In the last 30 years I have hauled many, maybe 100, cars on two wheeled trailers with regular car radial tires. I just found out this fall you can't do that. When pulling out of the driveway you will surely loose control and crash!
In order to get new tires on my trailer I took the wheels one at a time and claimed each was a spare for an old Buick. I now have new 205 70 X 15 tires and new spare.
I only ever got an explanation out of one tire guy. He said the trailer will slop back and forth from side to side.!?
The others wouldn't talk about because it is so Taboo.
What say you folks?
Aaron, I've cheated a little on safety in the name of the Almighty dollar, also, in my lifetime, but it was on a four wheel trailer. I wouldn't trust the best brand new car radial tires on just a two wheel trailer. You only have to have one tire blow out or go flat suddenly, and you may be selling your load for scrap prices. The automotive service center that I work at, won't even touch a tire on a trailer. The owner must remove and replace tire on the trailer, but we'll mount any new tire as a "carry in". Most new 13, 14, 15, and some 16 inch tires we sell, appear to have such weak sidewalls, I'd be afraid to mount them on my wife's car, much less a two wheel trailer. My preference is either a new 7.00 X 15" tire (yes they are still made), or a Goodyear Marathon trailer tire. Both have much thicker and stronger sidewalls.
Car tires on a trailer is very bad.
Trailer tires need to have a heavy side wall. Heavy duty truck tires can work, but never use a passenger car tire.
I recall as a kid, my old man put car tires on the pop up camper as trailer tires were hard to find. We made it about 3 miles down the highway before turning around as the trailer was total uncontrollable at any speed above about 45mph. Put new trailer tires on it and you could drive at any speed you wanted.
A tire shop owner who was a good friend told me that radial trailer tires are constructed having the "Ply's" run differently compaired to car tires. He said car tires are not designed to take the side scuffing that occures when turning with 4 wheel trailers.
I use light truck tyres on my single axle trailer. They are 195 x 14" and were the most common size until everything started to go to 15". They are cheaper than car tyres in Australia, and much tougher.
Terry, I have had a blowout on my single axle trailer, when my wife was riding as a passenger with me. Her comment was, "Did I hear something?" We simply pulled over and changed it. No dramas. I guess it depends on the trailer and how it is loaded. I certainly recommend electric trailer brakes rather than primitive over-ride hydraulics which don't work until the trailer is pushing you down the road.
Allan from down under
I have pulled a lot of trailers over the last forty years. I have never even heard of "trailer" tires. I don't buy the idea that trailer tires have to have stiffer sidewalls than car tires. In my opinion, there is no more side scuffing on tandem axle trailer tires turning a corner than on a car turning a sharp corner at speed. As far as I am concerned, this is just another way to rip us off. JMHO. Dave
My experience is opposite of most of this advice. Trailer tires are much inferior to car or truck tires. One of my other hobbies is Airstreaming. In that arena trailer tire failures ocur quite often. When a Marathon or any radial trailer tire blows the tread and cords stay with the rotating wheel and tear up the wheel well and side of the trailer. Marathons have had several bad runs in the the last 10 years. So much so thet Goodyear will not only replace the bad tire but pay $1000's to repair the trailer damage.
Trailer tires are only rated up to 65 mph and seem to be built to a lower standard than car or truck tires.
Read some of the posts on the Airstream Forum at
The bottom line in the Airstream world is to use Truck Tires (LT)instead of ST tires. Airstream is even changing to this.
Trailer tires are cheap made,mostly in china but that dont lower the prices.I think the spare I bought for my tandem was 110 bucks?
Trailer tires dry rot long before you wear them out.
Here is my humble opionion.
30 years ago,a car tire would probably work fine on most trailer applications.They were made to be recapped.Now,tires are made cheap,so they cant be recapped.This also means the side wall is weak as a kitten.
I learned firsthand some trailer tire problems that completely surprised me. We purchased a new 18.5 foot boat in 2005. It has a single axle trailer and came with what appeared to be 3 good quality "trailer" tires (2 on the ground and a spare). Within the first 2 1/2 years all 3 tire valve stems failed, 2 of them while in traveling at speed (about 55 or 60 MPH) and 1 when I touched it to check aire pressure. I still don't know if they were "bad" stems or just old and tired shelf stock that should not have been used.
