How To - Planning and Preparation

Are Your Tires Still Safe? – How to read the data on a tire sidewall

Blown out Small Travel Trailer Tire
Please Note: I participate in affiliate marketing programs and may receive a commission if you use one of my links and make a purchase. - Denny

It's that time of year...

...that I start getting the itch to plan our travels and camping this summer with our trailer. I have a list of things I do to get our trailer ready each year. (As well as a "to-do list" compiled during our travels last year.) Of everything on my lists, there are three really important tasks to prevent a major (and possibly dangerous) disruption to your travels. This is the first one.

Checking you trailer tires

Look your trailer tires over carefully. Be sure to check the tread depth and look for signs of dry rotting. The UV rays from the sun cause the rubber to dry out. Even if a tire is not that old, continued sun exposure can be a problem.

Every bit as important though is to check the age of the tires. Quite often trailer tires simply deteriorate with age on the inside and show no problems during a visual inspection. The life expectancy of a trailer tire published by the various manufacturers varies, but most are between 3 and 5 years.

How to read the data on a trailer tire sidewall

The most important item here is the date the tire was made. Simply look at the last four digits of the information on the tire sidewall. In the photo above, the tire was manufactured during the 26th week of 2013. In other words, in June of 2013. So this is certainly not a tire I would want on my trailer!

It's also a good idea to check this date when you purchase new tires. Make sure you are not being sold trailer tires that have been sitting around in a warehouse for a long time.

One other thing to keep you safe

The number one cause of trailer tire failure and blowouts is heat. When a tire gets too hot, it can easily fail. The two main reasons a tire gets too hot, is that it is under-inflated, or you are driving too fast!

Standard trailer tires are type ST and are normally rated for a maximum speed of 65mph. Even if you think you can handle driving faster, it doesn't mean your tires can handle it. Don't take a chance!

As for the inflation, you should really check this before each trip. Lookup the manufacturers information for the particular tires you have. Generally they publish a chart on their webite with inflation, speed and load ratings. Should you need a pressure guage, check out the one I've listed below. It's not the most expensive, but it's easy to use and read. I've been very satisfied with it.

Don't put you or your family at risk

It's always a tough decision to part with your money to replace tires that visually look good. For me, this is not a place to save a few dollars. I'm a firm believer that it's better to be safe than sorry. Besides be a safety concern, I sure don't want to be dealing with a tire blowout on the road that I could have prevented!

Just be sure to keep you and your family safe! As always, drop me a note if you have any questions you think I could answer for you. - Denny

Denny Johnson

Denny Johnson

Denny loves traveling with his wife Fay in their Small Travel Trailer. In addition to all his blog articles, he's developed an entire website about Small Travel Trailers, including a free Beginner's Guide to help those just getting started.
Denny's Product Recommendation
What it is
Tire Pressure Guage
Why I like it
  • Easier to hold the holse on the tire valve than it was to hold my old one.
  • Easy to read the pressure because of the large round face, and the fact that the hose allows it to be positioned for easy reading.
  • Not expensive as other ones I looked at
Thank you for supporting our sponsors and advertisers. It doesn't make me much money, but does help offset some of the cost related to maintaining this website. - Denny

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