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Will Upgrading from 8 Inch Wheel to 12 Inch Wheel Help Highway Performance

Question:

Does it make sense to upsize from 480x8 to 480x12 when buying new tires? I realize new wheels will need to be purchased but i think its a small price to pay if highway performance is improved.

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Expert Reply:

I have an option that may work for you, but you will not see a significant advantage in highway performance going from an 4.8-8 tire and wheel to a 4.8-12 inch tire and wheel. In fact, going to a taller tire will raise the center of gravity of the trailer making it more susceptible to sway.

If you have enough wheel well clearance, I would look into a 12 inch radial tire and wheel like the Kenda Karrier ST145/R12 S-Trail Tire, # AM10130. All of the 4.8-12 tires are bias ply tires, but the S-Trail is a radial tire. Radial tires have more flex which gives it better ground contact, traction, stability and tread wear. It will also run cooler which helps the tire last longer. This tire is also about 1 inch wider, so it will help to improve any potential sway from the increased trailer height.

If this is the route you want to go, you will want to make sure you have enough room to add the larger tire and wheel. The S-Trail will be about 1 inch wider and 5 inches taller than your current 4.8-8 tires. This means the inside tire wall will sit approximately 1/2 inch closer to the trailer frame/body and the top of the tread will sit about 2-1/2 inches closer to the inside of the wheel well.

You will want at least 1-2 inches of clearance between the side wall of the tire and the trailer and 4-1/2 inches of clearance from the tire tread to the fender for maximum bump clearance and suspension travel. This tire fits 4 inch wide wheels. I have attached a link to all of our 12 x 4 trailer wheels for you to check out. Be sure to check your wheel bolt pattern before selecting replacement wheels. I have attached a help article on how to find your bolt pattern that will help.

expert reply by:
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John H

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