When you first purchase your RV you will have several questions on your mind like Do travel trailer tires and wheels need to be balanced? The answer is no, you don’t need to have your travel trailer tires or wheels balanced but your trailer will ride more smoothly if the tires are balanced.
But, like many complex questions, the answer is not as straightforward as you might expect. This is because the primary purpose of travel trailer tires is to support the vertical load. Conversely, regular car tires are meant to grip the road on turns. For many trailers, it is more important to ensure the safety of the cargo in the trailer rather than ensure a high ride quality for the passengers.
Below we will answer the question of whether travel trailer tires should be balanced. Then we will do the same for travel trailer wheels. If you were wondering if you can use truck tires on your trailer, we will cover that in the next section. We will then look at how long travel trailer tires are expected to last. Additionally, sometimes travel trailer tires will blow out, so we will explain why that sometimes happens.
We will then get into a few things that should help you pick out new tires for your travel trailer, starting with showing you how to identify trailer tires. Then we will discuss the importance of radial tires and whether you should prioritize them. Finally, we will look at some of the best travel trailer tire brands available to you. Once you are done reading you should have all the information you need to get your travel trailer ready for your next trip.
Should Travel Trailer Tries Be Balanced?
Tire balance is important in a car because it is important for them to grip the road on turns. However, with travel trailers, the primary purpose of the tires is to support the vertical load. There is so much more weight that travel trailer tires need to handle compared to car tires that they need to be built differently.
Otherwise, they might collapse, or something could be severely damaged in certain scenarios. Therefore, it is not essential that your trailer tires are balanced. However, you should note that this means there is a good chance that you will feel vibrations from the unbalanced tires.
Do Travel Trailer Wheels Need to Be Balanced?
Before we move to this section, we should clarify the difference between a tire and a wheel. The tire is the outer rubber section, whereas the wheel is the metal section in the middle. Like with travel trailer tires, the wheels do not need to be balanced. However, not having them balanced will mean you need to make concessions in certain areas.
There are two major types of wheels found in trailers. A hub centric wheel is the first option available to you. These wheels are centered by the center bore of the wheel and hub flange. However, most trailers have lug centric wheels. These wheels are centered by the torque of the lug bolts, rather than the center bore of the wheel and hub flange.
Can I Use Truck Tires on My Trailer?
If you are looking to replace the tires on your trailer you will have a few options available to you. You might even think to use truck tires instead of travel trailer tires, but is this a good idea?
Light truck tires are sometimes used in RVs but generally not on utility trailers. Light truck tires are a type of passenger vehicle tire, and as a result, they are not built with a thick sidewall like regular trailer tires. The thicker sidewall helps significantly with the vertical load. So, with that in mind, it is recommended that you use travel trailer tires in most situations.
One of the biggest reasons that a tire can fail is overloading. If you use a truck tire, you are significantly increasing the chances that it will happen. You are towing a lot of weight with your travel trailer and if the tires are not properly rated, they will fail.
Additionally, heat build up can be a significant problem for a lot of people. Thicker tires build up heat when they are not properly inflated. As a result, you need to constantly make sure your tires are inflated correctly when you are pulling a travel trailer. This is why so many RVers use a Tire Pressure Monitoring System like the one we use on our RV.
How Long Do Travel Trailer Tires Last?
Age is a major factor when you are determining whether you need to replace your tires. Unfortunately, travel trailer tires undergo a lot more wear and tear than regular passenger vehicle tires. As a result, they need to be replaced more frequently.
Each tire manufacturer will have different recommendations on when to replace their tires. However, the average life span of a trailer tire is around five years under normal maintenance and conditions. That being said, you should start to consider tire replacement after three years. At this time you should consult with an expert and see how your tires are faring.
To increase the lifespan of your tires you can keep an eye out for things that cause tire damage and try to avoid them. Tire damage is often caused by improper tire pressure, excessive exposure to sunlight, improper loading, exposure to high temperatures, and axle alignment issues. If you can avoid exposing them to these issues, then you can maximize your tire’s life span.
Why Do Travel Trailer Tires Blow Out?
As we have mentioned several times already, heat build up can cause a myriad of issues for travel trailer tires. As a result, it should come as no surprise to hear that heat build up is the biggest cause of tire blowouts. There are many reasons that your tires might get overheated, but the two most common reasons are overloading of the trailer and having underinflated tires.
You should be able to check the trailer axle capacity on a sticker or plate on the frame of your trailer. You should not load your trailer beyond its capacity in any scenario. Additionally, you should make sure that your tires are always inflated to no more than 90%the maximum psi indicated on the tire when the tires are cold.
How Do I Identify Trailer Tires?
When you are looking for travel trailer tires you want to look for an ST or LT rating. ST stands for Special Tire, and LT stands for Light Truck. When you see a tire it should have a label and it will say something like ST 205/75 D14. ST of course stands for special tire, but what does everything else mean?