Fortunately, in the 2 "blowout" instances the damage was confined to the total destruction of the tire. The moral of the strory is that the tire itself is not the only thing that can go wrong!
I have a 1959 SHASTA travel trailer 16 foot. It came with "car" radial tires. It takes about 2 lanes to bring it down the road. I have just about lost it a couple times. Experimented with air pressure, more tongue weight (shifted load) and same problem. I added a new anti sway bar and will be getting "Trailer" rated tires this spring. Sidewalls have too much give in auto tires.
We just returned from picking up a car in Ohio which came with a 24' dual axle enclosed trailer. The trailer was a 2007, but had largely sat in the guys backyard since then and had sunk into the grass a bit. We pulled the trailer out of the grass and I checked the tire pressures and aired the tires, lug-nut torque, and trailer brake function before we hit the road (tires pressures were very low, but looked in good shape). I was a little nervous because he didn't have a spare or a trailer jack, but I thought we'd just get it home and sort the rest out later.
Most of the drive from Zanesville to Philadelphia was uneventful. The trailer towed beautifully, and we stopped to check everything over a couple times. An hour from home we passed a semi who then fell in behind us flashing his lights so we pulled over at the next turnout. He came running over to tell us we had a blowout which was smoking and sparking. Sure enough the front tire on the passenger side was just a carcass. We decided to try and limp home at 35-40 mph on the other tire. We had no indication of trouble from the trailer systems until just before we arrived home when the trailer brake warning light came on and the "Check Trailer" light. We made it home and I checked everything out the next morning.
The front tire was just in pieces, you could see the rim through the tire, but there was plenty of tread and no evidence of the brake having hung up. The #2 tire was intact, but had some bad sidewall cuts in it and probably wouldn't have made it much longer. The tread on all the tires was like new. I believe having set for almost 5 years outside, bad dryrot had set in on what was basically a brand new trailer. The sidewall blew out on the #1 tire enroute. I'm now in the process of getting 4 new trailer tires and a spare. Also having the brakes and hubs checked out.
Could have been a whole lot worse if that other tire had gone, we were lucky. Moral of the story, don't trust someone elses trailer prep before you tow.
When my mother passed she had a 12 foot stock trailer.bought new in 1988.she kept a tag on it till 93 and then it was NEVER moved again till feburary of this year.
It had the old polyester tires on it G-78 I think.
I aired them up,had to pull it 30 miles home.
1 had a split you could insert a ink pen in in the side wall.They all held all the air I had in a tank.I got it to a local station.Pumped them up.Pulled it home about 40 mph top speed.I had a roll back on standby if I needed it.But that was going to be a 100 bucks.
Came home no problem.New tires were going to be over 400.It needed sandblasting painting,and ligths fixed.
I sold it for 800 bucks.as is.The man came and hooked it to 1 of those mega cab dodges,pulled it 90 miles averageing 55 mph on the interstate,with NO incedent.Had it been me,it woulda blowed to kingdom come.
Why it is a ROTTEN 1988 or OLDer passenger tire that came new on a stock trailer,4 of them,badly cracked can still hold up to high speed and new tech tires cant last till you wear them out?
I bought this tear 7:00 X 15__8 ply rating tires for $59 each mounted at Crawford-Smith in Greenville,Texas. They were made in China but seem to be good quality. I bought 2 last year at the same place for the same price.
My trailer has four made in the USA polyester cord tires on the ground, one of them exploded on the way to the CO/WY tour in 2009, i was about forty miles from Topeka,it was raining very hard, so i laid on the side of the interstate changing a tire, the biggest piece we could find was about as big as a spark plug, we spent the night in Topeka and got the tire replaced with one made in China which is steel belted,these are ST 205---.
The best I can find around here for 205x15 trailer tires is around $130 each..
I have been buying tires at Walmart for the last 8 years for all our 5 cars and have had good luck and never a blowout. The 205 70 R15 Douglas are $60 each. I have 215 75 R15 on my Nash Ambassador and have driven it hard but never over about 75 for any distance and I have not had a blowout in the last 19 years. The one that blew was a Dunlop, I think. It was not from Walmart.
I am not convinced that I should not haul cars at 55MPH on a 2 wheel trailer with car tires, but I ususally stay around 48 with a mid sized car and avoid the real heavy ones completely.
