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RV Trailer Tires Vs Light Truck Tires For Travel Trailers And Fifth Wheels

Hey Everyone today we’re talking RV Trailer Tires vs Light Truck Tires For Travel Trailers And Fifth Wheels. I hope you read this full article.

I’m gonna use this article to explain the differences between (st) special trailer tires and (lt) light truck tires. Please read the post carefully for complete information.

RV Trailer Tires vs Light Truck Tires For Travel Trailers

Note: And then provide you with my admittedly non-expert opinion based on my research and my experiences.

The debate rages on about whether a special trailer or light truck tires are better for use in travel trailers and fifth wheels.

But hopefully this article is helpful to you to make the decision on what tires to go with.

Differences Between Light Truck Tires and Trailer Tires

There are many differences between light truck tires and trailer tires and that’s because they’re designed with completely different objectives in mind.

light truck tires
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Now light truck tires can be identified by the LT on the tire sidewall just in front of the tire size numbers.

Primary Objective Of Light Truck Tires

Now the primary objective of light truck tires are to maintain traction while accelerating braking and cornering while also having decent ride comfort.

Ride comfort is achieved by having softer sidewalls when compared to trailer tires.

So that when the tire rolls over a bump it actually absorbs some of the energy from a bump and then therefore transmits less of that bump through the suspension and then onto the passenger.

Softer sidewalls are achieved by having thinner sidewalls and the steel cords and polyester cords that are throughout the tire are actually thinner.

And light truck tires are typically used in half-ton, three-quarter-ton and one ton trucks.

How to Identified Special Trailer Tires

RV Special Trailer Tires
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St or special trailer tires are identified by an ST on the tire sidewall just before the tire size numbers.

Primary Objective Of Trailer Tires

The primary objective of trailer tires are to minimize sidewall flex, carry heavy loads and dissipate heat within the tire.

Minimal sidewall flex and larger load carrying capacities are achieved through thicker sidewalls and larger steel and polyester cords running through the tire resulting in stiffer sidewalls when compared to LT tires.

Heat dissipation is achieved by shallower tread nuts and special rubber compounds used to make the tires that dissipate heat better than passenger tires.

Trailer Sidewall Flex Is Undesirable

For a trailer sidewall flex is undesirable, because it is a major cause of trailer sway.

Also excessive heat buildup is a primary killer of tires.

Now it is for these two reasons as well as the greater load-carrying capacity of trailer tires that I recommend ST trailer tires be used for trailer applications.

Stiffer Side Wall of Trailer Tires

The stiffer side wall of trailer tires caused the trailer to track better behind the tow vehicle.

Reduced trailer sway, lessen the risk of tire sidewall puncture, and prevent the tire from rolling under the rim while turning.

“Our travel trailer originally came equipped with ST load range c tires”.

However, they were nearing the end of their tread life so we upgraded to high spec load range d trailer tires.

Identify How Much Load A Tire

If you’re unfamiliar with load ranges they identify how much load a tire is designed to carry at its industry specified pressures.

Letters further along in the alphabet signify a stronger tire that can withstand higher inflation pressures and carry heavier loads.

Therefore when selecting new tires for your trailer it is imperative to select tires whose load capacities are great enough to carry the trailer’s gross axle weight rating per axle.

“For us moving from the load range c tires to load range D, we are now able to inflate our tires to 65 psi as opposed to 55 psi for the load range c tires”.

Stiffer Side Walls And Increased Carrying Capacity

This coupled with the stiffer side walls and increased carrying capacity of load range D tires should reduce our risk of blowout.

Heat Kills Tires

Now it’s my belief that most people have issues with trailer tire blowouts because of excessive heat buildup.

Heat kills tires therefore regularly subjecting them to excessive heat buildup will cause them to fail prematurely early.

Excessive heat buildup in trailer tires is caused by three things:

  1. Overloaded Trailer
  2. Improperly Inflated Tires
  3. Exceeding The Tire Speed Rating

To ensure you aren’t overloading your tires take your rig to a cat scale, which is found at most truck stops like loves and Flying J’s.

First weigh your truck and trailer together, then drop your rig and then weigh just your truck.

Subtract the second weight from the first weight and this is the weight of your trailer.

Compare Weight To The GVWR Of Trailer

found on a sticker rv
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Now compare this weight to the GVWR of your trailer, this is typically found on a sticker on the side of the trailer.

Or you can also find it on the front door jamb of your trailer.

If Weight Trailer Is Greater Than Its GVWR

If the actual weight of your trailer is greater than its GVWR then you need to remove weight from it immediately.

Or you risk tire blowout or even bending your axles.

It is equally important to maintain your trailer tire pressure.

Before each trip is sure to check your trailer tires and your tow vehicle’s tires for that matter with a tire pressure gauge.

Or you can get a tire pressure monitor system that will monitor it for you.

Popular Tire Pressure Monitor System

Maximum Pressure Indicated

Trailer tires should always be inflated to the maximum pressure indicated on the tires sidewall.

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While your tow vehicle’s tires should be inflated to the tire pressures indicated on the sticker typically found on the driver’s door jamb.

Cause Excessive Heat Buildup

Under-inflated tires will not only cause excessive heat buildup leading to premature failure but it will also cause uneven tread wear, faster tread wear, poor handling conditions, and increased trailer sway.

Regularly exceeding the tire speed rating will also lead to premature failure.

Believe it or not but ST trailer tires are only speed rated to 65 mile an hour.

That means every time you exceed 65 miles an hour while towing, you are causing excessive heat buildup in the trailer tires, causing them to fatigue and they will fail prematurely.

Trailer Tires Typically Don’t See Regular Use

Also it’s important to note that trailer tires typically don’t see regular use like a passenger car tire does.

So trailer tires may sit on a rig for longer than the manufacturer intended as rubber ages it becomes brittle and dry rots.

This may compromise the integrity of the tire and cause a blowout.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing trailer tires once they are 5 years old regardless of tread depth entire appearance.

Cover Trailer Tires

Cover Trailer Tires
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Also, it’s a good idea to cover trailer tires when the trailer is sitting to prevent UV exposure from the Sun, which also degrades rubber.

So that’s basically all I know about the differences between LT and ST tires.

Conclusion:

Again I believe that ST trailer tires with the proper load range rating for the weight of your rig is the correct tire choice.

Now like I said at the beginning of this article. I’m no expert these are just my opinions based off of my own research and my experiences owning a travel trailer.

Thank You for reading this article and please like and share this post in social media handels. Comment down bellow if you have any query.

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