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Towing can be a complex business and involves choosing the right trailer, setting everything up safely, and ensuring the system can handle the load. Selecting the right tires is vital for safe and effective towing, but exactly what kind you need isn’t always clear.
That’s why we’ve compiled this handy guide to choosing the perfect set of tires for your trailer. Designed specifically for this purpose, these tires are guaranteed to give you the best possible towing performance. Our top list should shed some light on the options you have, while our Q&A section answers some common questions you might have about trailer tires, and safe towing in general.
The Best Trailer Tires
First to make our list is Carlisle’s 15-inch trailer tire. This radial tire is designed with the highest safety standards in mind and offers excellent heat resistance and improved tread wear. The Radial Trail HD tire has been proven to last longer than its Radial RH counterpart, thanks to optimized rolling resistance.
Each of Carlisle’s tires can bear 2,150 pounds, making them well-suited to the vast majority of towing applications. The tread is also engineered to prevent uneven wear, improving long-term handling and safety. These tires are carefully crafted to give you the peace of mind you need in any trailer towing situation.
15-inch diameter radial tires
Offer market leading heat resistance
Offer reduced tread wear compared to their competitors
Optimized rolling resistance allows the tire to last for a long time
Each tire can bear up to 2,150 pounds
Tread designed to wear evenly, improving safety and handling
- Weight20 lbs
Each of Maxxis’ radial trailer tires can carry up to 2,830 pounds. The tread is coated with an advanced compound, which decreases rolling resistance, improves fuel economy, and extends the life of the tire.
Each tire is also double steel belted, providing extra rigidity for towing stability. Their shock absorbing technology makes for a smooth ride. All this adds up to a tire with excellent handling performance. Users report that these components work great as RV tires and love the fact that they continue to perform even in hot conditions. This tire is a great all-around option.
15-inch radial tires
Each tire can bear a load of up to 2,540 pounds
Advanced tread treatment reduces rolling resistance, improving fuel economy
Tires are designed to be long-lasting
Shock absorbing technology makes for a smooth ride
Tires have great handling performance
A customer favorite for use with RVs
- Weight34.2 lbs
If you plan on towing a boat, these trailer tires could be the perfect option. Each 13-inch tire is carefully designed to support the weight of your boat and ensure it’s transported safely.
Each tire can support around 1,360 pounds, rendering them capable of supporting a diverse array of water-craft. This tire set offers excellent value for the money too. Users report that they hold up very well against everyday wear and tear even with off-road use. The tread boasts an attractive design that lasts long. Finally, the fact that these tires come as a complete set – ready to attach to your boat as they are – has earned them a spot on this list.
Set of two complete 13-inch diameter wheels with Bias Ply Tires
Designed specifically for use with boats
Each tire is capable of supporting up to 1,360 pounds
Excellent value for money
Tread hold up well against daily wear and tear – both on and off-road
- BrandWheels Express Inc
- Weight30 lbs
As the name suggests, Trailer King provides useful solutions to all your trailer towing needs. Its radial tires possess a center groove that allows consistent tracking and improved stability. Each tire can bear up to 2,600 pounds.
The tire’s shoulder is designed for improved heat dissipation, lengthening the tire’s lifetime and allowing even wear for continuously good tracking. The nylon overlay also provides excellent strength and durability, and each tire comes with a warranty, demonstrating the faith that Trailer King put into their products.
15 inch radial tires
Center groove provides consistent tracking for improved stability
Each tire can hold 2,600 pounds
Shoulder design allows excellent heat dissipation, improving the tire’s lifetime
Nylon overlay offers excellent strength and durability
- BrandTRAILER KING
- Weight28 lbs
With its 14-inch diameter, this tire is slightly smaller than many of its competitors. They can be purchased in sets of two, each of which can hold 3,042 pounds. Each tire is also fitted with a nylon overlay across its tread, creating excellent traction and even tread wear.
The scuff guard on each tire helps to prevent dirt and debris from causing damage, allowing it to last much longer. Users report that they’re easy to mount and the tread lasts well – all for a better price than most mainstream tires.
14 inch diameter radial trailer tires
Come in a set of two
Each tire can hold up to 3,042 pounds
Tires are coated with a nylon overlay across their tread, to promote better traction and more even wear
Scuff guards help to protect the tires against the onslaught of dust and debris
Customers say the tires are easy to mount and long-lasting
- BrandGrand Ride
- Weight45 lbs
These tires are ideal for short-distance hauling everything from cargo to boats. They’re compatible with most utiligy, cargo, and boat trailer brands, adding to their versatility. Despite their smaller size, each tire can carry a surprisingly high weight of 855 pounds, making them ideal for most light to medium load applications.
Thanks to their tough sidewalls, these tires are especially well suited to off-road applications. The smooth tread and deep groove design facilitates handling, traction and stability on the road and off.
