How to choose tires for a trailer Complete Guide

Are you confused about what tires you need for your trailer? Whether for a daily commute or outdoor adventure, the ideal tire can make all the difference. You have come to the right place!

This guide will help you choose the best tires for your trailer needs.


One of the most important items to consider when buying a trailer is the tires. A good tire is essential for safe towing and should have a sufficient load capacity. Before selecting your trailer tires, the key factors to consider are size, payload capacity, and tread pattern. In this guide, we’ll explain each in detail so you can choose the right tires for your new trailer.

  1. Introduction When choosing a tire for a trailer, it’s important to consider its size, payload capacity, and tread pattern. The type of vehicle being used also needs to be taken into account as certain sizes may only be available in specific configurations. Additionally, it’s important to check whether it meets all transportation requirements according to local laws and regulations in your area or country before making a purchase.
  2. Trailer Tire Sizing The first step when selecting tires is determining the appropriate size for your trailer’s wheel rim diameter and width of tire required for the application you need it for – for example; camping trips or lengthy journeys with heavier loads require larger wheel rims and durable tires that are able to bear extra weight efficiently with minimal friction and impact on road surfaces over time.

Explanation of trailer tires

Trailers have specific tire requirements to meet federal safety regulations. To provide the stability and traction needed while towing, trailer tires must have load-carrying capacity and tread design deliberately created for their application. The tires need to be made of special compounds that resist temperature extremes, abrasion and deterioration, as well as gases in the air that destroy rubber.

The size of the tire depends on the size of the rim and axle weight ratings. It is important to know both when you purchase your trailer tires. In order to confidently choose the best set of trailer tires for your trailer’s performance in any conditions, here are some points to consider:

-The weight rating indicated on the tire must match or exceed the total weight of cargo being towed. The rating is indicated in pounds per square inch (PSI).

-Tires must be marked with an “S” for Special Trailer Use and include a speed symbol indicating safe speed limits. Specially designed trailer treads help eject stones that could damage boat hulls or RV fiberglass finishes, allowing cooler operation on dry pavement.

-Finally, look at inflation pressure listed on your tire which should reflect these load-speed positions listed on your vehicle placard (transit or recreational). Always adjust your pressure according to load carried, use correct valve stem types/caps and inspect frequently for lack of air loss due to dry rot/leaks due to age factors present with all tire rubber compounds over time.

Load Capacity

When looking for tires for your trailer, it’s important to ensure that the tires you select are rated to carry the weight of your trailer. This is referred to as the load capacity and it is printed on both the sidewall of your tire and on the application chart found in this guide. Your trailer manufacturer will also provide you with a recommended load range; however, the actual tire load rating is always what must be met or exceeded.

The load index is an eight digit number used to calculate your vehicle’s maximum carrying capacity or maximum axle loading. The higher the index value, the greater its carrying capacity per tire size can be. This number can range from 40 (the least amount of carry capacity or load) to 126 (the maximum allowable carry capacity).

The diagram below should help you understand how to use your tire’s load index information:

Lower Load Index (For Example: 33) = Load of 1,205 pounds per tire
Higher Load Index (For Example: 126) = Load of 6,537 pounds per tire

To determine exactly what weight each individual tire can handle look up its 8-digit code in a conversion chart like this one

Definition and explanation of load capacity

When selecting tires for a trailer, it is important to understand and follow the load capacity ratings on the side of the tire. Load capacity is the total weight that a tire can carry, from the weight of the trailer itself to all cargo, fluids, etc. The load capacity rating for a particular tire is written in pounds and will be indicated by two numbers on either side of “LBS”. For example if it reads “2535/2260 LBS”, then this means that each tire has a maximum load capacity of 2,560 lbs.

It is crucial when selecting tires for your trailer to make sure they are rated at or above your vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The GVWR represents the total allowable weight when loading up your vehicle before driving. If you are under this weight estimate, always select tires with a higher rating than what your vehicle requires. This ensures you will have enough tread and traction when carrying heavier loads. Failure to adhere to proper ratings could cause potential tire damage or accidents resulting from inadequate traction quality or rim damage caused by overloading.

How to determine the correct load capacity for trailer tires

When choosing the right trailer tires for your vehicle, you’ll need to take into account the size and weight of the trailer, as well as the speed rating of your tires. For instance, in most cases, if you’re towing a trailer that has a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of 2,000 pounds or less you should use ST (special trailer) tires. Anything above 2,000 pounds should use load-range D or E tires.

The load capacity is marked on the sidewall. A tire with a load range C or D can typically support up to 1,820 pounds per tire at its maximum capacity. This means that a tandem axle trailer with two tires of this size would be able to accommodate 3,640 pounds evenly distributed across both axles. However when choosing your tires consider other factors like road conditions and weight distribution on the overall features of your vehicle and cargo as it could potentially increase stress on certain areas causing premature wear and tear.

It’s important to note that all trailers have their own unique specifications for tire sizing and load indexes so make sure to read through your manufacturer’s guide before selecting the right tire for your particular needs or contact an automotive expert who can help find what fits best for you application based on safety requirements and other necessary factors.

