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How to Choose Trailer Tires for Boat Trailer Making Highway Trips

Question:

I have a 1971 14foot MFG on a 1972 trailer with 12-inch 4 bolt tires. I want to be able to take the boat from NC to Florida at least once a year, plus 100 mile lake trips around here. What tire should I use?

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Expert Reply:

Trailer tire selection needs to take into account the required tire weight load range for the loaded trailer's weight and also your driving speed. Both the weight load on the tire and your driving speed affect the tire's operating temperature, which in turn affects its longevity.

You'll want to take a look at your current tires to find their Load Range rating and their size designation. The linked page will display all 12-inch special trailer tires which are offered in either bias ply or radial type construction and in several size options, including 145/80-12, 4.80-12 and 5.30-12. Just click on your size and required load range to see all options.

Radial tires flex better than bias ply tires and will deliver better highway performance but bias ply tires are better for off-road driving where their stiff sidewalls provide better load control. Radials also tend to run cooler, so if you'll be doing mostly higher-speed highway driving then the radials are the way to go. The linked articles on trailer tires will be helpful to you.

For example, if you want a radial in size 145/80-12 you can use either Load Range D tire # AM10130 rated for 1220-lbs maximum load at 65-psi pressure, or Load Range E tire # AM10140 rated for 1520-lbs at 80-psi pressure. You can use a higher load range tire than you currently have; this will help the tires run cooler.

Trailer tires should always be fully-inflated to the maximum psi pressure noted on the tire sidewall.

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