Selecting the Proper Trailer Tires and Maintenance

Selecting the Proper Trailer Tires and Maintenance

There are few things as important and underappreciated as the tires on Gooseneck trailers. They can either give your cargo a smooth ride and make pulling a breeze when properly matched to your axles and load, or they can create a hauling nightmare that may cause you to reconsider ever getting on the road again. Selecting tires, whether it’s for a trailer you already own or a new trailer, requires a little bit of understanding of how tires work and what those mysterious codes really mean.

Choosing the Right Tire

Before even considering purchasing new tires, you need to check the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of your trailer. This rating tells your how many pounds of trailer, horse and load your trailer was designed to carry. Remember, this number is not a suggestion, it’s the maximum the trailer is designed to haul. Exceeding the GVWR can result in catastrophic brake, axle or tire failure at an inconvenient time, like when you’re doing 70 on a long stretch of desert highway.

Once you know how much weight your trailer will carry, count how many tires it has. While most trailers have four, some older trailers may only have two. Divide the GVWR by the number of tires on your trailer and this will tell you what the weight rating for each tire needs to be. Since your load is spread out evenly over all of these tires, they should be identical to one another.

LT vs. ST Tires

You might be asked to choose between “LT” or “ST” tires for your trailer, which is usually a more difficult question to answer, especially if you’re starting from scratch. “ST” is the designation for “special tires for trailer highway service,” where as “LT” is for “light truck”. Both types can be used safely on the highway. Some individuals say that “LT” tires ride a little smoother and are more robust in case of emergencies, but LTs are rated for less weight than their identical “ST” counterparts.

The “LT” designation can have a tendency to “roll” when going around curves because it doesn’t have enough side wall stiffness to support a top heavy load. This is why “ST” tires are recommended for those who are hauling a top heavy load.

While some trailer owners might believe they can safely overload their trailer if the install tires rated for greater weights, or to put it another way — they’ll put the tires used on horse trailers with living quarters on a two horse trailer — this is not a good idea. Even if the their trailer’s axles and brakes don’t come apart because of the excess load, the ride is going to be terrible for both the cargo and people alike. This is why it’s important to always choose tires rated for your trailer’s GVWR or slightly below.

Maintaining Your Tires

At the end of the day, a tire is a fancy rubber tube under significant pressure, which means that even the smallest failure could go catastrophic in no time. Maintenance is crucial to the life of your Gooseneck trailer tires. Luckily, maintenance is pretty simple and easy. Before you take your trailer out on the road, go through the following tire checklist:

Check the Tread

It is important to always check the tread on your tires before you head out on the road. The tread helps your Gooseneck trailer grip the pavement and acts as a shield to protect the belts from significant road damage. Any time you have less than 1/16 inch of tread left, you need new tires. The depth of the tread should be checked in several spots to ensure that your tires are wearing evenly.

Are There Any Visible Problems?

Such problems as cracks, bald spots and areas where the belt shows through the rubber should never be ignored. These issues are tire failure just waiting to happen. Look for these obvious problems, as well as less obvious problems such as construction debris stuck in your trailer tire’s tread that could puncture the tire during travel.

Check the Pressure (PSI)

A common cause for blow-outs is under-inflated tires, so be sure the check the pressure before and after traveling, each and every time. On average, your trailer tires lose 1 to 3 PSI each month, even in storage, so expect to have to inflate your tires to their recommended level before each trip.

 

Trailer tires are considered spent after five years, no matter what, but many should be replaced after just three years. You should routinely check your Gooseneck trailer tires yearly for signs they’re wearing out, especially inadequate tread. While trailers that don’t go much might seem immune to the need for frequent tire replacement, they are actually the ones that need it worst, especially if they’re stored with the tires touching the ground between trips. Ground storage is the best way to destroy a new set of tires on a trailer. When storing your trailer, make sure to remove the tires and store the trailer on blocks. Trailer tires should be put somewhere where they can be kept cool and dry, such as an insulated garage, to protect them from the elements.

 

For more information about Gooseneck trailer tires, don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our Parts Store today with the link below!

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