Safely Maintaining Trailer Tires

There are many factors to maintaining trailer tires like proper air pressure, load carrying capacity, and the service life of your trailer tires.

Maintaining Proper Air Pressure

  • A trailer tire should be inflated to the maximum inflation designated on the sidewall of the tire to provide the full load carrying capacity.
  • The best time to check the air pressure is when the tire is cool to the touch, and not right after the tire was in operation.
  • If the tire is warm from operation, add 3 psi over the maximum inflation to compensate for the increased pressure from heat buildup.

Load Carrying Capacity

  • All tires should be identical in size, brand, model, and load for the tires to properly manage the weight of the trailer.
  • In order to safely distribute and carry the weight of the trailer and its contents, the tires must have the combined load carrying capacity to meet or exceed the weight of the trailer.
  • If a tire fails on a tandem axle trailer, you should replace both tires on that side. The remaining tire is likely to have been subjected to excessive loading.
  • If the tires are replaced with tires of larger diameter, the tongue height of your trailer may need to be adjusted to maintain proper weight distribution.

Service Life

  • Trailer tires are limited by time and use, instead of being designed for use until the tread is completely worn out.
  • After three years in service, approximately one third of the tires strength is gone.
  • It is best to replace your trailer tires every 3-4 years even if the remaining tread looks good.
  • Prior to each use, inspect the tires for any cuts, snags, punctures, or bulges, as well as ensuring each tire is properly inflated.
  • When trailer tires are not in use or are in storage try to store in a cool, dark garage at maximum tire inflation with material between the tire and pavement (like a thin piece of plywood). Tire covers can help protect the tires if stored in direct sunlight.