I have the same tires (but 195 75R14) on my pickup and have hauled some large loads of shingles and engines and cement in bags and have never a problem. With my old trailer with the 14" tires I'd haul a model T at 55 and never gave the tires a thought.
Thanks for the advice, stories and concern to all that posted.
Car tires are usually sized just big enough to carry the rated load of the car. If, for example, the car being carried is on 205x15, and the open 4-wheel trailer has 205x15 car tires, those tires are probably overloaded, especially during cornering or swaying with a high center of gravity.
If trailer makers are like air compressor makers, the tires supplied may not have as high a load rating as the trailer, and the tires may be overloaded with just a modest cargo.
Are there any trailers made with ABS and/or Tire Pressure Monitors?
How many of you tow ers have a chart showing load vs. tire pressure for your trailer?
Trailers are evil devices, just waiting to strike at the unlucky or unsmart.
No connection here, just found this on the internets a few years ago.
Dot has approved a new tire recapping process,it is called remolding,the cap literaly covers the intire tire,not just the rolling part.But the fellows told me they were about 50 bucks each for car tires,which,aint that good a price,and the tire machine tears the seam around the bead of the tire as it gets put on.So the process just "coats" the tire completely.I cant see that process being worth 2 cents.
My two cents, for what its worth...
Its not the size, its the sidewall. You need at least a load range D to handle any real weight. Car tires are load range C. I run E's on my truck and my trailer but that's a 3/4 truck and a stock trailer rated at 15K. I once had tires put on the truck and didn't pay enough attention to notice that he put C's on it. Wow did it ride nice! Fortunately I hooked the trailer to it the same day and immediately noticed that back of the truck was all over the place. So I got them back to the guy with only a few miles. It does make a huge difference.
Ralph you can get pressure/temperature sensors for the trailer from Dill at trailertpms.com.
They have a wireless transmitter to your dash monitor to alert you at 20% under and 30% over.
Don't know the cost but would likely save your fender when you have a flat on the trailer or maybe even worse.
I always carry my infrared thermometer and check tire and bearing temps when gasing up. Its interesting how hot your tires can get.
For what it is worth, Douglas tires are made for Walmart by Goodyear so Walmart can have a tire to sell customers who want to pay the least money they can to get a tire. Yes, they give a smooth ride on a vehicle not weighing over 3000 to 3500 pounds, but they are not worthy of being on a vehicle pulling a trailer hauling more than 1000 pounds.
Next time you are at Wally Mart, feel the sidewall on a Douglas. then feel the sidewall on a Bridgestone of the same size that they sell. I won't have to say anything else to convince you of the difference.
I had a set on my 2003 Chevy S-10 4.3 Vortec, which I admit is not the best towing vehicle, and pulling my four wheel open trailer, they failed. Luckily, I wasn't on a busy roadway and wasn't going fast. When I got back to Walmart, I bought a set of Uniroyal Liberators (also specially made for WalMart), which while they are a P metric tire as opposed to a LT metric, I haven't had any further problems.
I have a set of 30 year old 7.00 X 15 tires on my 4 wheel trailer. I don't use it much, so I have been taking a chance, but they'll soon be replaced with another new set of the same size, because I have seen a trailer fip and roll with a restored 1934 Ford fordor sedan, and I value my T's too much to let the same thing happen to me. Thirty years ago, when the trailer tires were new, I made several trips of over 1500 miles with it, loaded with a vehicle. With the age they have on them (not to mention the dryrot), I now limit my tows to no more than 50 miles, roundtrip.
The heaviest thing I ever hauled was a towmotor forklift. Man, I thought it was going to go through the flooring on the trailer, but I made it on about a 75 mile trip.
My final words of advice are when you select a towing vehicle , trailer, or tires for either; you can go cheap and take your chances, or go for a built in safety factor and have an enjoyable, worry free trip. The choice is yours.
I have a 16 foot two axle trailer I removed the 205x70x15 because the tread looked like it was coming loose from the body of the tire, (nope not re-treads) these came from the factory with the trailer. I replaced them with 235x75x15 Kumo brand light truck tires. I've hauled our T's as well as our 1928 Dodge Victory 6 at hwy. speed's 65-70 mph. also out ran a hale storm once with the Dodge in tow at 85+ mph. They seem to do fine I figure a 1500.lb trailer + a 4000.lb car that should have been a true test for them, that's real close to my 7000.lb axle limit....