Boats are often transported to and from the water on trailers. These trailers require special tires designed to endure the rigors of hauling a heavy load over long distances. Choosing the right boat trailer tires is important, as the wrong tires can lead to an unsafe towing experience. In this article, we’ll discuss the best boat trailer tires for your needs and how to choose the right ones for your application.
Best Boat Trailer Tires
The best boat trailer tires are those that offer a good balance between durability, traction, and cost. The tires you choose should be rated for the load capacity of your trailer and should be designed to provide good grip on wet surfaces. It’s important to select tires that are designed to resist wear and tear from long-term use.
- Carlisle Radial Trail HD Trailer Tire: This tire is a popular choice because it’s designed to reduce rolling resistance and enhance heat dissipation, meaning it lasts longer, even on those long summer drives to the lake.
- Freestar M‑108 8 Ply D Load Radial Trailer Tire: Its sturdy construction offers excellent durability and the design ensures high-speed stability, perfect for highway travel.
- Maxxis M8008 ST Radial Trailer Tire: This tire stands out for its superior tread life. It’s designed to provide enhanced traction and more uniform wear.
- Trailer King ST Radial Trailer Tire: A great choice for durability and stability under heavy loads. It’s also known for its resistance to punctures and cuts.
- Goodyear Endurance All-Season Radial Tire: One of the highest quality trailer tires on the market, it offers reliable performance in all weather conditions.
Reading reviews from other customers who have purchased the same tires can be a great way to get a better idea of the quality and performance of the tires. Some manufacturers offer special load ratings such as ST (special trailer) and LT (light truck) which can help you choose the best tires for your trailer, based on the weight capacity you need. Selecting the appropriate trailer tires for your towing needs will help ensure a safe and comfortable ride for you and your passengers.
What to Look for in Boat Trailer Tires
When looking for boat trailer tires, it is important to consider the size of the tires you need, as well as their load capacity. The size of the tire will depend on the size of the boat and the weight of the boat and trailer. You will want to consider the tread pattern of the tire, as this will affect the traction and handling of the trailer. It is also important to check the age of the tires and their condition to ensure they are safe to use. You should consider the type of tire you need, such as bias ply, radial, or all-terrain.
- Load Range: This refers to the tire’s capacity to carry a load at a certain pressure. It’s usually indicated by a letter (like B, C, D) and the higher the letter, the greater the load capacity. You’ll want to make sure your tires can handle your boat’s weight along with any extra gear.
- Tire Type: Trailer tires come in two main types: bias ply and radial. Bias ply tires are usually cheaper and provide good side-to-side stability, ideal for shorter trips. Radial tires, on the other hand, are great for long distance travel as they dissipate heat well and offer a smooth ride.
- Speed Rating: This is the maximum speed a tire can safely maintain over time. If you do a lot of highway driving, you might want to invest in tires with a higher speed rating.
- Size and Compatibility: Obviously, the tire needs to fit the trailer’s rims. Also, double-check your trailer’s specifications to ensure the tires are compatible in terms of weight and size requirements.
- Durability: Check the tire’s tread life and resistance to elements like UV rays and harsh weather conditions. A tire that can withstand the elements will serve you better in the long run.
The air pressure of the tires is an important factor to consider. You should check the air pressure regularly and always keep it at the recommended level for the boat trailer tires. If the pressure is too low, it can increase wear and reduce traction, which is unsafe. If the pressure is too high, it can cause the tires to burst, which is also dangerous. It is also important to inspect the tires for any signs of damage, such as bulges, cuts, or cracks. If any of these are present, the tires should be replaced immediately. Make sure to check the sidewall of the tire for the maximum load-carrying capacity, as it should not be exceeded.
The load rating of a tire indicates the maximum amount of weight the tire is rated to carry. It is important to select a tire with a load rating that is equal to or greater than the load you plan to tow. The load rating is usually printed on the sidewall of the tire.
The speed rating of a tire indicates the maximum speed the tire is designed to handle. It is important to select a tire with a speed rating that is appropriate for your needs. The speed rating is usually printed on the sidewall of the tire.
The tread pattern of a tire can affect the traction, handling, and noise level of the tire. It is important to select a tread pattern that is appropriate for your needs.
The durability of a tire is a measure of how long the tire will last under normal conditions. It is important to select a tire that is designed to last.
Types of Boat Trailer Tires
Boat trailer tires typically come in two types: radial tires and bias ply tires. Radial tires are constructed with plies that run at right angles to the direction of travel, providing a more comfortable ride and more stability.
Bias Ply Tires: These are the classic workhorses. If you’re on a budget and your trailer isn’t doing interstate marathons, bias ply might be the way to go. They’ve got strong sidewalls and are pretty good at withstanding the brutal conditions of gravelly boat ramps. However, they tend to wear out quicker than radials if you’re putting serious miles on them.
Radial Tires: Your long-haul buddies. These tires are designed to be the marathon runners of the trailer world. They’ve got better heat dissipation and usually provide a smoother ride than bias ply. The catch? They might put a bigger dent in your wallet.
Solid Tires: You’ve probably seen these on small, lightweight trailers. They’re designed for minimal maintenance and maximum durability. Solid tires don’t get flats, which sounds perfect, but keep in mind they offer a rougher ride and aren’t suitable for heavier loads or long distances.
