Friday, March 8, 2013
Trailer Safety: Is It Time for New Tires?
Let's face it: Most of us can think of a hundred things we'd rather spend money on than a set of new trailer tires.
But let's face something else while we're at it: Your safety out on the road depends upon those tires. You don't want a flat or God forbid, a blowout. You don't want any kind of tire failure that could set off a potentially deadly sway incident with your trailer. Proper tires and their related rolling gear (wheels, bearings, axle)--all of it well maintained--are your life insurance.
You needn't be a tire expert to know if you need new tires. Follow these three tips:
1. Schedule a general inspection by a tire shop--prior to your first trip of the season, and as soon as you've purchased any pre-owned trailer. Even if your tires are sound, wheel bearings need an annual inspection and possible repacking with lubricant. You can have the tires inspected and possibly replaced at the same time as the general checkup.
2. Replace tires if they are more than 5 years old--regardless of tread wear. Many trailers sit more than they roll down the road; nevertheless, the sidewalls still break down over time and compromise tire integrity. Tires are date-stamped, often on the back side. Ask the tire tech to look.
3. Purchase trailer tires, not tires for passenger cars or trucks. Trailer tires have stiffer sidewalls and different tread than passenger tires, which must be flexible enough to corner rather than stiff enough to bear weight and follow. Trailer tires are stamped 'ST' (again, often on the back side). If your trailer has any other kind of tires, do yourself a huge favor and replace them.