Bias Ply Tires with a 5.3-inch diameter, perfect for short-distance hauling
Each tire can bear 855 pounds
Compatible with most boat trailer and cargo trailer brands
Tough sidewalls are ideal for rougher roads
Wide shoulders increase road contact for great traction and stability
Impressive stability even at highway speeds
- Weight9.6 lbs
The Silver Mod Trailer wheels include both a steel wheel and tire, making it a great option if you need to replace an entire wheel. Each tire is mounted and ready to be installed on your trailer.
Each wheel can carry up to 1,820 pounds, making it perfect for multiple applications. The six-ply design holds up well against everyday wear and tear, while the rigid sidewalls remain stable at speeds of up to 65 mph. Users report that these wheels are great quality and excellent value for the money, and they handle dirt and grit roads with ease.
15-inch diameter wheel and tire set – tires are already mounted and ready for installation
Each wheel can bear up to 1,820 pounds
Six-ply design can withstand everyday wear and tear
Rigid design keeps stability even on dirt and grit roads
- BrandWheels Express Inc
- Weight38 lbs
eCustom Rims are a simple but effective set of trailer rims and tires. Each set of two pre-mounted tires is durable enough to handle thousands of miles of towing and offer great stability too.
The tires can hold up to 2,205 pounds, and users love their durability and ease of use – especially considering the low price point. Whatever you’re towing, these utility trailer tires are a safe bet.
Set of two complete 14 inch Bias Ply trailer tires
Each tire can carry up to 2,205 pounds
Durable and stable over several thousand miles
Impressively low price point makes this set very budget friendly
- Weight72 lbs
Best Trailer Tires Buying Guide & FAQ
We believe this list represents the top ten trailer tires and wheels available right now, and hope this will help any would-be haulers to come to an informed decision.
Because choosing the right tires for you can be a challenge, we’ve also taken the time to address some common concerns about this type of tire, so you can rest assured you’re purchasing the kind that best fits your needs.
What Makes the Best Trailer Tires?
The tire or wheel you ultimately choose will depend very much upon your towing needs. Nonetheless, there are some fairly universal indicators of a good quality tire, which you can watch out for when making a decision:
When purchasing trailer tires or wheel rims, the first thing you should check is whether the components you have in mind are compatible with your trailer. Each trailer should come with an owner’s manual where this information can be found – otherwise, you should be able to get a recommendation online or from your local mechanic. When checking compatibility, your main concern should be the size of the tire. This will need to match the size of the wheel, and adequately support the trailer.
- Load Rating
Each trailer tire can only bear so much weight. In the examples above, the upper weight limit for each tire has been noted, but trailer tire load range is more commonly expressed as a letter from B to F. Tires which fall into the B load range category can handle the least weight, while tires in the F category can handle the most. Which type of tire you need will depend upon what you plan on towing, but generally speaking, a higher letter rating indicates a tough, high-quality tire.
Tires which are long-lasting tend to offer better safety as well as better value for money. You can’t always tell how long a tire is going to last by the manufacturer’s description alone, but you can consult a trusted mechanic or check out reviews – especially if you’re buying your tires online.
If you’re haling farm equipment down a bumpy country road, chances are you won’t be traveling as fast as someone who’s towing a car down the highway. These two applications will probably need two different sets of trailer tires. Tire manufacturers should be able to give you some indication of the speed that their product can cope with. Make sure you’re choosing a tire which can handle the speed you require.
Bias Ply vs. Radial Trailer Tires
One of the main decisions you’ll need to make when choosing any tire – from travel trailer tires to passenger car tires – is whether to choose Bias Ply or Radial construction.
The difference between these two types of tire lies in the way the cord inside them is positioned. Each type of tire has its benefits, but today Radial tires tend to be the norm. Below are a few key features of each tire construction, so you can make the appropriate choice for your trailer:
- In Radial Tires, an inner steel belt layer runs at a 90-degree angle from the tread center line
- Radial tires run cooler than their Bias Ply counterparts
- The tread on Radial tires tends to last longer
- The steel belts in Radial tires make for a tougher construction overall
- Radial tires offer a larger footprint
- Radial tires have less rolling resistance, meaning better fuel economy
Bias Ply Tires
- In Bias Ply tires, an inner layer of cross-hatched nylon and steel cords sit at a 30 to 45-degree angle from the tread center line
- Bias Ply tires tend to have stronger sidewalls than their Radial counterparts
- Bias Ply tires tend to be less expensive than Radial tires
- Bias Ply tires often run straighter than Radial tires
How to Maintain Your Trailer Tires?
Tire maintenance is vital if you want to haul safely and effectively, especially since they tend to wear out much faster than the tires on passenger vehicles because of the weight they bear even when stationary. Below we outline some top tips for keeping your trailer tires in the best possible condition:
- Air Pressure
Underinflated tires are dangerous. As well as damaging or fuel economy, they can lead to poorer braking and handling. Underinflated tires on a trailer may also be unable to properly support the load you’re towing.
