Just like your mower, having the right tires for your trailer is crucial for efficiency, effectiveness, and safety. Below, you’ll find the answers you need to make the right decision in trailer tire choice.
Bias Ply vs Radial Trailer Tires
Trailer tires come with two choices: bias ply or radial ply. If you are an old timer you remember that in the old days, all tires were bias ply. Radials didn’t exist. In fact, they didn’t come around in full force until 1946 when Michelin introduced their widely commercialized model. When it comes to functionality, it’s clear why radial tires are so popular today. Bias ply tires have the tread and sidewalls sharing the same casing piles, and the sidewall flexing is transmitted to the tread. This results in deformation in the tread, more friction with the ground, rapid wear, and higher fuel consumption.
Radial tires, on the other hand, better distribute the pressure of the tire – this means both better fuel economy and reduced soil compaction for those weary golfers. Because the sidewalls and tread are independent, you get a flat, stable footprint.
Bias ply trailer tires are usually less expensive initially, have more durable sidewalls for you guys who like to run over curbs with your equipment trailers, and are better for short distances and for trailers that will sit for extended periods of time. Work trailers are better with bias for local type service because they’re stronger/tougher.
Radial trailer tires are for travel trailers, horse trailers (better cushion for your horse’s legs) and anything you are going to be pulling at high speeds. Make sure you have the proper tires for each application. In the end, it’s crucial to remember that radials will last longer than bias ply, and because of the lower rolling resistance, you’ll be more fuel efficient. Both are great perks for long distances trips.
The Essential Checklist for Attaching Your Trailer
Your trailer may have been sitting for six months since the last use. It is essential that you do a few simple checks before you hook it up to your pickup truck and take off.
- Keep a record of how old these tires are. The tread may look great, but if that tire is more than 5 years old, the sidewalls could be cracked and prone to a blowout. If those side walls and valve stems are cracked, IT'S TIME TO REPLACE THEM! Remember to read the DOT number to check the date.
- Extended sitting will sometimes cause the side of the tire on the ground to develop a flat spot. When you start pulling the trailer it will feel like you’re dragging a log behind you. The solution: jack the trailer up and put it on blocks if the trailer is going to sit for an extended period of time.
- Check the air pressure before getting on the road. The correct maximum air pressure appears on the sidewall of the tire. If the particular trailer or device lists a suggested psi, use that, but do not exceed the maximum psi listed on the tire. Alternatively, inflate your tire to the psi suggested by the machine. Why? Because one tire can fit 20 different vehicles, with different weights etc, so vehicle manufacturers set their recommend air pressure.
- Keep in mind that the trailer heavily loaded all the time or used every day will need a daily check of air pressure and tire conditions.