It is clear that to maximize tire life and performance, you must take proper care of your tires. Trailer tires require somewhat different management than regular automobile tires. Here are the basics:
Monitor Your Tire Pressure
- Check the pressure of your trailer tires before use to make sure your trailer tires are not underinflated. Underinflation causes excessive heat, which breaks down the internal structure of your tires.
- Make sure your load weight is in line with the load index of your tires. Never overload your trailer.
Promote Even Tire Wear
- Rotate your tires for even treadwear and weight distribution.
- Never mix bias and radial tires on your trailer. It’s one or the other.
Clean Your Tires Correctly
- Keep your tires clean with mild soap and water.
- Stay away from any tire-care products that are made with alcohol or petroleum distillates.
- For boat trailers, always wash your tires and wheels immediately after they are exposed to salt water.
Stay Out of the Sun When Possible
- Cover your tires with UV reflecting tire and wheel covers when parked.
- Or cover your tires with plywood boards when parked.
- Click the link for more on maintenance of trailer tires in storage.
Catch Blowouts in Advance
- Inspect the tires for any cuts, snags, bulges or punctures.
- Inspect your tires for signs of outside tire rot.
How to Inspect Your Tires for Cracks That Can Lead to Tire Rot
Tires are subject to dry rot from ozone and sunshine. It is not unusual to find ozone cracks on your tires, and it’s a good idea to look for them before using your trailer after it has been in storage for the winter.
Cracks can also be caused by a sudden change in temperature, such as when tires on a boat trailer, hot from driving, are suddenly driven into cold water to launch a boat. When you find a crack, check to see if it is merely superficial or if it might be a serious problem on the road. Press the tire around the sides of the crack to force it open, so you can look inside it. If you can see the cords, you probably need a new tire. Note: This is an informal test. For an accurate check, always have your tires inspected by a qualified tire technician.
To slow the growth of inside tire rot, sometimes caused by moisture in the compressed air, consider having your trailer tires filled with nitrogen.
Replace Aged Trailer Tires
Because of the stress and unique construction of trailer tires, we recommend that you replace your trailer tires every three to five years, whether or not they appear to be worn out. Again, please have your tires checked by a qualified tire technician.