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Old 08-12-2018, 11:29 AM   #1
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Question about trailer tires

So my brain is telling me that in order to reduce the rolling resistance of a trailer you would want to install the smallest and skinniest tires that can adequately handle whatever the maximum load the trailer will hold. Is this line of thinking correct?

If so, the off-road trailer market has me confused. I see a lot of Off Road and Adventure trailers that have wheels and tires on them that are the same size as the tires on our 10k lb vans. Wouldn't this be overkill? What is the benefit to having such large tires on such small trailers? I understand that aesthetics may be one such benefit, I get that, but....

Are there other benefits to having a large off road treaded tire on something that doesn't have any driven wheels on it and isn't all that heavy? Will the tread on a trailer tire actually help it track better when off road, or will the relative light weight of the trailer not really put enough downward pressure to really allow the A/T or M/T treaded tire to bite down on the ground? Is there a clearance benefit? The bottom of the pumkin on my van's axles is only about 9" off the ground and I would think you could easily achieve similar clearance to my van with a tire much smaller than 35" combined with an axle-less trailer using something like Timbren suspension, no?

If my thinking is way off I would love to hear why, I am totally uneducated in trailer building, but starting to dream up some ideas and am now filling my head with all sorts of trailer what-if questions!

Thanks
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Old 08-12-2018, 11:32 AM   #2
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There's a real advantage to matching your tires/rims to your tow vehicle. You can get by with only one spare, and worst-case you can scavenge on of your trailer wheels if things go really bad.




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Old 08-12-2018, 12:37 PM   #3
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Can ya put AT tires on a trailer? sure.
Can ya put ST tires on a vehicle? sure.

But I would not, to both situations. Trailer tires are designed and manufactured differently than vehicle tires. If I had to have the bling, I'd entertain same rims but would use appropriate tires for the application. Just my hang up. YMMV
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Old 08-12-2018, 12:59 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BroncoHauler View Post
There's a real advantage to matching your tires/rims to your tow vehicle. You can get by with only one spare, and worst-case you can scavenge on of your trailer wheels if things go really bad.




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Old 08-12-2018, 02:03 PM   #5
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When my tires start to get down enough that I question them on a heavy off road vehicle like my van, the two best replace the old spares (one on the van and one on the trailer) and the others go on the trailer. The only time I have had 8 brand new tires was when I made the the first purchase and then another time I switched to 315's. Since then all the trailer tires have been no cost to me.
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Old 08-13-2018, 10:03 AM   #6
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Exactly....all of the above apply.
My off road trailer with matching bolt pattern will get the 2 best 315ís off the van when the time comes to replace the trailers 285ís that I used to run on the van. Nice to have all matching sizes for this reason, and as mentioned, not needing to carry a dedicated trailer spare, and if needed, be able to drop the trailer if another spare is needed.
Most off road trailer builders match the customers tow vehicles bolt pattern, wheel size and tires for these reasons, itís not just looking cool or the need to run A/T or beefier off road tires on them.
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Old 08-13-2018, 07:39 PM   #7
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Good stuff already on here but the only things I add is that after struggling with barely specified trailer tires made by dubious manufacturers, I will only go with Load E / LT tires by established manufacturers in the future of trailers.
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Old 08-13-2018, 08:50 PM   #8
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Before my SMB we used a Nissan Xterra and pulled an offroad trailer. One time we had a mishap which popped the trailer tire off the bead and it got contaminated by mud and would not reseat. I didn't have on board air and I put the Xterra spare on the trailer and was able to drive out to where we could get it properly reinstalled. The trailer had the same size tire and bolt pattern. I was very happy I had made that choice.
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Old 08-13-2018, 10:38 PM   #9
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I would absolutely put LT tires on a trailer. They are rated for trailer use the same way as ST tries are. They may be more expensive than they need to be, and perhaps even wear faster, but they'll be perfectly safe.

I'd suggest that LT tires might even be safer since a steering axle tire blowout has way more consequence than a trailer tire blowout, but I'm not convinced that tire companies have reached that level of caring about human life yet.
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Old 08-14-2018, 07:57 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone for the replies, very good stuff here.

So it sounds like what I should be doing is timing my trailer project to coincide with needing new tires on my van and presto change-O free trailer tires!
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