A boat trailer provides you the ease of transporting your boat from one place to another. To maintain a proper grip on the road and support the load, trailer tires play a prominent role. However, they will wear out over time and leave you by yourself to choose a replacement option.
How can you buy the best boat trailer tires? Are there certain factors that you have to consider? Yes, you do, especially if you require optimally performing tires to ensure long-lasting performance.
You might have many reasons to change the tire. It could be to increase the load capacity or to maintain the best performance. Either way, this guide will help you learn everything you need to know about boat trailer tires.
Furthermore, it will break down the information in laymen’s terms to help you understand it better. Thus, you will be able to make the best decisions with accurate information. Forget about various manufacturers and their claim to be the best!
Almost any other tire of vehicles is built for speed and steering. Meanwhile, the primary function of the boat trailer tires is to support the load. Therefore, they are built to be strong and durable, able to withstand regular wear and tear. If you’re hoping for speed, you won’t get more than around 65mph with these, which is still remarkable.
However, speed shouldn’t be a consideration when checking for trailer tires for the boat. More importantly, always check for the ‘ST’ rating on the boat tires. You’re looking specifically for that rating on the tires before you. You will learn more about how to read ratings and numbers below in the factors. So, let’s skip through this for now.
The tire is the most integral part of a boat’s trailer. Its entire structure will secure the boat, but the tire will carry the load. Depending on your trail, it will keep the boat intact and prevent too many shocks or impacts from damaging the boat. Similarly, it will provide optimum traction and grip on the road, depending on its conditions.
In simple words, boat trailer tires are different from the primary objective of supporting the load. They are built for performance, grip, and sturdiness. Therefore, they require strong consideration to ensure you buy the right type of trailer tires.
Neglecting proper care and maintenance can lead to compromise of the safety of people. It can also lead to irreversible damage or loss. Overall, the tires are like the backbone of your boat’s trailer.
Your boat trailer probably came with the right set of tires for it that provided you a long-lasting performance. Over time, tires wear out due to regular wear and tear. Depending on their quality, build, and other factors, you will have to replace the tires.
You can probably assume the importance of the trailer tires from the above-given information. However, many people are unsure about when is the right time to replace the tire. Some don’t know if they should buy a new set of tires or not. If you’re confused or indecisive, here are some points that can help you with the choice:
Look for any visible cracks and the color pigmentation of the tire. If it has worn out, and if the tire looks too dry and full of cracks, it’s about time you get a new set of tires.
There is a popular penny test where you have to put the penny on the tire’s tread, and if it holds it, your tire is fine. However, if you go by the law, you can have a minimum of 2/32 of the inch in tread’s length to legally travel around with it. This is generally the best length when you should replace the tire.
If your boat trailer tires have started giving out frequently, it’s time to replace them. Maybe they are going flat more often or don’t seem to hold the air pressure for long. It’s a clear hint that you should replace the trailer tires.
Before we begin, remember that these factors are to provide you complete information as a one-stop solution. You can skip through them if you don’t want to consider them and get to ‘Get the same replacement’ it will tell you how to buy the right tires for your boat trailer quickly.
Do you often wonder what the numbers on the side of the tire mean? Well, you are in for a treat because they can impact your buying decision. If you want to choose the accurate boat trailer tires, these numbers could play a vital role.
On the side of the tire, it might read something like “ST200/80R14,” and then there might be something like ‘DOT’ with numbers like 0418. What does it mean? Let’s take these numbers as a reference to explain them:
The ST in the tire’s serial number stands for ‘special tires.’ This is the rating you’re looking for when buying trailer tires. If the tire doesn’t have an ‘ST’ rating, it is not suitable for trailer tires. Therefore, you will have to find the ones that have this rating. Once you get ST, you can move to other considerations.
The next number (200) is related to the width of the tire in millimeters. It will tell you how thick the tire can get with proper inflation.
As you can see, there’s a ‘/’ and then ‘80’ after the width rating of the tire. This is the height ratio of the tire. It shows that the tire’s full inflation can increase height as much as 80% of its width.
