A few tips for better tire performance and safety when towing and trailering. Basic towing tips are helpful to keep drivers safe, especially in the summer time when hauling boats and recreational vehicles on the roads. Http://www.belletire.com
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June 10, 2010
A few tips for better tire performance and safety when towing and trailering. Basic towing tips are helpful to keep drivers safe, especially in the summer time when hauling boats and recreational vehicles on the roads. Check with your local tire store for tire load capacities and speed ratings for your vehicle and towing equipment. Check your tire load rating for your own tires to see if you're up for the task of towing.
On the face of it, it seems trailer tires should last pretty much forever. After all, they only travel a mere fraction of the miles the towing vehicle does. But in practice, most trailer tires should be replaced every four or five years regardless of mileage. Why? Because ozone in the air and exposure to UV radiation (read sunlight) can easily cause an innocent looking trailer tire, that looks fine and still holds air, to suddenly fail at highway speeds. Nearly half of all road-service calls for towing or trailering problems involve flat tires or blowouts.
Inflation is another cause for concern. Some tires can lose a pound or more of air per week. And an under-inflated tire can cause fishtailing and/or a quick build up heat resulting in a blowout. Either one can quickly put you in a world of hurt. A quick pre-trip inflation check can help you avoid these common mishaps.
One thing to consider when buying new tires for your trailer is that larger tires rotate more slowly and generate less heat. And likewise, smaller tires rotate faster, generating more heat and increasing the chances of failure. So all things being equal, it makes sense to choose the largest wheel/tire size that your trailer manufacturer specifies. Also Keep in mind that even higher-end ST rated tires (Special Trailering), which have stiffer sidewalls to help with cornering, are still only speed rated to 65mph.
It is important that you consult your owner’s manual to find out the towing capacity of your vehicle. Keep in mind that the original equipment tires that came with your vehicle are rated to handle the specified tow weight. That is of course, if they are in good shape --- goood shape. Towing places all sorts of additional stresses on a tire. To perform safely, your tires should have good tread depth (insert a quarter – if the tread touches George’s wig, you’re good) and no deep scrapes, scoring, cracking or dry rot.
If your vehicle requires new tires, your trusted tire retailer can help you find replacements that measure up to the original equipment tires. Keep in mind that there is no need to jump up to a more aggressive tire class, for instance from “P” (passenger) rate to “LT” (light truck) for towing. As long as the replacement tires are of the same quality and size as the original equipment tires, you’re fine. Switching to another class of tires may not just cost more but could compromise ride and handling characteristics.
Towing is a very demanding activity and proper tires play a big part in being able to perform it safely. For most of us, the best bet is to visit one of your trusted local tire stores, who will have all the tire replacement and tire towing capacity figures right at his or her fingertips. They can recommend the best replacement tire (often several), which will meet your mission and budget requirements. Towing is not the time to cheap out on your tires, but it also doesn’t have to be an excuse to overspend, either.
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