Whether you haul a boat, your ATVs, a fifth wheel or a tent trailer, it’s important to make sure your recreational trailer tires are in proper working condition.
Inspecting your Recreational Trailer Tires
Let’s start with why you should check your recreational trailer tires. Proper tire inflation is essential to any trip going smoothly as well as keeping your gear in good condition. One of the most common issues drivers face with their recreational trailer tires is under inflation. Under inflation of your tires causes unnecessary wear to your tires and can even cause a blow out, derailing your adventure before it even gets started. Due to a trailer tire’s stiff sidewall construction, it will not bulge out when your recreational trailer tires pressure is low like car tires. This is why it is important to check the PSI with a pressure gauge. The recommended inflation could be 40 PSI, but even at half of the recommended PSI, there would be no visual indication of a problem. The only way to accurately check your PSI is with a quality pressure gauge!
When you check your tire inflation, you should also do a visual inspection of the tread and sidewall. You are looking for foreign objects like screws or nails that may be caught in the tread, cracking, deep cuts, or bulges on the sidewall that may indicate a broken cord. Some bumps or indentations on the sidewall could be the result of a joint in the belts. This is perfectly normal on a radial tire, however if you have any concerns, you should have your tire inspected before heading out on a trip.
Something else to look for is an irregular wear pattern in the tread. If present, this may indicate a mechanical issue with the trailer itself, or an air pressure issue that is impacting the life of the tread. Finally, you want to ensure that there is a valve cap on every tire. These cost just a few dollars, but protect the tire valve from damage and is added protection against slow leaks through the valve itself.
How to Find and Check your Tires PSI
To check the pressure in your recreational trailer tires, look for the PSI recommendation from the trailer manufacturer. The psi will be listed in your owner’s manual for the trailer, or on a plaque on the trailer itself. The tire inflation recommendation is according to the max load capacity of the trailer itself, not the amount written on the side of the tire. To be sure, you can always call the trailer manufacturer to find this information.
Make sure you check your recreational trailer tires “cold” so either before you drive or at least three hours after you have driven. Then insert the pressure gauge into the valve stem of your tire. Once you have the reading, you’ll know if your tire’s psi is under or over the recommended amount, and you can act accordingly.
Issues with Recreational Trailer Tires when they Sit for Long Periods of Time
Another issue you may face with your trailer tires is oxidation. UV radiation, sunlight, and oxygen can cause damage to your tires as they sit outside or on moist grass in non-use seasons. This can be resolved by using tire covers for your trailer tires when it’s not in use. Another way to combat oxidation is to store your tires in a cool, dry place if possible. While you can spot exterior damage on the side walls, it’s more difficult to notice the damage done from pressurized air on the inside of the tire so it’s important to take the preemptive steps to prevent oxidation from happening at all.
Even if you take the correct steps to maintain your tires, your tires will inevitably need to be replaced. According to rubber industry research, it is recommended that you replace your tires every 5 years, but tires typically last between 4 and 7 years depending on how you store your trailer. If your trailer comes with radial tires, the replacement tires must be radial. If your trailer has bias ply tires, you can replace them with bias-ply or radial tires.
Radial or bias-ply Recreational Trailer Tires?
Radial or bias-ply, which should you buy? Well the answer to that depends on what came originally on the trailer, and your own needs. Bias ply recreational trailer tires have stiffer sidewalls so if your trailer has a habit of swaying, bias ply tires may help reduce this problem. Because of this bias ply tires hold an advantage when it comes to transporting heavier loads. Bias ply tires are often used by people going on and off road a lot for local construction as well as for farming equipment. Bias ply tires are generally cheaper, and if the equipment is only used occasionally and not on the highway, bias ply tires are perfectly adequate. Radial trailer tires, however, are much better when it comes to mileage. Radial tires will last on average 40,000 miles compared to just 12,000 miles for bias ply tires. Radial trailer tires run cooler and are recommended for people that travel a lot, so a better choice if you’re transporting livestock or towing your boat or camper long distances. Radial tires are also less likely to develop flat spots when they are parked in the same spot during periods of non-use. Whichever type of tire on your trailer, make sure you have either all radial or all bias-ply. Never mix them!
Again, which type of tires you buy for your RV, ATV or boat trailers are based on what came on the trailer originally when new, how often you use the trailer, the load, your budget, and percent time and distance on highways. You should take into account how your trailer handles as well as what the manufacturer recommends. We have a great selection of radial and bias ply recreational trailer tires for you to choose from at Tires-easy and with excellent pricing. Find your new recreational trailer tires today!