Popularly, it is called a width ratio. Initially, if you want a wider tire for better grip and less acceleration, you should get less aspect ratio like 75 or 50. If you go for higher tires, it means they are better for acceleration and off-roading requirements.
After the height ratio, you will see another letter. It is either ‘R’ or ‘D,’ which tells you about the tire’s build. There are two types of the build available in boat trailer tires. More information is provided below separately for clear information.
The final number you will see is the diameter of the tires. This is what you need to check for the wheelbase of your trailer. For example, if it has 14, it will fit a trailer with a wheel rim of 14 inches.
This is the most important consideration as the tires’ size and proper fitting play a vital role in road safety and overall performance.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) is a certification. However, here it plays a role in determining the age of the tire. When you check the DOT at the sidewall of the tire, skim to the last four digits. These tell you the week and year the tire was manufactured in.
For example, it would look something like 0418, as mentioned above. It means that the tire was manufactured in the fourth week of the year 2018.
Once you grasp the specifications and choose the correct tire accordingly, the next consideration would be the quality of the tire. The quality of the tire depends on the construction of the tire. It’s rubber. The tread and sidewalls play a vital role.
Let’s not forget that reinforced sidewalls are what make boat trailer tires durable and long-lasting. If you don’t consider their integrity, you may face frequent problems regarding the tire.
The component of your tire can make a significant impact on durability and endurance. You need to check for the type of rubber the tire uses. Stiff rubbers are better for reduced grip or traction. It would allow you to have better acceleration and steering benefits.
Soft rubber tires would mean better grip and sturdiness. They may even be wider than standard tires. For the provided stability, softer tires will wear out faster on the road. Meanwhile, stiff rubber is more prone to cracks and physical damage.
In the long run, if you don’t mind changing the tires faster than the expected time, softer rubber would be a better choice. It is also better for a colder climate.
If you want to save some money and need budget-friendly trailer tires, the bias-ply construct would be a good choice. However, they are not suitable for long trips as they build up the heat too much. You might have to take breaks, and a bias-ply tire’s overall life is around 14,000 miles the best. They are a little noisier as well. However, if you can look past it, these are the cheapest options available in the market for boat trailers.
Next, you have a radial sidewall construct. These are the ones you should buy for a long trip as they don't accumulate heat as much as bias-ply. You don't need to take brakes frequently either. There is a possibility that you will find better load capacity in radial-built boat trailer tires. Additionally, they offer less noise while traveling and better grip.
With the assortment of their benefits, radial side walls cost way more than standard bias-ply. It's worth every buck. Correlatively, it's never a good idea to use bias-ply and radial tires together. That will disbalance your trailer's performance and may lead to several mishaps.
The tread of your tire will determine how quiet the road trip will be. It will also determine how much grip they will offer and where they will provide the best performance. For instance, treads with wider gaps tend to be louder due to air resistance, but they are great for off-roading, full of dirt, dust, and sands. If you get wider treads, they may even act like flaps, making them great for mud and snow.
Similarly, if you get more full treads, they will be better for the paved roads and offer the best acceleration. You might want to consider the type of the tire according to the season or purpose. To get more information about them, you can read the segment to choose according to the terrain.
You can find the load rating on the tire as well. These are depicted by using letters B to E for trailer tires. B is the lightest weight support, while F is the heaviest. This will come down to the overall weight of your boat.
Remember that the trailer supports the complete boat, including the engine, seats, and everything else on the boat. If you have extra baggage, packages, or items with the boat, it will place the tires’ load. Therefore, you have to consider the maximum load capacity you need.
The weight support of your tires also depends on the axles. Here’s a quick overview of everything you need to consider for load support of your tires:
C or D is the standard rating available for boat trailers. C-rating tires support weight around 1,800 pounds. However, that’s a single tire. It depends on how many times your trailer can have. If it can have two or three tires, the load support will multiply.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s better to get a tire rating higher than what you expect. There are many additional factors like the fuel in the boat and extra luggage you can never consider. More importantly, getting higher load support is the best way to stay safe.
This is the build-type of your trailer, but it will impact the weight support of the tire. A single axle tire will allow you to use 100% of your tires’ weight supporting capacity without any worries.