The 205 refers to the width of the tire in millimeters. Then the 75 refers to the ratio of height to width. In this example, the tire’s height is 75 percent of its width. The smaller the aspect ratio, the wider the tire in relation to height. Finally, the D indicates a bias ply tire and stands for diagonal. If there is an R there instead of a D, it means that it is a radial tire. The number following the letter is the diameter in inches. In this case, the tire is 14 inches in diameter.
Should I Use Radial Tires on My Camper Trailer?
One of the biggest decisions you need to make for your travel trailer is which type of tires to use. Your two main choices are bias and radial tires. Generally, bias tires are less expensive, but they do not perform as well. Trailer owners often say that these tires are flowers because they follow behind the vehicle that pulls them. The vehicle up front does all the work, while the tires just keep the trailer moving.
Conversely, radial tires perform much better. With radial tires your ride will be smoother, the trailer will not bounce as much, and they have a longer shelf life. However, the most important characteristic of these tires is that they can carry a heavy load.
So, should you use radial tires? If money is not a factor then radial tires are certainly the better option. However, finances obviously affect the decision making of most people. As a result, you may need to go with bias tires if you think radial tires are too expensive.
What Are the Best Travel Trailer Tire Brands to Buy?
Here we will look at five of the best travel trailer tire brands available to you. There are so many sellers on the market that is important to narrow things down. Otherwise, you will have a long and grueling search for the best option. However, by looking at these five brands you should be able to find your perfect tires much quicker.
1. Trailer King
Trailer King is one of the best options for people that are looking for new travel trailer tires. Their tries are manufactured to provide a high standard of safety, reliability, and comfort. They deliver everything you might need from an expansive ST Radial size lineup while providing incredible value. Here you should be able to find something that fits any type of trailer.
2. Task Master
Since 2003 Task Master has been making tires for light trucks, trailers, and other towable vehicles. They deliver products that deliver exceptional performance while operating under demanding conditions. Task Master is most known for its travel trailer tires. These products feature a double polyester cord body, double steel belts or full steel sidewalls, and nylon overlays that add extra endurance in tough loading conditions. Additionally, these tires are incredibly strong, making them a great choice for drivers that will be driving off road and in rough conditions.
3. Cooper Roadmaster
Another great brand available to you is Cooper Roadmaster. They sell a variety of tires for many types of vehicles and trailers. The travel trailer tires they sell feature a premium, high scrub tread compound that provides improved treadwear and long lasting protection against cutting and chipping.
Additionally, they have stone ejector ribs in the grooves that help preserve the casing for retreading. Finally, the rounded shoulder design helps minimize the effect of high lateral forces on the tire.
Yokohama is another brand that has several travel trailer tires available to you. Their tires have optimized tread depth, ensuring maximum efficiency and an extra long tread life. They also are built with a cut and chip resistant compound that will protect your tires from damage without sacrificing rolling resistance or wear performance.
The cornerstone of their tires is the zero degree belt which creates a consistently stable footprint for long, even wear. They also have funnel shape stepped grooves which prevent stones and other debris from getting to the bottom of the grooves and causing damage.
Finally, the tires have a newly designed tread pattern. This new design ensures that ground contact pressure is evenly distributed. As a result, you will have greater stability, flawless tracking, and better fuel efficiency.
The final brand we will be looking at is Deestone. They have nine tires available for sale that are designed for trailers. Each of these options is built to reduce rolling resistance. Additionally, you will not need to worry about heat built up with these options. As a result, these tires last longer than many other options available to you.
Prepare for Your Next Trip by Finding the Best Travel Trailer Tires for You
After reading, we hope you have the answer to the question, do travel trailer tires and wheels need to be balanced? While balancing is important in passenger vehicles, it is not essential in trailers. There are some benefits to having balanced tires, but it is more important to get tires that can handle the vertical load. This means you might feel a few more bumps while you are driving, but your trailer will be more secure.
It is generally not a good idea to use truck tires on your trailer as they are not strong enough to handle the weight of a large trailer. As a result, you will want to look for tires that either has an ST or LT rating. These ratings indicate that they can handle at least some trailers.
If you use regular tires you will be at a higher risk of overheating. When this happens your tires might blow out which is the last thing you want to happen. Not only can it be expensive to replace your tires, but if it happens while you are driving it is incredibly dangerous.
Finding the best travel trailer tires for you can be challenging. After all, there are dozens of brands out there, and each of them has several options to choose from. As a result, you should start your search by narrowing the field down to a few brands. Some of the best manufacturers available to you include Trailer King, Task Master, Cooper Roadmaster, Yokohama, and Deestone.
What type of tires are you most interested in purchasing? Have you ever had issues with your travel trailer tires in the past? Where do you plan on going on your next trip? Let us know in the comments!