III. Size and Fitment

Size and fitment are two of the most important aspects to consider when selecting the right set of tires for your trailer. It is essential that you determine both the size as well as the load rating requirements. The size of trailer tire can be identified by having a look at its sidewall markings; typically numbers that denote section width, aspect ratio, construction type, rim diameter and load rating can be found here. If in doubt, consult your vehicle or tire manual before doing anything else.

To ensure proper fitment, tires should match (or exceed) those indicated on your trailer’s placard. Following these guidelines will help avoid overloading a given tire and possibly minimize any potential risk of an issue arising with regards to handling or traction control in certain conditions and also possessing appropriate speed ratings for your particular application would be prudent.

Additionally, it is important to ensure that you have opted for a bias ply or radial tire constructions depending on the type of usage anticipated; considerably more information can be found at this stage in tire being outlined literature specific pertaining towards trailer usage investigations come highly recommended if you are new to this arena but understanding how to choose tires for a trailer will become far simpler when all factors such as terrain/location, weight specifications and intended usage have been firmly established prior to buying any tires before advancing any further into our lineup.

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Definition and explanation of size and fitment

When it comes to selecting tires for a trailer, size and fitment are the two main considerations. Picking the right size tire is very important, as an improperly sized tire can cause instability and excessive wear. Additionally, it’s essential to be aware of your trailer’s load capacity requirements when determining fitment type.

In terms of size, there are three main components you must consider: section width, aspect ratio, and wheel diameter. The section width is the distance from one sidewall of the tire to the other in millimeters when measured from its widest point. Aspect ratio simply refers to the height of thte tire in relation to its width. Lastly, wheel diameter is self-explanatory and is measured in inches so make sure to double-check your exact measurements prior to purchasing a new pair of tires for your trailer.

Next, determine what type of fitment your trailer requires by referring to your owner’s manual or consulting with a professional mechanic if needed. Fitment type can vary depending on whether you own a boat trailer or an enclosed cargo trailer that may require either radial or bias ply tires respectively. Radial tires generally have greater durability than bias ply options as they feature lighter construction but in some cases require reinforced load range higher than standard models due lip radius differences between these two varieties of tires. Make sure you choose the right fitment type based on what kind of highway driving you plan on doing with your trailer as well as any other requirements related directly to it’s intended purpose or use case environment (i.e., near waters).

How to determine the correct size and fitment for trailer tires

The size and make of your trailer tires are important considerations. You need to consider the load capacity, durability, quality, type of trailer tire tread pattern that is suitable for the driving conditions and terrain you will be operating in.

When assessing correct size and fitment for your trailer tire, look to the sidewall of the already installed tire. It will feature a combination of numbers and letters – referred to as a ‘tire code’ or ‘tire size code’ – which will allow you to determine the correct fitment for your new tires.

These code characters are usually split into three sections: Section 1 outlines diameter and wheel size; Section 2 outlines aspect ratio; and Section 3 outlines construction type (radial or bias), rim diameter, load index and maximum speed rating (in mph). As an example, if a trailer tire has sidewall markings as 205/75R14 103N 8PLY then these individual codes mean: 205 = tire width in millimetres; 75 = aspect ratio; R = radial construction; 14 = wheel diameter in inches; 103N = load index & speed rating showing a maximum load capaciry of 992 lbs and a maximum speed rating of 87 mph (when inflated to pressures detailed on boot wall) ; 8Ply = numerous layers of cords woven under heat & pressure from top to bottom forming an 8ply belt package.

Carefully research manufacturers technical information before making any selection as attaching incorrect-sized or incorrect-usage tires may have fatal consequences for vehicles carrying heavy loads over long distances at highway speeds.

Importance of size and fitment

The size and fitment of your tire will have an impact on the stability and performance of your trailer. Depending on the size of your vehicle, hauling capacity, terrain, and weather conditions, there are different sizes available that can provide more security and safety measures. The incorrect size of tires may lead to difficulty in maneuvering or cause another kind of wear and tear on your trailer.

To ensure you get the most appropriate tire for your trailer, it’s essential to check the bolt pattern (bolt pattern denotes how many bolts per wheel), ply rating (ply rating is an indication of how much weight the tire can handle before losing its grip), wheel diameter (the wheel diameter determines which tires you can use) and rim width (the rim width dictates what size tire is right).

Additionally, make sure that your specific wheel fits within the wheel well for optimal support.