St-rated Tires (Special Trailer): These guys are exclusively made for trailers. They’ve got a sturdy build, designed to resist sway in high winds or when a big rig passes you by. They’re not designed for speeds over 65 mph, so keep that in mind if you’re planning to audition for the next Fast and Furious movie with your boat trailer in tow.
LT-rated Tires (Light Truck): Sometimes, folks put these on their trailers, but they’re really designed for light trucks. They can be a decent choice if you’re hauling a heavy boat, but always remember they’re not specifically designed for trailer use.
Bias ply tires are constructed with plies that run at a diagonal angle to the direction of travel, providing a firmer grip on the road but with a rougher ride. Radial tires are usually the preferred choice for boat trailers, as they offer better performance and durability.
Radial Boat Trailer Tires
Radial boat trailer tires are designed for long-distance towing. They have a higher load carrying capacity and a longer tread life than bias ply tires.
Bias Ply Boat Trailer Tires
Bias ply boat trailer tires are designed for short-distance towing. They have a lower load carrying capacity and a shorter tread life than radial tires.
All-Terrain Boat Trailer Tires
All-terrain boat trailer tires are designed for use on off-road surfaces. They have a higher load carrying capacity and a longer tread life than radial or bias ply tires.
Specialty Boat Trailer Tires
Specialty boat trailer tires are designed for specific applications. They may have a special tread pattern or a reinforced sidewall for extra protection.
Choosing the Right Boat Trailer Tires
When choosing the right boat trailer tires, it is important to consider the size, load capacity, speed rating, and tread pattern of the tires. The size of the tires should be compatible with the size of the boat trailer, and the load capacity should be sufficient to support the weight of the boat and trailer. The speed rating should match the speed of the vehicle pulling the trailer, as higher speed ratings may compromise stability and safety. Lastly, the tread pattern should be appropriate for the terrain the trailer will be operating on, as different tread patterns are designed for different types of terrain.
Know Your Towing Needs
It is important to know the weight of your boat and trailer and the distance you will be towing. This will help you select a tire that is rated for the load and speed you will be towing.
Consider Your Towing Conditions
The conditions you will be towing in will affect your tire selection. If you will be towing on off-road surfaces, all-terrain tires may be a good choice. If you will be towing in wet conditions, specialty tires with an aggressive tread pattern may be a better choice.
Consider Durability and Cost
When selecting boat trailer tires, consider both the cost and the durability of the tire. It is usually best to select a tire that is designed to last and is within your budget.
Get Professional Advice
If you are unsure which boat trailer tires to select, it is a good idea to consult a professional. They can recommend the best tires for your needs and help you make an informed decision.
Maintenance of Boat Trailer Tires
Maintaining the tires on a boat trailer is important to ensure safety and proper performance. The most important step is to check the tire pressure regularly and ensure that it is inflated to the manufacturer’s specifications. It is also important to inspect the tires for any signs of wear and tear, such as cracking or bulging, and replace them if necessary. Make sure to inspect the wheel bearings and axle to ensure they are properly lubricated and secure. It is important to periodically clean the tires and wheels to prevent buildup of dirt and debris.
Check Pressure Regularly
It is important to check the pressure of your boat trailer tires regularly. The pressure should be set to the manufacturer’s recommended level. This will help ensure the tires last longer and provide better performance.
Inspect for Damage
It is also important to inspect your boat trailer tires regularly for damage. Look for cracks, tears, or bulges in the sidewall and tread. If you find any damage, it is important to replace the tire immediately.
Rotate Tires Regularly
It is a good idea to rotate your boat trailer tires regularly. This will help ensure the tires wear evenly and last longer. It is also a good idea to have the tires balanced and aligned periodically.
When storing your boat trailer tires, it is important to store them in a cool, dry place. This will help prevent the tires from drying out and cracking. It is also important to cover the tires to protect them from UV damage.
Choosing the right boat trailer tires is important for safety and performance. When selecting boat trailer tires, consider your towing needs, the towing conditions, the cost and durability of the tire, and get advice from a professional. With the right tires, your boat trailer will be safe and secure for your next outing. Selecting the right boat trailer tires and maintaining them properly is essential for safe towing. It is important to select tires with the right load rating and speed rating for your needs. It is also important to inspect the tires regularly for damage and store them properly. With the right tires and proper maintenance, your boat trailer will be safe and secure for your next outing.
What Makes a Boat Trailer Tire ‘The Best’?
For long distance, consider radial tires. They’re built for endurance and offer a smoother ride. For short distances or rough terrain, bias ply tires can be a solid choice. Their robust sidewalls handle rough surfaces better. And always check the load rating! Make sure your tire can handle your boat’s weight, otherwise, it’s like using a paddle instead of an oar—just not effective.
What’s the Deal with ST and LT Rated Tires?
ST (Special Trailer) tires are designed specifically for trailers. They’re built to resist sway, even in high winds or at high speeds. LT (Light Truck) tires, as the name suggests, are designed for light trucks but some folks use them for heavier boats. Just remember, they’re not made specifically for trailers, so tread (and tread wear) might be different.
How Often Should I Replace My Boat Trailer Tires?
Even if your tires look good, it’s recommended to replace them every three to five years. Tires degrade over time, and a blowout on the highway can turn a great day on the water into a bummer real quick. And it’s always a good idea to check your tires before every trip. You know, kick the tires and all that jazz (but seriously, don’t just kick them, give them a proper check).