What Size Tire Do I need?
Numbers that start with LT or ST, such as ST235/85R16F are among the largest listings on tires. LT stands for “light truck” which is seen a lot on F-150s and Chevy 3500s. ST stands for “special trailer”. Both LT and ST tires can be used on livestock trailers, although ST tires are particularly designed for use on trailers and have some special safety advantages with them as well.
LT tires are engineered to provide good mileage, proper traction and a good ride because they are specifically designed for trucks. The “good ride” party is what makes LT tires decidedly less appropriate for horse trailers. A towing truck has complex suspension with struts or shocks, torsion bars and springs. A livestock trailer has a much simpler suspension when means they are forced to withstand much more pounding when they go down the road.
ST tires are built with stronger sidewalls to withstand this pounding. When towing vehicles round a corner, the LT tire sidewall actually allows the tire to flex extensively on the road. Essentially, this isn’t a problem, as the truck has a suspension that assists to compensation for this action; but when an LT tire on a livestock trailer with a high center of gravity, this flexing action can cause the trailer to sway which can lead to a very dangerous situation.
ST tires stand up straight when rounding a corner because of their much stiffer sidewalls which makes it safer for drivers as well as their livestock. Thus, making ST tires safer and superior to LT tires on high-center of gravity vehicles, such as horse and livestock trailers.
What is the Loading Range?
The loading rang is the maximum weight a properly inflated tire is designed to carry. For instance, for tires that are listed as load range F, each tire is engineered to carry 3,858 pounds, so total this would be 15,432 pounds for four tires. This is appropriate for the total weight of a trailer, four average horses, water, hay, tack and incidentals.
What is the “Born On” Date?
The “born on” date is required for all tires manufactured since 2000. It is a four-digit number that will be standing all alone, such as 0612. The first two numbers are the week of the year. So a tire with “06” was made the sixth week of the year which would be about mid-February. The second two numbers are the year the tire was manufactured, so “12” would mean the tire was made in the year 2012.
When Should I Replace Tires?
The tread is important on livestock trailers because when tires get then, this means it is time to replace them. Even so, livestock trailer tires may need to be replaced when they still have lots of tread left because the age if tire is what is ultimately important. Generally, the rule of thumb is five years is the maximum service life for tires. Aged tires can cause weakening of the tire structure, which can lead to tire failure such as in the case of a blowout.
Always research before taking your livestock trailer out on the road for yours and your livestock’s safety.