How To Choose the Best Tires for Your Trailer

One of the most important parts of any road trip is your tires. Having the right tires on your vehicle is essential, but so are the tires on your trailer, whether you’re pulling a camper, fifth wheel, boat, or utility trailer. To help you avoid issues and to get the most from your trailer, we’ve compiled some quick trailer tire tips.


New Trailer? Bring it to Les Schwab

Anytime you buy a new or used trailer, bring it to your local Les Schwab. We’ll check the tire air pressure, wheel torque, and make sure you have a spare along with the proper tools to change a tire when you’re on the road. If you’re interested in a set of custom wheels or specialized tires for that trailer, we can show you plenty of options.

Did you know? Some trailers, new or used, don’t always come with a spare and/or may require specialty tools for installation. For free advice, stop by Les Schwab.


You Have Choices

Depending on the trailer and the size, you may be able to find LT (Light Truck) tires that work for your trailer. This can help with aesthetics (when you want your trailer tires to match the ones on your vehicle). Or you can simply stick with ST (Specialty Tires), which include radial and bias construction options.


The Difference Between Radial and Bias

ST tires come in many sizes. These include radial and bias. Each offer different performance. Radial tires are constructed with belts running at a 90 degree angle of the tread center line.

Radial tire cross section showing ply direction

Radial tires tend to last longer overall, and they are less likely to develop flat spots when parked for extended periods of time. Radial tires perform well at highway speeds, dissipate heat better, and offers lower rolling resistance for a smoother ride.

Bias tire cross section showing ply angles

Bias ply tires are constructed with belts running at a 30-45 degree angle of the tread center line. Bias sidewalls can be stiffer than radials which could reduce trailer sway and increase stability when the trailer is loaded.

Les Schwab Tip: Whether you choose bias or radial tires, stick with the same type, size, and load range on all wheel positions on your trailer.


Know Your Trailer’s Limitations

Check your trailer for its weight capacity. This number will be based on its axle rating. Increasing your tire load-carrying capacity does not increase the weight-carrying capacity of your trailer. If you stay within its load capacity, you’ll reduce your chances of an issue – especially if you are using the proper tires. See the example below.

Travel trailer placard showing maximum load.
Vehicle placard (on a travel trailer) shows the GVWR and the maximum cargo weight.

Be sure the tires on your trailer meet or exceed the trailer’s GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, which is the trailer’s maximum operating weight, including cargo) shown above.

Sidewall of tire with max load called out for single and dual applications.

The maximum load (carrying capacity) is only met when trailer tires are inflated to their maximum pressure. When tires are underinflated, it will decrease the load-carrying capacity and the speed they can travel. Never exceed a tire’s maximum air pressure.


Les Schwab Knows Trailer Tires

Stop by your Local Les Schwab and let our team help you choose the best tires for your trailer, or care for your existing tires before you head out on your next outdoor adventure.