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Trailer Tires Versus Car Tires

Posted by on 9/5/2013 to Trailer

Can I use a car tire on my trailer?

Many differences exist between the driving requirements of the tires on your trailer and those of the car or light truck you tow it with. Because of this trailer tires and car tires are engineered differently.

When you tow a trailer behind a vehicle the tow vehicle is the leader and the leader needs a tire that focuses on traction. Traction is important for acceleration, cornering and braking. In addition to traction most car and light truck tires are designed for comfort, allowing the tires sidewalls to flex provides one key aspect of ride comfort.

When a trailer is being pulled behind a tow vehicle sidewall flex can cause serious issues. Trailer tires with too much sidewall flex can cause tire sway when towing trailers with heavy loads or a high center of gravity. Passenger car tires designed for ride comfort can aggravate this issue because of their flexible sidewalls. Special Trailer Tires or ST Trailer Tires run a higher tire pressures and have stiffer sidewalls designed to help alleviate trailer sway. These tires are also designed to carry their full rated carrying capacity unlike their passenger car counterparts, which must be run below their maximum.

Trailers tow straighter and are more stable when trailer tires are used. Trailer tires are built using heavy-duty materials making them stronger then normal passenger car tires. This is important because most trailers use very basic suspension systems.

Tires featuring the ST (Special Trailer) designation are speed rated to 65 MPH when used under normal load and inflation conditions. Do not exceed the maximum pressure rating of your trailer wheel. Please always maintain air pressure at the maximum PSI recommended on the tire sidewall.

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