However, double axle boat trailer tires can support up to 85% of their maximum load support. Generally, it’s 12% less than their maximum support. But to be on the safer side, it’s better to consider it as 85%.
This is the best option for you if you don’t want to make any changes to the boat trailer. If you don’t want to change it for the tweaks, or according to the terrain, getting the same replacement is the best option.
Yes, it will simplify buying the tire, and you wouldn’t have to worry about anything. It will bring you the same performance you always had. However, here are some points to take care of:
You can change one tire when most tires are built for vertical support, not for rotation requirements. There’s no reason for you to optimize the balance. However, if you want to prevent the toll on older tires that could bring abrupt problems, make sure to change them altogether.
If you can’t find the same company or the same tire, you can find a replacement in another company. Many manufacturers offer the same type of tires. So, you can always find substitution in a different company.
However, if you’re unsure, you can read the factors given below for better buying decisions.
If you want to get higher tires for better road clearance, you might want to consider the possibility that it will take a toll on the axle of your trailer. You have to check for the weight and load your axle supports. That’s the joining part that connects your tire to the trailer, after all.
The temperature of the atmosphere will always affect the psi of your tire. More than that, different types of terrains will determine the tread and quality of rubber you need. Some need softer rubber. Others might require longer and distanced treads. How can you choose?
Simplify the process again! Choose the trailer tires according to the terrain specialization. Here’s a quick overview:
These tires are suitable when there’s too much snow or a muddy road awaiting you. You will find them with a distanced tread that is somewhat like flaps. They prevent the mud or snow from sticking into the tires and provide optimum grip for you to keep moving.
These have denser and more rigid treads with stiff rubber to ensure they can withstand the off-roading requirements. Often, bigger treads make the tires louder, but you don’t have to worry about the sand or rocks to be the problem for your trailer.
Also known as summer tires, these are the standard tires suitable for pavement roads and provide optimum grip and performance on a little cold or wet road. However, these won’t work in snowy or rocky trails and would most likely get stuck in the mud.
A little costly, but all-season tires bring you a year-round performance. You can use them almost anywhere. They are a jack of all trades. Most of the trailer tires have similar performance to this but not as well-versed. If you’re willing to invest a little extra money, you can get an incredible option.
The type of tire will depend on your purpose. If you're taking the boat to the beachside, then it is sandy, and you might need sand tires for your trailer. Most of the time, off-roading tires can provide you a well-versed performance regarding mud, sand, snow, and other requirements. However, if you travel to different terrains frequently, it could be better to get an all-season tire.
A: Pounds per square inch (psi) is the value of air pressure in a tire. To determine the right value, always keep the pressure for the trailer higher than the towing vehicle. Similarly, you have to take care of the temperature. For that, you can check the standard psi guidance of the region for the tires.
A: UV rays in sunlight can degrade your tires’ quality. You can consider investing in the trailer covers that would prevent them from damage.
A: Yes, moisture can reach inside the tire and compromise its integrity. If you are in an area with excessive moisture, don’t park the tires in the grass. Try to find a dry spot. Alternatively, you can take the tires off and store them away until you have to use them.
A: A flat spot is when the tires are stationary for too long that the weight on them presses the tire and makes it appear flat. To prevent this problem, make sure that the proper PSI is maintained. You might have to increase the PSI while the trailer is parked and reduce it when moving.
A: Most of the boat trailer tires are designed to support speed up to 65 mph, which is more than optimum for most travel requirements. However, if you want to go higher, you would have to decrease the weight load. Correlatively, going at a higher speed for a prolonged period can lead to tire failure.
A: A premium trailer tire will last anywhere between four to six years. Five years is an average for most. Radial tires offer performance for up to 40,000 miles while bias-ply work till 12,000 miles.
Several manufacturers will claim that their tires offer different or unique features and longevity. However, these are just marketing schemes with twisted words that tell you the same thing. You don’t have to be confused anymore.
Tires are an essential part of any vehicle, including the trailers. There’s no reason for you to compromise their quality or settle for anything else. Now you have the ultimate buying guide with useful tips and advice to help you get the best boat trailer tires.
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