Trailer Tires: Boating, RV/Camper, and Hauling
By Midwest Traction on July 11, 2018
Trailer Tire Articles
Trailer tires can be used in a wide variety of settings, but it's summer, which means we're focusing on those summer fun (and not so fun) uses: boating, RV/camping, and hauling.
This question comes up a lot: Can't I just use automobile or light truck tires on my trailer?
We don't recommend it. And here's why: Regular tires for cars and trucks are designed to have more flexibility and provide compatible handling to that suspension and steering. But when you're hauling a trailer, you don't want your trailer moving all over the road, which is why ST tires are crucial to safe, efficient trailering.
ST Tires prevent swaying thanks to their stiff sidewalls that are specifically designed to bear heavy loads while providing stability. For more in-depth info on trailer tires check out our full Trailer Tires article.
First Things First
We care a lot about your tires, probably more than you do. The key to great tire use and tire life is always checking them (which isn't the fun part and is often forgotten), especially on items that aren’t consistently used year-round like trailers (for most people).
Things you’ll want to examine:
- Tread depth. If it's getting low, but isn't quite close enough to the tread wear indicator, it's a good time to budget for buying new tires. If they're bald, they must be replaced for your safety.
- Consistency in appearance. Bulges are not good, neither is pinching. Both indicate that a blowout is on the way.
- Foreign objects. Nails, screws, glass, and other debris can get lodged in your tires. If you spot this, you'll need to get a new one. Patches work in the very short term, but it's not recommended, as they lead to blowouts.
- Slow leaks. If you find you're having to put more and more air in your tires on a frequent basis, you may have a slow leak. Take it to your local shop and see if sealing them is an option. If not, time to replace them.
- Sidewalls. Check for cracking. This is also known as dry rot, which can happen when tires are exposed to ozone, too much sun, or lots of wet conditions.
Here are a few of our favorite trailer tires:
Moisture and sun are hard on tires separately. Add them together, and you’re headed for disaster. Be sure to store your trailer in a cool, covered, dry place when not in use to prolong tire life. After storage, it's important to check tire pressure and sidewalls for cracking, impaled objects, and signs of tread wear. We recommend getting your trailer out and cleaned up pre-season in the event that you need to replace some or all of your tires.
As for towing, know the weight of your boat when it’s fully loaded, your trailer's weight, and the weight of your vehicle. These are critical to ensuring you have the right hook-up and towing power. It’s important to get the right hitch and hitch it right! Various classes apply to tow capacity loads. And as for the tongue... Tongue weight should be 10-15% of the total load to prevent swaying while driving. It’s also wise to invest in some side mirrors so you have visibility for the entirety of your trip.
Top Tip: Watch your trailer wheel bearings for wear. This is an area that often causes trouble and wears out quickly. Before you take off, check the brake fluid, lights, hitch, and jack stand of the trailer.
For the fun stuff: Life jackets, sunscreen, plastic bags for electronics, towels, and hats/sunglasses. Sun protection is important. Alos BRING WATER and snacks.
An excellent resource for all things boat trailers and law-abiding towing tactics is the American Boating Organization.
Purchasing a camper or RV is an investment, and like purchasing a house or a car, it's worth knowing its ultimate purpose beforehand. Is the camper going to be used solely for short summer trips, or for a long, multi-month road trip? Make sure that you invest in good tires that are compatible with the weight of your loaded RV/Camper, that have high-mileage and great puncture-resistance. Check out our online store for a wide variety of options.
As far as your vehicle, check that you have current insurance, know your electrical load, and check those tires for wear! Replace them as soon as you notice tread is wearing.
To pack for camping: Make sure you’ve got sunscreen, bug spray, hat or sunglasses, a first aid kit, lounge items, water bottles or CamelBaks, and a toolkit.
We're a fan of RV conversions!
Do you have an RV conversion? Know someone with a cool social media account we should be following? Let us know on social media!
Two good resources to use if you're looking for tips, tricks, or vacation spots are RV-Camping.org and GoRVing.com.
Trailers come in handy for a variety of needs, and if you don't have one, but you're thinking about it, our short list below provides a glimpse into the multiplicable uses for this handy item:
- Large supplies
- Go Karts
- Large Supplies or equipment
- Lawn equipment
- Furniture and appliances
- Auction/flea market/farmer’s market
- Large trash removal
Trailer tires work for hauling trailers, as well. Make sure you know the weight of your trailer when it's going to be loaded so you know how much your tires can reasonably withstand. If you have a trailer already, we recommend the same tips as above: inspect the tread, check for cracking, examine for punctures and bulging. Replace when necessary, and only repair if it's an emergency or very short-term solution.
When you're hauling, know the proper indicators required, if you need to have colored flags on items that protrude, and ensure all the electronics and hook-ups are in great condition. Mirror extensions are a must-have when hauling.
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