JTI Inc. Cleveland

Trailers, Hitches, & Maintenance

Trailer Tires: Bias, Radial, & How You Should Roll

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We proudly sell Kenda Karrier ST Radials and Load Star Bias Ply tires. And although having quality tires is important (your trailer is probably carrying some mighty valuable equipment) is always a good choice, the most critical things about your trailer’s tires are that they’re the right size and are in good condition.

See our list of in-stock and special order trailer tires

While most of our customers understand that passenger tires are not made for trailers, it bears repeating.

Passenger Tires Are NOT Made for Trailers

Your trailer isn’t a car. It handles heavy loads around corners, on rough roads, and often at highway speeds. We’ll spare you the physics lesson: the fact is passenger car tires put your load (and other drivers) at risk.

Trailer specialty tires (ST) typically have stiffer sidewalls than passenger tires, which handle trailer loads better and help with trailer handling (especially preventing or minimizing sway).

So What’s Better: Bias or Radial Trailer Tires?

Here’s the scoop: the better tire for you is the one that will best suit your needs and usual driving (hauling) habits. We rarely “just” sell a tire – like everything else regarding our customers’ trailers, we tend to ask a few questions to make sure they’re getting the right equipment. But, to answer the question in a nutshell:

Bias ply tires are generally less expensive than radial trailer tires. That doesn’t mean they’re inferior. Their construction is different. Bias ply tires have layers of nylon laid at 30-45 degree angles underneath the tire tread. They are ideal for people making short and/or infrequent trips with their trailers. Some bias tires have stiffer sidewalls than radial tires, which can be an advantage for certain hauling situations.

Radial trailer tires are what you want if your trailer is on the road for long trips. They tend to stay cooler (especially at highway speeds) and last longer. Radial tires are constructed with steel belts running at a 90 degree angle to the tire’s tread direction. Due to their construction, they have a longer tread life and are tougher overall.

In the Long Haul, Are Radial Trailer Tires Worth the Price?

Generally speaking radial tires last longer, have less rolling resistance (giving slightly better mileage). Bias tires have some specific advantages in certain cases, but for the less-frequent hauler, are often the better choice primarily because of cost.

Remember, trailers aren’t cars and what you know about passenger tires rarely applies to trailer tires.

For example, on a single-axle trailer, you really don’t need to rotate your tires. Rules regarding tire inflation and PSI are also a little different when it comes to trailers and trailer tires.

With 80+ years in the business, we think it’s safe to say we’re the trailer and hitch experts. If you have any questions regarding your tow vehicle and trailer, we encourage you to call us. We’re here to help, 6 days a week.

Related read: Avoid Trailer Tire Dry Rot

Also, learn more about Proper Trailer Load Balancing and Distribution

JTI, Cleveland trailer experts  www.JTIinc.com 440.232.4311

Author: JTI Trailer & Hitch Experts

JTI is John's Trailers Inc., Cleveland's trailer experts since 1935. Our blog offers trailering tips, service, maintenance, and advice regarding trailers, hitches, and all related equipment (including snow plows).

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