Be sure to check and adjust the air pressure in your trailer tires regularly, especially before setting out on a long journey. Remember that tires can lose pressure even when they have been stationary.
- Tread Wear
As with all tires, you should check the tread on your trailer tires regularly to ensure it’s up to standard – particularly before embarking on a long journey. You can easily check the tread on your tires is thick enough by inserting a penny or quarter into the tread. Position the coin so Lincoln’s or Washington’s head is upside down and facing you. If your tire tread is deep enough, part of the head should be covered.
Tires should be replaced when your tread reaches around 3.32” thickness.
- Safe Storage
It’s fairly common for trailers to be stored outdoors for long periods of time, which can result in a surprising amount of damage. One of the main causes of damage to tires that are stored outdoors is sunlight. UV radiation emitted from the sun can cause tires to degrade, running the risk of cracked or crumbling rubber. This is easy to prevent by covering your trailer with a tarp. A simple covering such as this will also keep the wheels dry, preventing the risk of corrosion.
Trailer Tires Safety and Facts
With any kind of journey, safety should be a top priority, and towing is no different. The following trailer safety tips should help keep your travels running smoothly:
- Be sure to rotate your tires every 5,000 to 7,000 miles – this helps to ensure even tread wear, which leads to better overall handling
- Keep tire pressure at the manufacturer’s recommendations and check it regularly
- Be sure to regularly check tire tread depth, as mentioned earlier
- Regularly grease the bearings on your trailer
- Ensure the lug nuts on your trailer are always tightened to the correct torque
- Check that all the lights on your trailer are in good working order on a regular basis
- Whatever you’re towing, be sure to distribute the weight evenly across the trailer
- Before any journey, walk all the way around your trailer to visually double-check everything is in safe working order
These simple steps will help to prevent any trailer-related accidents. These incidents are more common than you might think, as the following statistics, compiled by the communications firm, Beckett, demonstrate:
- Between 1988 and 2008, over 15,000 people died in the US as a result of accidents involving trailers towed by passenger vehicles
- Every year in the US, over 20,000 people seek medical assistance because of incidents involving utility trailers
- These accidents cost the US economy an estimated $2 billion every year
- The vast majority of trailer-related road accidents are preventable
With these facts in mind, taking good care of your trailer and tires becomes even more important – these simple safety procedures can save lives.
Best Trailer Tires FAQ:
Q: Are trailer tires different from car tires?
A: Yes. There are several key differences between tires designed for a passenger vehicle and those designed for use with a trailer:
- Tires on a passenger car place greater emphasis on traction
- Passenger vehicle tires need to be more flexible than trailer tires, for a comfortable ride
- Trailer tires need to have a more rigid sidewall, to prevent sway
- The tires on a passenger vehicle are designed to operate at higher speeds
- Trailer tires often have Bias Ply design, whereas the tires on a passenger vehicle are almost exclusively Radial
- The tread on a trailer tire is not as thick as that on a passenger vehicle
Because of these fundamental differences, tires designed for trailers will not work well on your car or truck – and vice versa. Always be careful to install the appropriate type of tire for optimal performance and safety.
Q: How long do trailer tires last?
A: This depends on how often they are used, the quality of the tire, and the type of road surface you typically drive on. Experts suggest that the average trailer tire should be replaced every six to seven years. However, if your tread has worn down below safe levels, or your tire has become damaged, it should be replaced immediately, no matter its age.
Q: How do I replace trailer tires?
A: To replace a trailer tire, you will need to follow very similar steps to replacing the tire on a car. Below are the basics:
- Loosen the lug nuts with a lug wrench
- Jack up the trailer until the wheel is off the ground
- Remove the old wheel
- Take this opportunity to check the wheel hub
- If you are only replacing the tire rather than the whole wheel, let the air out of the tire before plying it off the rim with a flat-headed screwdriver
- Next, lubricate the inside edges of the tire (you can use dish soap for this), and push it down onto the rim a bit at a time
- Inflate the tire – you should head a popping sound as it seals to the rim
- Mount the new wheel on the wheel hub, before replacing the lug nuts by hand and lowering the trailer to the ground
- Once the trailer is safely on the ground, tighten the lug nuts further
You can find more detailed instructions here.
Q: When should I check the tire pressure in my trailer tires?
A: You should check the pressure in your trailer tires about once a month. It’s also a good idea to check before any long journey.
Our Top Pick
For us, the best trailer tires on the market right now have to be Carlisle’s Radial Trail HD Trailer Tires. These versatile tires offer haulers the best heat resistance on the market, along with slow tread wear, and excellent handling.
Since each tire can bear over 2,000 pounds of weight, they’re the perfect fit for almost any towing job you can throw at them. Since every Carlisle tire also comes with a two-year warranty, you can rest assured that these tires won’t let you down when you need them.
- How Tires and Wheels Work, How Stuff Works