Kendon Technical Insight Series: Trailer Tire Wear & Care
You may not admit it out loud, but you probably love your bike more than your spouse. Hey, we get it. And when it’s on a Kendon trailer, your bike is essentially riding on two patches of rubber not much bigger than your hands. So, for the sake of your bike and your spouse, take care of those tires!
Trailer tires are much different than the tires on your passenger car or truck, and for good reason. Trailer tires are designed for fixed trailer axles only. They are not built to handle the loads applied to, or the traction required by, drive or steering axles. Trailer tires are built to follow, not lead.
The sidewalls of trailers tires are much stiffer to minimize sidewall flexing, which is critical on trailers that carry heavy loads. Sidewall flex on trailer tires is a primary cause of trailer sway. Stiffer sidewalls and higher operating pressures common with trailer tires help reduce trailer sway and provide a much safer towing experience.
Trailer Tire Construction
Trailer tires are constructed, usually, in one of two designs: bias ply or radial construction. Both designs work very well for trailer tires but have slightly different performance characteristics. You can read about the differences between bias ply and radial tires here.
Because trailer tires are different than passenger vehicle tires, they require different care than passenger vehicle tires. Most important to note is that you can’t eyeball the pressure in your trailer tires the way you can on your car or truck. The stiffer sidewalls on your trailer tires make it nearly impossible to eyeball the pressure as you might on your car or truck, especially if your trailer is unloaded. So ALWAYS make sure you check the air pressure in your trailer tires before each use. The recommended tire pressure on Kendon tires is 45-50 PSI, but always follow the manufacturer recommendations.
- Make sure your trailer is equipped with the proper size and style of trailer tires
- Always check the air pressure before each use
- Kendon recommends the stock tires on our trailers be inflated to 45 to 50 PSI
- Always use a quality air pressure gauge
- Never rely on the eyeball test to gauge trailer tire air pressure
- Sunlight damages tires, so keep your tires covered or your trailer inside
- Clean the tires using mild soap and water
- Do not use tire-care products containing alcohol or petroleum distillates
- Inspect the tires for any cuts, snags, bulges or punctures
How Trailer Tires Wear
Trailer tires also wear differently than passenger vehicle tires. Most passenger vehicle tires will lose their tread depth before the construction of the tire wears out, making mileage the critical factor in service life. Trailer tires, however, will lose their construction integrity long before the tread wears out. Time, the elements, and duty cycles are the biggest killers of trailer tires. So it is important that you replace your trailer tires every three to four years of service.
- Trailer tires are not designed to wear out the tread
- The life of a trailer tire is limited by time, duty cycles, and the elements
- In approximately three years, roughly one-third of the tire’s strength is gone
- Trailer tires should be replaced after three to five years of service regardless of tread depth or tire appearance
- The mileage expectation of a trailer tire is 5,000 to 12,000 miles
- If your tires show uneven or unconventional wear patterns, check this diagram for insight and suggestions
Proper trailer tire care and replacement will provide a long and safe service life for your Kendon Stand-Up™ Trailer and protect one of your favorite investments. A little preventive maintenance should help keep your trailer on the road and keep you on your bike for many, many fun-filled years.
Now get out there. Go. Ride.
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