Making a good purchasing decision and maintaining your RV’s tires can mean the difference between a pleasant trip and an unpleasant, unplanned stop on the side of the road.
When making your purchase, look for special trailer tires – denoted with an ST in front of the string of numbers on the sidewall. They have stiffer sidewalls than a P (passenger) or LT (light truck) tire, are more flexible cornering and backing, and are designed for long duty cycles to name a few differentiating factors.
When choosing trailer tires you’ll need to know the weight of your fully-loaded trailer. It’s a great idea to actually weigh it – the manufacturer’s numbers are almost always low. This information is critical in determining the load range (weight capacity of each tire) you’ll need. Trailer tire load ranges are identified by a letter (usually B-D); the higher the letter, the more the tire can carry. Remember your tires work in conjunction with the axles and other suspension components – a high load range tire doesn’t mean you can exceed the axle ratings, etc.
Believe it or not, trailer tires are designed to last 3-5 years or 5,000-12,000 miles and are not designed to wear out. After a mere 3 years – traveling or garaged – approximately one-third of your tire’s strength is gone. It’s difficult to purchase new tires when yours look perfectly good, but it’s essential to your safety.
Using sidewall data you can see how “fresh” your tires are. Look for a four-digit number following the DOT serial number – typically on the back of the tire. The date code will be stamped in an oval shape showing the week and year the tire was manufactured. A tire stamped “1206″ was manufactured in the 12th week of 2006.