What do you do to your trailer tires to make them last as long as possible? When to replace?

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
I'm curious what others do to make their trailer tires last as long as possible before needing to be replaced. When a tired needs to be replaced is a subjective and much argued topic. One of the main ways to judge the condition of a tire is to look for cracks in the sidewalls and between the treads. There are many environmental factors that can make a tire begin cracking sooner than if the tire wasn't subjected to those factors. Oxygen and sunlight seem to be two major factors that make tire compounds degrade over time. Do you do anything to protect your tires from aging?

Our trailer is stored indoor and out of the sun most of the time and during the winter months, I unload the axles (and tires) by putting the trailer on jack stands. The tires are deflated to about 20 psi, as it's better for the tires to be stored at a lower pressure, if there is no weight on them. Lower pressure is better according the the NHSTA, because at lower pressure less oxygen is forced into the rubber compounds from the inside of the tire. I do all of this to keep the tires in the best shape possible, which should mean the tires will have a longer service life, because who wants to spend $1000 on new trailer tires? One big catch is that the NHSTA states that tires, including the spare, should be replaced at six years from the date of manufacture because exposure to oxygen degrades the rubber compounds. If you live in Phoenix or similar very hot environments, then you should replace tires every four years.

Our tires were manufactured about two years ago. The tread depth is still about 90% of original with 16,000 miles, there is no possibility that we will wear the tires out at or before the six years of age mark. Let's say the tread depth at six years is 50%, which is a serviceable depth. Would you throw the tires away at 6 years and put on new, even if there are little to no visible cracks on the outside of the tire? This of course is hypothetical, because I have no way of knowing if there will be visible cracks at six years. Food for thought.
 

spasm3

Member
I check the air pressure before every trip, i inflate to max. I keep my trailer under a shed out of the sun.

I have replaced mine at 7 years. A lot of travel trailers have the kitchen sink right over the plastic wheel well of the tires. A tire blowout can really damage the plastic wheel well, and take out the sink plumbing if a tire flaps around during failure.

I also have my trailer tires balanced at installation. I think its easier on the wheel bearings and the tires to be balanced.
 

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
Thread starter
Spasm,

You bring up a great point that I didn't mention. I believe statistics show that many tire failures (blowouts) happen because the tire is run low on air and the tire heats and gets weak, then blows out. We also check the air pressure as we hitch and also run a TPMS system for all 8 tires of our rig. It would be unfortunate to have a leaking tire on the road and keep driving on it, then blow the tire out and ruin the nice shiny aluminum. The TPMS alarm warns of low pressure and leaking. We haven't had any low tires yet, but it's just a matter of time.

Bottom line is that's a great way to make your tires last longer - keep them inflated to the proper pressure!
 
Last edited:

spasm3

Member
I am thinking about one of the add-on tire pressure monitoring systems. There are some that use a simple screw on valve stem cap.

Anyone use one of these systems. Seems it would be good to know if i tire is dropping pressure, before it shreds.

 

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
Thread starter
I have the EEZ TPMS with the black and white screen. It works very well and I ended up needing the booster, which I'm glad was an option. With the booster I've never had a sensore drop out. I'm a big fan because it just works flawlessly and I don't have to fiddle with it on the road to get it to work. I'll do a write up on it when I can take some pictures.

 

SR5

New member
Just a few ideas off the top of my head. I think the 3 big things for storage of tyres is to control the mechanical stress, UV exposure and oxygen exposure.

Put the trailer on chassis stands to take the weight, then reduce tyre pressure (as above) to about half, but don’t forget to re-inflate before use.

Park undercover, or cover the tyres with thick black plastic sheeting or even a thick large opaque bin (trash can) liners.

If possible, and like often done by racing teams and performance car people, inflate the tyres with pure nitrogen gas from a cylinder, not air from a compressor. This means no oxygen or water is stored under pressure inside the tyre. Some of the tyre places around me will deflate and refill your tyres with pure nitrogen gas for a small fee. Not a bad idea for general use, as it reduces pressure changes (no water) as the tyres change temperature when being used. Oxygen is 20% of air, so reducing this to effectively zero with pure nitrogen should significantly decrease internal exposure.
 

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
Thread starter
From everything I've read, nitrogen is better for your tires, but it may be hard to substantiate a cost benefit of paying for the nitrogen fill. Planning to top-off your tires where they sell nitrogen is also problematic. If nitrogen fills were ubiquitous and little cost, then it would be a no brainer.
 

ls1mike

Member
I try to keep mine covered when not in use. I change them every 3 to 4 years which 12,000 to 16,000 miles for me. I check the air pressure before every trip. I have a 14 inch tire and run the Carlisle radial trail HD rated to 81 MPH. On my second set they have been really good.
 
Top