+:O
I've had some exciting adventures with trailer tires.
What I learned about them hauling trailers (dual 7K# axles).....
- Radial trailer tires run cooler than bias ply. This is important in hotter climes.
- Trailer tires are rated at 65 MPH.
- Tire max load capability will be higher than its rating at lower speeds, & much lower at higher speeds.
- Tires lose 1/3 of strength after 3 years. So buy'm fresh from someone who has fast turnover.
- If you haul heavy, replace tires (even with tread left) by 7 years. You can find out how to read the DOT code for month of manufacture on the internet.
- The ply rating (eg, load range E is 10 ply) is based on an old bias ply standard, & doesn't reflect the actual number of plies in the tire. (It will be fewer.)
- Some experienced haulers I know will run truck tires (LT series) with good results. I don't, but neither can I criticize their getting good results.
- Tires which throw a tread will do one of 2 things:
1) At nite, put on a great fireworks show as the steel belts grind against the concrete.
2) In daytime, lay down a massive smokescreen behind you.
- A thrown tread can do a lot of damage. On an equipement trailer, this just means a little fender banging & welding. On an RV it means $$$$$$$$.
- Check lug nut torque & wheel bearing adjustment regularly. Both will wander.
- Check wheel alignment to make sure you aren't dog tracking or mis-aligned.
- Avoid running over curbs, rocks & lawn mowers. Such things can cause hidden damage.
- Tires obey Murphy's law....they'll fail when there's horrible heat, torrential rain, busy traffic, & when you're on a tight schedule.
- Get heavier duty tires than you need. This addresses those extreme circumstances which will crop now & then.

And the number one piece of advice I have.....
Never ever lend your trailer to anyone unless....
- They have a lot of experience.
- They're the kind of person who'd spend whatever it takes to fix damage they cause.
- They know & appreciate what it really costs in money & time to take care of your trailer.

It's amazing the extent of damage that a no-trailer-owning-cheapskate can do.