Maintenance and Care

It’s important to check the condition of trailer tires regularly and perform thorough maintenance. To ensure safe performance, make it a priority to inspect, rotate and balance your tires frequently. Here are some general tips for maintaining and caring for your tires:

  • Check the Wear – Look at the tires’ tread depth. If it looks worn down, your tire may need replacing or retreading. The lowest legal tread depth is 4/32 inch in most states. A simple penny test can tell you if you have enough tread left on the tire: Insert a penny in the groove of your tire with Lincoln’s head facing towards you. If his whole head is visible, your tire may need replacing!
  • Look For Cracks – Check for cracking, cuts or other signs of damage around the sidewall and tread area as they can cause air loss or blowouts while driving.
  • Visually Inspect and Feel – Visually inspect all sides of each tire looking for cracks, bulges and vectors which could indicate innerliner separation or premature belt edge separation and be sure to feel for any bumps that could cause localized crown separations which are more likely when running high inflations pressures over longer distances with heavier loads.
  • Rotate Frequently – Rotating every 6-8 thousand miles is generally recommended but depending on how many miles you drive each year and how loaded down each axle typically is going to play a large factor in when you should rotate again so don’t forget about it! Rotating helps even out wear across all four tires so there will be less worry of one tire wearing faster than another causing an unbalanced ride that can lead to poor handling characteristics especially when under load over long distances or off-road applications where uneven terrain could exacerbate this problem even further leading to premature failure due to misalignment that isn’t easily corrected just by rotating like other setups such as cars/trucks/SUVs etc…

When rotating trailer tires just like passenger vehicles it’s best practice when dealing with four wheeled items (two per axle pair) to move them diagonally across from each other thereby moving them evenly around all four corners assuming everything else about your truck setup remains unchanged such as wheelbases etc…

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Definition and explanation of tire maintenance and care

Tire maintenance and care is essential to the safe operation of your trailer. Proper maintenance and care of your tires will ensure they remain in good working order, with improved traction and enhanced ride quality. Proper tire maintenance should include regular inspections, ensuring that the inflation pressure is appropriate to the load capacity rating, as well as proper mounting and storing instructions.

It is also important to make sure that your tires are adequately rotated during regular maintenance intervals. Regularly reviewing tire tread depth will help ensure you stay within legal limits, as well as help identify potentially dangerous miss-treading patterns due to accidental overinflation or underinflation.

If a danger has been identified or simply for preventive measures, consider using a tire dressing product designed for use on trailer tires specifically, such as ArmorAll Protectant Tire Shine or Mothers Tread Shine waxgrip protectant spray.

Keeping an eye on wear patterns can detect any signs of unusual stress that may be caused by alignment or suspension misfunction or simply an ill-matched tire size causing an unusually heavy load on one side of the axle. If this is detected you should consult with a qualified mechanic in order to alleviate any undue stress on your tires before more severe consequences arise.

How to properly maintain and care for trailer tires

Keeping trailer tires in good condition is an important part of towing safety. Proper maintenance and inspection of trailer tires can help ensure a safe and efficient performance. Even with careful maintenance, however, flat tires or replacement may be necessary from time to time.

To maintain your trailer tires:

  • Check the tire pressure regularly (inflate to manufacturer’s specification).
  • Check tire tread depth and rotate the tires occasionally, if recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Remove any accumulated dirt or debris on the outside of the tire that could affect traction or cause damage.
  • Wash both sides of your trailer’s wheels to keep dirt and debris out of the tire’s air valve cap and other moving parts.
  • Grease wheel bearings every two years or as specified by the manufacturer.
  • Ensure that all lug nuts are tightened properly before traveling on rough or uneven roads.

It is also essential to inspect your trailer’s tires for wear, damage, bulges and exposed cords before each trip – these are real indicators that it’s time for a new set of tires!


To conclude our guide, we have discussed the different types of tires that can be used for a trailer. Remember to review the weight capacity for each type of tire and how it may affect the overall performance of your trailer.

If you are looking for a durable and reliable tire option, then consider using a radial tire. If you want something with more traction, then all-terrain tires may be better suited to your needs. Finally, make sure you understand the road conditions in which you will drive your trailer before picking a tire type. This way, you can ensure that your tires are best suited to meet all of your needs.

No matter what type of trailer tire you decide to go with, make sure it is properly maintained and inspected regularly for any wear or damage. Safety should always come first when it comes to driving—especially if you have precious cargo like other vehicles or toys in tow.

With these tips in mind, we hope you have all the information necessary to make an informed decision on your trailer’s perfect set of tires!

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Recap of how to choose the right tires for a trailer

When selecting trailer tires for your vehicle, there are a few key things to consider. You’ll need to know the size and ply rating of your tires, as well as their load capabilities. Additionally, you’ll want to choose a tire that is designed specifically for the type of terrain you will be driving on. Before making any final decisions, it is important to compare different tire brands and understand what features they offer. Here are some tips on how to choose the correct tires for your trailer:

  1. Determine the size and ply rating of the trailer tire: It’s important to ensure that the tire is a proper fit for your trailer by checking its size and ply rating (the number of plies in its construction).
  2. Consider load capacity: Since trailers carry more weight than cars, look for tires capable of handling extra weight without compromising safety or performance.
  3. Select a tire designed for specific terrain: When it comes to traction, off-road and all-terrain tires offer superior gripping capabilities over highway tread patterns or those suited for only dry pavement.
  4. Compare brands before buying: Once you’ve determined your needs, research different brands online or talk with others who have driven similar conditions as yours so you can make an informed decision about which tire best meets your needs before buying it.

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